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Ever-evolving Incubus ready to rock BU

Guitarist Einziger still awed by band's success

"There will be buried treasure somewhere underneath the basketball court. The rewards will be astounding," says guitarist Mike Einziger, 28, of Incubus' appearance Oct. 28 in Binghamton University's Events Center.

But, after receiving consistent air play on rock radio and MTV with Pardon Me, Stellar and top 40-hit Drive, Incubus doesn't need to bribe people to see its live shows.

The California quintet -- Brandon Boyd, lead vocalist; Einziger; Chris Kilmore, turntables; Jose Pasillas, drums, and Ben Kenney, bass -- released its fifth album early this year, the socially conscious A Crow Left of the Murder. The band has been touring throughout the year in support of that CD and the DVD Alive at Red Rocks, which highlights a show at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado.

A couple of weeks before they headline the Events Center's first rock concert, Einziger discusses the new record, the Latin Grammys, and "pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, if you can find them."

QUESTION: You are performing at Binghamton University for an audience of mostly college students. What is it about performing at a university that makes it different from performing at larger venues?

ANSWER: It makes us feel like we're closer to being in school. It makes us feel studious. It's fun. We've played a lot of college shows over the years and a lot of college shows particularly at a time in our lives when we would've been going to college. A few of us were going to college and had to stop because we had to go on tour. It's a little bit nostalgic for us to be around that kind of energy -- all those kids just having their independence for the first time and going crazy and having a good time.

Q: Do you approach a show like this any differently than you would for a bigger audience, such as Ozzfest or a show at Madison Square Garden?

A: Not really. The goal with playing those shows is to make them feel smaller, to make them feel more intimate. So when we're playing a smaller show, it already feels more intimate. I feel we're actually more in our element when we're playing some of the smaller venues. The college shows that we're going to be playing on this tour are still a far step up from playing in clubs. It's actually not that much different than playing in some of the arenas.

Q: For people not familiar with your live show, what can they expect from the band when you take the stage?

A: Unicorns, rainbows, pirate ships and buried treasure. You tell me one other band that has pirate ships, unicorns and buried treasure. ... This is the most boring answer I could ever give you, and probably the most redundant, but it's really impossible for me to answer that question. I really feel our music speaks for itself. ... It's not really a question that's fair for me to answer just because I'm playing the music. It's a totally different experience for somebody who's going to a concert. I've been to plenty of concerts during my lifetime, not as a performer, but as an attendee. The anticipation to see your favorite band come on stage is really exciting.

Q: Do you prefer performing new material to old or is it a nostalgic experience to play older songs from previous albums?

A: It changes from night to night. Generally speaking, it's a bit more exciting playing newer music because you just haven't played the songs as many times before. Some of these songs, we've been playing for a long time. It doesn't mean that they're less fun to play, but it just means that sometimes it can be a little more exciting to do something new.

Q: How do you define where the band is at musically?

A: Each record that we make is like a photo album of a particular time in the existence of the band. There's never a time where we've gotten there, so to speak. We've never reached our musical apex, and I feel that if we ever get to a place where we say, "OK, we've accomplished everything that we could possibly accomplish as a band," that would be the time to stop. Each song is a different snapshot of us at a certain moment at a certain time. It's almost like watching home movies of yourself.

I like to think that we've changed and evolved and grown over the years that we've been making records. I think that's why each record that we put out sounds pretty drastically different than the next one does.

Q: Since you've been touring all year, how do you think fans have been responding to the new album (A Crow Left of the Murder)?

A: The response that we've gotten has been amazing. This record is a pretty weird album. There are a lot of strong songs on it, but there are also a lot of musical excursions on this record. I would imagine it would turn a lot of people off because, over the years, certain fans have become accustomed to the more structured song-oriented side of what we do, which still exists on this record. But I really like the record. I really feel that it's very thought-provoking. I think the lyrics are very interesting. The playing is very interesting and exciting.

I'm always surprised when millions of people will go and buy our albums. I'm still confounded by it. I feel really lucky and honored that that many people would still be interested in our music. I'm always prepared for it to not be that way, but it's continued on that path for us, and we're all just really grateful and happy to be where we are now.

Q: When you guys formed the band, did you ever really think you'd be as successful as you are now?

A: Not at all. We didn't start the band with intentions of trying to become famous or rich or anything like that. We started playing music basically out of boredom. We lived in a suburb of Los Angeles where there really wasn't anything to do other than surf or skateboard. When we had the spare time, we started getting together in high school, in 10th grade, and we started getting together and playing music. It was just fun. It was just a good time. We started playing at people's parties in their back yards. We never made any money; we just did it because we thought it was a really good time. It was something that we really enjoyed, and it kept progressing -- slowly. It's taken us 12 years to get to where we are now.

BY SHARI GOLD

Correspondent

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svelte    0

Enjoy Incubus at SCSU

Expect these California rockers to try something new during their show Thursday at Halenbeck Hall

As drummer Jose Pasillas tells it, Incubus isn’t all that special.

It’s just a band that makes music, and sometimes — well, actually quite often — they screw up in concert.

“We mess up all the time,” he said. “It’s charming, sort of, in a way.”

Incubus will charm audiences with its humanity tonight in Halenbeck Hall at St. Cloud State University. British rockers The Music will open.

Think you can goad him into saying something positive about the band? Or something that vaguely resembles the sort of thing a rock star should say?

Yeah, good luck with that.

You’ll have to let the facts do the talking.

Incubus formed in 1991 during members’ high school days in Calabasas, Calif. The band picked up The Roots’ former bass player, Ben Kenney, in 2003.

The group has toured with everyone from the dove-eaters on Ozzfest to the plant-eaters on Moby’s Area: One. The band’s first two albums released nationally, “Make Yourself” and “Morning View,” have gone platinum. The single “Megalomaniac” off the group’s latest release, “A Crow Left of the Murder...” has earned the group more attention, and more radio play.

Ticket sales at Halenbeck are also indicative of the Incubus’ popularity. Halenbeck’s lower level sold out about a month ago, and a dwindling number of seats are available in the upper level. About 1,850 tickets remain as of Tuesday. Halenbeck’s capacity is about 5,700.

(And if you’re under the impression that any national act would draw a crowd in this market, take note: Sugar Ray only sold about 2,000 tickets in 2002.)

While Incubus is frank about concert screw-ups, it’s because the band doesn’t approach concerts like they do recitals.

Incubus often attempts to change songs around and try new techniques for shows. Sometimes the experiments work, and other times they provide a memorable experience for concertgoers. Zealous fans can collect bootlegs of concerts that Incubus sells from its Web site.

Popularity and music talent aside, Pasillas could at least brag about the foundation the band has organized to distribute money to worthy causes, ranging from hurricane victims to Operation Smile, which helps children and adults suffering from facial deformities.

But even the group’s social action is underplayed.

“We just kind of figured we’re in a position to help,” Pasillas said. “We knew we could make a dent or a small dent.”

The band’s goal is to raise $1 million in music-related activities for its foundation.

Anybody familiar with Incubus’ lyrics shouldn’t be surprised by the band’s social involvement. “A crow left of the murder...” tackles consumerism (“Zee Deveel”), infotainment (“Talk Shows on Mute”) and free speech (“Pistola”).

But the band doesn’t have any aspirations to spread political ideals. The lyrics are just lead singer/songwriter Brandon Boyd’s reflection of society, Pasillas said.

“It’s just an observation of how the media or TV is working in this day and age,” Pasillas said. “The lyrics are meant to be thought-provoking.”

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svelte    0

a bit on incubus' contribution to the halo2 soundtrack

...In addition to the BB [breaking Benjamin] boys, chart topping Alt fave Incubus clock in with no less than four tracks on the album. The first of these, "Follow (1st Movement of the Odyssey)", begins with chiming guitars and Brandon Boyd's crisp clear voice evoking the aura of Byzantine monks as he chants haunting sounds. It quickly descends into a controlled blast of chaotic prog metal—all drums and crashing guitars, before returning to Boyd's eerily detached croon augmented by mild symphonia. At roughly the 1:50 mark Boyd's kicks in with the repeated wail of "Follow" for a few bars then the band returns to their mid-tempo speed metal/symphonic twist. It's an unnerving number, to be sure, but a wonderfully twisted turn for the band.

For the "2nd Movement of the Odyssey" Incubus revert to swirling intergalactic synth squiggles that bend and float around a quasi-acoustic guitar refrain that is augmented by wavering brush work on the cymbals. There's a definite Pink Floydian vibe to this number, albeit filtered through Incubus' strange SoCal mock Alt-Jazz phonics. That's for the first 1:40, then it veers off severely into atonal guitar noodling and King Crimson inspired prog madness filled with roiling blips and bleeps of electronic mayhem which has been tossed in for good measure (and what a good measure it is).

The "3rd Movement of the Odyssey" takes a decidedly more jazz-funk turn, at least at the beginning, which is heavily bass and snare driven with ever-so-slight electronic ambiance floating in the background while horns mingle and float with the lumbering groove. That the guitar can barely be heard wailing away in the background creates a wonderfully detached sense of aural bliss. The song switches midway through to a more guitar driven chug, but it still remains in the slow-to-mid-tempo range. The "4th Movement of the Odyssey" mixes all the elements explored on the previous three movements, beginning with conga-styled rhythms and nothing else before escalating into a rousing guitar driven ramble. It's safe to say that Incubus' inclusions on the album are some of the most enjoyable and intriguing, both musically, intellectually, and emotionally.

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svelte    0

Incubus brings its 'Crow' tour to Coliseum

When the 2002 album "Morning View" cemented Incubus' status as an arena-level rock act, Ben Kenney was recording progressive funk and hip-hop as a member of The Roots.

Kenney, who joined Incubus more than a year ago, admired the band's blend of contemporary pop, rock, alternative and "nu-metal" sounds. The irony is that almost immediately after joining Incubus, the music he thought was the band's bread and butter began to change.

"The band is in a whole new period now," he said. "It doesn't feel at all like we're making the same music as before."

Incubus performs Thursday at the Kansas Coliseum. Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. show are $33 at Select-A-Seat outlets or by phone at 755-SEAT.

Incubus' recent album, "A Crow Left of the Murder," is a step into dark territory. Even the more melodic side of the band's work, typified by the soft-focus detail of Brandon Boyd's singing, gets edgy.

"It was kind of spontaneous, the way a lot of these songs came together," Kenney said. "We didn't follow any kind of formula. Everyone was just coming from a different place in their writing than they were on the last album."

Although the moody pop and rock sound on "Crow" might be a switch for Incubus, it's an even greater cry from the funk, soul and rap Kenney served up on The Roots' 2002 triumph, "Phrenology." The bassist is proud of the grooves he helped set into motion.

But there is little time to dwell on the past. Incubus toured Europe after "Crow's" spring release and now is touring the United States.

"This is what we do," Kenney said of the extensive touring. "This is how we live. This is our job. But it's more than that, too. The band spirit is great. The guys get along really well, and the music we're making is tremendous. So I kind of feel like I could do this forever."

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svelte    0

Incubus sparkles

Concert brings stars to eyes

The Convocation Center found a “stellar” turnout for Incubus Friday night.

With the haze machines in full effect, the alt-metal quintet played a mix of music from its 13-year career but focused more on its last few albums, including 2004’s “A Crow Left of the Murder.”

More than 4,500 people attended the show either standing in the bleachers or dancing on the floor.

Taking the stage at 8:40 p.m., Incubus performed a main set of 15 songs, opening with “Pistola” before launching into “Nice To Know You,” from 2001’s sleeper hit “Morning View.”

Dressed in a white T-shirt and suspenders, lead singer Brandon Boyd belted out the lyrics to the excitement of the crowd while drummer José Pasillas kept the pace going strong.

“I’m having a good time,” Boyd said halfway through the set.

It was clear from the cheers the audience was, too.

The five-piece group charged ahead with a number of hits, including “Stellar,” “Drive,” “Wish You Were Here” and the intense “Megalomaniac.” Toward the end of the set, the group fell into a long percussion jam.

After leaving the stage for a couple of minutes, Incubus returned for a two-song encore, ending with “Under My Umbrella.”

“I loved the show,” said Clara Stuparitz, a Highland Park resident who attended with her four children. “Incubus is an amazing band because their philosophy is so interesting. They write about taking control of their lives.”

Brian Mesch, who traveled from Romeoville to attend the show, said he also enjoyed the band.

“The show was really good,” he said. “[The band members] mesh really well. My favorite part was toward the end when they started playing their older stuff.”

The Music, from Leeds, U.K., opened for Incubus, playing a number of songs from its sophomore release, “Welcome to the North.”

Lead singer Rob Harvey danced energetically to the music while the modern-rock foursome tried to engage the lukewarm audience with its 33-minute set, which included “Freedom Fighters,” “Breakin’,” and “Bleed From Within.”

The audience had mixed reactions to The Music.

“I didn’t like their music, but the lights were nice,” said Laura Shields, a student at the College of DuPage.

Ticket sales for the show were above expected levels, said Kevin Selover, the Convo Center’s marketing manager.

Selover attributed the large crowd to the show being on a Friday night, which allowed for an audience from a larger area.

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svelte    0

Incubus on a high as 'Crow' tour winds down

The alt-rock band performs Thursday night at the Coliseum.

If the state of mind of a band has anything to do with success, Incubus should have known its most recent CD, "A Crow Left of the Murder," would be a hit before it ever reached stores.

"I think that with this record, one of the reasons it took so much less time is that all of us are sort of at the top of our game at the moment, too," singer Brandon Boyd said of the disc, which was recorded in just two and a half weeks. "The excitement was just in the right space psychologically and emotionally to make this record."

The Los Angeles-area band certainly had not been suffering commercially before "A Crow Left of the Murder." Its two previous CDs, 1999's "Make Yourself" and 2001's "Morning View," were multi-platinum sellers that spawned a string of hits including "Drive," "Pardon Me," "Wish You Were Here" and "Warning."

"A Crow Left of the Murder" is nearing similar heights. It went platinum within its first five weeks on the Billboard chart (peaking at No. 2), and has continued to build sales with the band's extensive tour that started last summer.

Boyd is pleased with the musical and thematic range of "A Crow Left of the Murder," calling it the group's most diverse effort to date.

"Musically, it covers the most ground, but lyrically it covers a lot of space as well," he said. "There are topics everywhere, from social observation to love to heartbreak and betrayal, renewal -- all the things that I've been observing over the past couple of years find their way into things that I write down. So this record became a very colorful photo album for us of sorts."

In particular, the CD brings out a topical side of Incubus that hasn't always been so obvious on earlier albums. For instance, "Megalomaniac" rails against self-serving people in positions of power. "Talk Shows on Mute" tweaks Americans for their worship of television talk show hosts, while "Zee Deveel" focuses its attack on materialistic lifestyles.

"There have been socially observant lyrics on all of our records, some of them more eloquent and better sort of delivered than others," Boyd said. "But this record, I think people really took notice a lot more, for numerous reasons. Certainly the first video (for 'Megalomaniac') we made says quite a lot, and also just because of the state of the world.

"Everyone's sort of on super pins and needles with the state of politics and the state of the world in general and how all of us fit into it. You'd have to be either blind or blitzed out of your mind not to be paying attention to the things that are going on."

"A Crow Left of the Murder" may also be a CD that helps give Incubus a more accurate and readily identifiable musical image. On early albums like the 1997 debut "S.C.I.E.N.C.E." and, to a lesser extent, "Make Yourself," the band flirted with hip-hop and as a result got lumped in with the rap-rock/nu-metal movement of the mid-1990s.

But the current CD dispenses entirely with the rap elements and puts Incubus firmly in melodic metal-tinged rock territory. It's a sound that feels comfortable for the band, Boyd said.

"I think this record is probably the closest we've come to the way we feel as a band," he said. "After sitting with it for a year and getting relatively objective, I feel like this is the most Incubus record we've ever written.

"But we don't probably have that hit-the-nail-on-the-head Incubus record (yet), which is kind of a good feeling, too, because we're not done by any means."

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Incubus hits all its hits at concert

The band didn't hold back in its make-up performance at the Coliseum, and fans weren't disappointed.

Keeping promises is always a good thing.

Incubus might have canceled July's show in Wichita, but it kept its word and returned Thursday night to 4,000 enthusiastic fans at the Kansas Coliseum.

Opening with the theme from the blockbuster video game "Halo," Incubus didn't take long to erupt into the guitar-piercing "Pistola," which brought the crowd to its feet. Fans quickly filtered down from the seats and staked out spots on the floor.

Incubus played on a bare set, consisting only of essential equipment. However, the stage sometimes became reminiscent of the band's "Morning View" tour, as it played in front of a black backdrop illuminated with glowing stars meant to transform an enclosed arena into a perfect midnight sky.

The band -- which ends its tour tonight in Loveland, Colo. --never hesitated from diving into what seemed like a greatest-hits package, beginning with "Nice to Know You" and then into one of its biggest hits, "Wish You Were Here."

Incubus isn't a band short on hits. But its latest album, "Crow Left of the Murder," failed to produce any hits beyond "Megalomanic," which closed the show before the encore. However, that doesn't mean the band is finished.

"The band was hitting on all 10 tonight, baby," fan Scott Steele said. "That's what I call enthusiasm."

Enthusiasm is exactly what lead singer Brandon Boyd brings. Looking like a failed comedian, with white shirt and shoes, dark pants and dark suspenders, Boyd shuffled around stage, pulling the microphone cord while belting into the microphone.

Some might suspect that Boyd's pin-up looks are what draw fans. It seemed the opposite.

"I don't care if he was disgusting," Leslie Cox said. "I would still think that their music rocks. It makes me want to sprout wings and fly."

Others agreed that it's the music, not necessarily the singer.

"I love the metaphors," said Ryan Walker, who came down from Kansas City for the show. "It's perfection in words. You have got to listen to the lyrics. The words are poems if you listen."

Incubus is one of the few bands left over from the late '90s rap-rock era. It has kept its fan base and continued to evolve musically.

The turntables still exist, but its songwriting and rhythms have grown more complex and rewarding. This becomes fully evident on "Just a Phase," a song that fluctuates from power ballad to full-thrust rock.

"They bring a mellow approach to music," Cox said. "They're therapeutic."

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svelte    0

Brandon was part of Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. His top ten:

1. "Grace" - Jeff Buckley: Buckley did things with his voice that you didn't think a guy could do. He sang like a bird.

2. "Pink Moon" - Nick Drake: I got into this agian recently when my girlfriend was playing it. There's something beautiful about how simple it is.

3. "Teardrop" - Massive Attack: When I first heard this, I thought it was the coolest song ever. I didn't even know Liz Fraser was the singer with the Cocteau Twins - I was just taken with her voice.

4. "The Kiss" - The Cure: This was the song that was playing when I kissed a girl for the first time.

5. "Protection" - Massive Attack: Growing up, I was really into heavy rock music. But then I started getting into people who created moods with their music. I love this.

6. "Last Goodbye" - Jeff Buckley: I like that it doesn't have a classic pop arrangement, but it's still a classic.

7. "Strawberry Fields Forever" - The Beatles: This is cheesy, but my first exposure to The Beatles was via Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees the Sgt. Pepper film. This one floored me, although now I prefer the original.

8. "Hyperballad" - Bjork: Right when I first heard Bjork, I saw her play in Los Angeles. Watching her use her voice in this amazing way choked me up. I was like the tough guy trying not to cry at the end of the movie.

9. "Changes" - David Bowie: I love that Bowie played the chameleon with pride.

10. "Just Like Heaven" - The Cure: This was another part of my-making-out-when-I-first-heard-this deal.

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IX10N    0

I think the majority of this band is talented, but that they may not be utilising their full potential. Alot of their fame comes from girls thinking that they're cool and hot, which is okay, except I think it's a crime for incubus to slowly fade from the daring and different world that they came from into the shallow and boring stream of pop music.

two cents :)

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svelte    0

no offense, but your two cents make no sense to me...

how are they fading away? and how are they going into boring pop music? :blink: and i think it's a crime, for you to make the assumptions that you have made about incubus. not using their full potential, i can see where you're coming from. but the rest of it just makes it seem like you've only listened to which songs have been on mtv :rolleyes:

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IX10N    0

no no, not at all, I liked their second full length album heaps, I thought it took strong influences from faith no more, but they were something individual that I had never really seen before, I liked it.

I forgot about them for a while, then heard stellar... I hoped it was a one off, because it just sounded like so many other songs going around at that time. I guess the only song I was remotely interested off from that album was Pardon Me, but even that was leaning towards the sound of a fair few other nu-metal bands that were coming in at the time.

As for the fading away thing, I dont mean that they are becoming less popular, I meant they they are fading from one genre to another, it seems what they are doing now is just the norm. for bands that want to make hits, they are no longer individuals in my opinion. They have become slaves to the money... but once again, thats just my opinion, I dont like people bagging the bands I like, because I think they just dont understand them, so feel free to let what I just said go over your head. :huh:

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svelte    0

what hits has ACLOTM had? megalomaniac? i'll give you that one, but i can't see how you think incubus is making hits or blending in with the crappy bands.

they aren't fading from one genre, they've never fit into a genre. have you even heard ACLOTM? or have you not paid attention after Morning View.

incubus never was really 'popular'. brandon was 'popular' during the morning view era, but that was really it. mtv paid attention because of brandon, not because incubus was talented.

the way that you bring up make yourself, (I liked their second full length album heaps) makes me think that you're speaking (in terms of 'hits' and 'fading' and not being 'individual') of morning view. and that was what, 2 or 3 years ago? even with morning view, name me another 'nu-metal' band that has made songs like 'just a phase', 'the warmth' 'aqueous transmissioin' etc. you can't. there aren't any. incubus isn't nu-metal. shame on you for calling yourself an incubus fan and implying they were nu-metal.

incubus always has been, still is, and always will be one of the most individual bands around.

but you know what, if you liked them, and now you think they're less original and more of a 'hit' band than a real band, you can stop posting in here. what would the point be? why would you post in a thread for a band you once liked?

:rolleyes:

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Dread    0

So did Make Yourself sell 2 million copies just because girls liked to look at Brandon with his shirt off on-stage and in some of the videos?

Did Morning View sell 2 million as well because of the same thing?

They're very popular. And yes, their music has become more accessible post-SCIENCE. That is a fact you can't deny. But it's not my belief that they did this on purpose. SCIENCE sold 100,000 copies before "Make Yourself" came out. If they wanted to build on that success, they would've stayed the same. But they changed, and in the process, became a little more radio-friendly. "A Crow..." is a little less accessible, and a bit of a letdown personally. But at least they weren't trying to make a "Morning View 2" or a "Make Yourself 2" or a... "Anything 2."

Oh, and Talk Show on Mute was a hit, too. It reached #3 on the Modern Rock Billboard chart (Megalomaniac scored a #1).

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Qball    0

I have this DVD, it's pretty good. In my opinion, Incubus are one of the most interesting bands today. Mike Einziger is a great guitarist, I really dig his style.

Check out this stuff, it's worth it...

post-897-0-1445993322-61176_thumb.jpg

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