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12:00 AM Monday, 9/25/00 |   |

SOME BANDS PLAY VIDEO GAMES ON THE ROAD, others party, some sleep. Inventive rockers Incubus recorded an EP, When Incubus Attacks, Vol. I. "This is not a real record for Incubus," singer Brandon Boyd said of the limited-edition CD. Only 100,000 copies were made. "We wanted to give our fans something just for being so cool and supportive and patient with us."

California's Incubus still has plenty of touring to do behind its latest album, Make Yourself (it will join Deftones in mid-October), so fans likely won't see another proper studio album on the market until next summer or fall.

The EP wasn't planned as an interim offering. Boyd and guitarist Michael Einziger were simply trying to pass the time on long road trips when "Pardon Me" first hit the airwaves.

"We started messing around with the song acoustically, just him and I, just having fun, in the back lounge of the bus," recounted Boyd. "It started sounding kind of cool, so we went into a studio one day before our Primus show and we laid down six or seven songs."

The tracks were recorded so quickly that Boyd is barely certain of the city he was in, let alone the name of the studio.

"It was in Chicago, I think," he said. "Before our soundcheck, we just went in for an hour or two and recorded them. There was an engineer. We went in and met him for the first time and told him to ambient mic the room and put a microphone in front of me and push play. It turned out really well.

"A lot of recording is like trying to catch lightning in a bottle," he added, "and there were a couple of little pieces where we actually accomplished that, in my opinion."

Incubus has been trying to catch its lightning in a bottle since a decade ago, when three bored 15-year-olds tried to get through the summer after 10th grade by jamming together. Einziger, drummer Jos‚ Pasillas and bassist Dirk Lance played their first live gig at a friend's party. The set comprised instrumental renditions of Metallica and Megadeth songs. They had no singer. "It was hilarious," Pasillas remembered.

Boyd would join Incubus at Calabasas High in January 1991. The band played parties at first, then small clubs like Mancini's in the San Fernando Valley. Soon, it graduated to slots at L.A.'s showcase clubs the Troubadour and the Roxy. Promoters, at first, gave the guys a hard time because they were underage, but easily overlooked the technicality when they discovered their drawing power. "We always had a huge draw because we were in high school and we had tons of friends," Pasillas recounted.

Incubus which had not yet added a DJ to the lineup started making demos with a tape recorder in the middle of a room until Mark Shoffner, a tour manager, approached the band with an offer to record in his friend's studio, no strings or contracts attached. "That's when that relationship began," said Pasillas of the man who became Incubus' manager.

The band, which released its first indie album, Fungus-Amongus, continued to gig, pooling resources with bands like Hoobustank and Frontside for "pay to play" gigs until it was big enough to draw without the pressure of selling advance tickets to friends.

  • Incubus

    DJ Chris Kilmore
    Brandon Boyd
    Dirk Lance
    Mike Einziger
    September 25, 2000


By then, a turntablist approached Incubus to DJ in the band (he was replaced in 1997 by DJ Chris Kilmore). "It just seemed like another cool instrument," Pasillas said. At the time, "the only band that had a DJ was (hed)p.e. from Orange County."

Two years after high school, Immortal/Epic signed Incubus and released the six-song demo, Enjoy Incubus, then put the band on the road for its first tour, supporting labelmates Korn in Europe. In 1997, its first full-length album, S.C.I.E.N.C.E., came out and Incubus didn't stop for the next two years, playing with Sugar Ray, Limp Bizkit, Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Korn, 311, and more. In 1999, Incubus slipped into a studio for nine weeks with producer Scott Litt and recorded Make Yourself. More touring ensued with Primus, 311, and Ozzfest.

During that brief acoustic studio session at Chicago's CRC Centre, Boyd and Einziger cut "I Miss You" and "Drive" "and maybe one more; I can't remember," admitted Boyd but only "Pardon Me," "Stellar" and the title track from the gold-selling Make Yourself were selected for When Incubus Attacks, Vol. I.

The entire band is featured on the EP's other three tracks: live versions of "Favorite Things" and "Pardon Me" recorded at The Fillmore Auditorium in Denver last January, plus a studio track called "Crowded Elevator" from the Make Yourself sessions (previously available on the "Scream 3" soundtrack).

"It's very punk," said Boyd of the EP. "You can definitely hear the mistakes. And you definitely hear how vivid it can be. But that's what's cool about it, I think. That's what's maybe missing from a lot of the newer albums that are coming out."

No acoustic tour is planned to support the album. The band, as a whole, has been performing "an Incubus version of 'Unplugged'" for special occasions such as this past summer's MuchMusic appearance in Canada and an MTV beach party in the Hamptons.

"Mike and I performed 'Pardon Me' for about 300 radio stations across the country on the last few tours. So we've been doing it," Boyd said. "We're trying to give it a little break right now. I think we're wearing it out a little bit."