Brandon Boyd BioVocal, Percussion
"(Art)... rescues us from our self chosen triviality, to which we are so prone. It is like a deep organ note that makes my hair stir and a shiver run through me. I 'pull back' from life, like a camera taking a long shot with a wide angle lens. I quite simply become aware of more reality than before." -Colin Wilson (The Occult)
When I first read this quote, it truly effected me. I felt like someone had finally spoken an iota of truth about creativity and the process it allows to both the creator and the observer. It helped certainties that I have held dear for so long, resonate even deeper within me. And it inevitably made me muse about what we do as a band and group of friends who come together and through a symbiotic chaos of sorts make art and sound. The gratitude I and my friends feel is beyond measure. Gratitude for the experience itself and gratitude to the people who have lent us their attention, if even for three and half minutes.
Now on our sixth album, we (Incubus) have been writing music together long enough that there is a sense of perspective available that has only come to us with time. Some of our earlier works, though pure and even fun at times, lent to a sense of disorganization; a readily apparent lack of focus in my opinion. I have always said, "Yeah, we suck...but we're really good at it!"
'Light Grenades' is a very new perspective for Incubus. Working, once again, with Super Producer, 'Brendan O'Brien', we spent more time crafting, and sculpting these songs than we ever have historically. Every album we had ever made was written in eight weeks and recorded in eight weeks. A long time by some standards, but alarmingly brief by most. It's not that we were rushed, we just like working quickly. We wrote twenty-something songs during this sitting. Like proof readers on meth, we devoured songs and only let them live if they excited, surprised and inspired us all! In a nut shell, it took about a year.
'Dig' was toiled over the most I remember because it is the kind of song that is completely new to us. Structurally, integrally, and fundamentally different. And thank- fucking- God. Lyrically, it's a nod to camaraderie. And without pepperin' ya'lls interpretation of it too much, it speaks to the importance of forgiveness and compassion. Little alien concepts that some choose to toy with on occasion.
'A Kiss to Send Us Off' shows Incubus in our most primal incarnation. It floors you but simultaneously leaves you thinking. But seriously, that song puts my balls in a vacuum cleaner hose and turns the power to 12. It hurts sometimes, but it leaves my balls satisfied and clean. Think about THAT!
'Anna-Molly' delivers a similar push but has a far more sophisticated bent, in that it rocks, but conjures imagery of a girl that I can see in my minds eye but most likely doesn't exist. Therefore being a bit of an anomaly. I guess that is relatively sophisticated...right? Fuck. I actually hate trying to explain what these or any of our songs mean! And it's really not fair for me to condescend to do that in the first place. If you care to, let them be about whatever you want. Our single, 'Megalomaniac' from our last album (A Crow Left Of the Murder) was interpreted in ways that I never intended. It wasn't far from home base, but was nowhere near as case specific as it seemed. Which is fine with us. Good! Think of it what you will. And for doG's sake, start your own band!
While home over the past two years, we had a chance to unpack for the first time in almost a decade. Isn't it interesting that to so many people we are a new band, while we have been writing music together, for better or worse, for fifteen years now. Coming home in November of 2004 was an important decision. Not only were we road weary and dried up, but each one of us in his own way needed to step back from the monster that we had created and re-access what had transpired.
Michael Einziger, in his down time, wrote original music for a surf documentary entitled 'Flow' (Directed by Josh Landon) and was nominated at XDance film festival for best original score. I peed on the same tree as well, but lent my speaking voice to narrate the story of said documentary. And yes, I sounded fucking sexy. Michael also lent his producing skills to his brother's band, Agent Sparks, and is also currently involved with the scores of several motion pictures.
I have been feverishly working on the follow up to my self published book entitled, 'White Fluffy Clouds', and expect the underprivileged youth of america to be available for criticism by December of 2006. 'From the Murks of the Sultry Abyss' is a compendium of images both real and unreal; painted, photographed, scratched and typed.
Jose Pasillas has been exploring his love of art in mixed mediums from canvas, to computer and everything in between. And by day he happily frolics through the grasslands of his hometown with his two feline friends. (Total hippy.)
DJ Chris Kilmore spent the past few years expanding upon his already stellar reputation as a world class DJ by learning and incorporating a bevy of new instruments into our fold. Turntables, the Theremin, and Moog keys have been creeping into our collective via Chris for some time. But the Guitar-o-phone, Mellotron, Fender Roads, and the kitchen sink are welcomed suprises! Thanks Kil.
Ben Kenney has been writing music and performing with his side project, 'The Division Group', and produced the latest album from a young band called 'The Smyrk'.
All this and we still managed to conceive and carry out what I believe to be our most worthy album to date. If ever asked which album I preferred personally in our arsenal of sound, I would invariably tell you that I most liked whatever was the latest. But this time, I really mean it!
I think I can speak for my band when I say that we are interested in movement, experimentation and freedom. Being in this band has allowed us the freedom to move in and around other artistic endeavors. Like meandering streams we each wandered off over the past two years; only to be drawn unconsciously back to the ocean where all streams converge. And thus composed 'Light Grenades', our sixth studio album.
What I am getting at (sort of) is that art has rescued us in many ways. Through circumstance, chance, good fortune, a teeny, weeny bit of talent, and an ardor for expressivity, Incubus has survived long enough to garnish a perspective onto itself. "Like a camera taking a long shot with a wide angle lens," we conjured 'Light Grenades'; a forty-seven and some odd seconds long bulbous mass of sound and intention captured on tape. 'Light Grenades' that explode with consciousness, light, art and mind. If you enjoy it, we thank you. If not? Then my dog is French and he already pooped under your pillow.
Written By Brandon Boyd
"Nothing is true. All is permitted."
-Last words of Hassan i Sabbah X
To think that one's life is interesting enough to write about is indeed flattering. I wouldn't say though that my life was necessarily in that particular category.
For I still have a couple of nasty drug addictions to go through, a divorce or two to fight out, two filed bankruptcies, an arrest for indecent exposure and the total public annihilation of this band to bear before I can go as far as calling my life 'interesting'. Then, of course, I must tell my story on one of the myriad different television documentaries. Spill my guts, cry for the world, then put out a book called, "A Life Less Lived." (How Incubus ruined my childhood, etc, etc.) But, alas! 'Interesting' is a multi-interpretable term! And besides, a few of you have expressed desires to know the goings on in this little atmosphere of mine, so I guess I'll elucidate.
I was born in the harsh, desert climate of Van Nuys, California, where I was orphaned and taken in by a pack of hungry native coyotes. Their initial intention was to have me for an appetizer before they went on their nightly suburban feline hunt, but I survived only because the leader of the pack saw potential in me as a hunter and a spreader of coyote seed! From there, our friendship was forged, and I became known as Brandon of the Jungle. They taught me the ways of the Valley, and I quickly became one of the pack's most vocal howlers! Hence my present day ability to sing. When I was old enough, I learned to catch house pets, insects and rodents! Which is where I got these kickin' thigh muscles!
At age 11, I began impressing the pack and local wild-life photographers with my skill in carpentry. I would build elaborate shelters for my family and I using the ever-abundant palm frawns, pieces of discarded twine and snot. And this is where my first encounter with my present cohorts in music came into play. I was the ripe age of 15, and was busy chasing a female coyote in heat down a dusty trail one afternoon, when I turned a corner and ran into the other guys in the band. They were sitting inside one of my more arty housings and enjoying it's refuge from the blistering California sun. I stepped inside and made the only noises I knew how, and tried to express to them my discontent for invading my space. They replied with fascination at my inhuman grunts, growls and wales, and asked me to be in their band, Incubus. I, of course, did not know at the time what they meant nor did I care. I simply started biting the shit out of the drummer's ass. Which is where Jose's fear of things canine comes into play.
Things eventually calmed down and I started to enjoy the fresh perspectives these boys brought into my reality. The guys came back every day after that and taught me to speak English and sing. WE began playing together about a month later when my powers of speech and wit began developing. And with my past experience in snot carpentry, I built us our first band rehearsal space! My taste for insects and things fury has not subsided. But I believe that those are just old habits dying hard. Luckily, we tour the Mid-west of America frequently where these delicacies are more appreciated and less persecuted! I have been in this, my first and only band, now for nine years, and have learned worlds about life, love, loss and humanity. It is and has been such a different experience from my roots as a wild, scavenger dog! But I have to say that I've enjoyed every minute of it.
Being in this band has shown me that any mutt can break the mold and prosper. And being the first orphan who was raised by wolves to be in a rock band reinforces that creto in me every day. Straying from the norm has done nothing but good for me in my 23 years alive this time around. And I will continue to do so in this sphere, for better or worse.
Now, does that not so brief description of my life deserve the title, 'Interesting'? Likely, not. You decide.
For more details about me and my further mis-adventures on deserted islands, literary discoveries, art, sex, love, hairstyles, international cuisine and general rock and roll mayhem, feel free to come into my live page!
Brandon Boyd grew up in Calabasas, CA. His parents Dolly and Charles, both of whom had experience in entertainment, had nurtured his creative side since he was a child. He had first met Jose Pasillas in elementary school in the 80's, but it wasn't until high school that he was asked to join a band that already included Jose, Mike Einziger, and Alex Katunich. Brandon's vocal abilities, which were for the most part self taught (he had taken two lessons before he ran out of money, but he claims he learned everything he would need), and proved to be the final essential element for the band. Between writing early songs and surfing, the four quickly became the best of friends. As they developed more and more songs, the band quickly became a popular show around the neighborhood.
When the band decided to play their first show at the Roxy, the time came to choose a band name. Brandon's suggestion, "Spiral Staircase," was denied in favor of Mike's suggestion, selected at random from a dicionary: Incubus. Brandon put his other artistic talents to good use, drawing concert flyers advertising their early performances. At first, Brandon had copied several drawings from a sex book that Mike's mom had given them, but he decided to stop using it after several prospective fans had been confused by their flyers ("What kind of band is this?").
Through the years, Brandon's vocal talent has been at the forefront of the band's success. His strong voice was part of what attracted Sony's Epic/Immortal records, and the band signed a deal in 1996. Behind Boyd, the band continued to gain support behind their first two major releases, SCIENCE and Make Yourself. In 2000, the band's popularity exploded into the mainstream behind the songs "Pardon Me", "Stellar", and "Drive".
Over the years, Brandon's lyrics have expressed a range of different ideas. His early work, which was often light and playful, was no doubt influenced in part by his use of marijuana. According to Brandon, after smoking his first joint with his older brother Darren, the poetic floodgates had been opened inside of his brain.
His first artistic love, however, remains drawing. Before the band decided to concentrate on music full time, he and Jose had attended Moorpark College full time as art students.
Books and More Art:
Brandon has published two books - "White Fluufy Clouds" (2003) and "From the murks of the Sultry Abyss" (2007). You can still order copies here.
In 2008, Brandon had a solo art show.
Brandon Boyd Premiere Solo Art Exhibit - Ectoplasm
September 8th - 27th, 2008
"As the lead singer of Incubus, Brandon Boyd has shown for many years that he is an ever-morphing artist who possesses an innate accessibility. An insight into his raw honesty is explored and displayed in his two previously released diary/journalistic books. In 2003, White Fluffy Clouds: Found Inspiration Moving Forward was published, and followed by From The Murks of The Sultry Abyss in 2007.
His art show entitled “Ectoplasm” is an examination of the relationship and correlation between art and spirit matter. Brandon cites artists Aubrey Beardsley, Egon Schiele, Robert Anton Wilson, and Helmut Newton as a few of the artists that have had a profound influence on his work. A portion of his previous work can be viewed at www.brandonboydbooks.com and the upcoming installation will unveil primarily new material.
Opened in April, 2006 Mr. Musichead is the first L.A. gallery devoted exclusively to rock art, fine art, and photography by its musicians, artists, photographers, and designers. It features album cover art, poster art, and photography that chronicles rock and roll heritage while interspersing and showcasing new artists with new points of view. Owner and founder Sam Milgrom established himself in Detroit for many years as a cutting edge music retailer and live concert venue owner. A partner of the renowned Morrison Hotel gallery, Sam has nowset his sites specifically on the Los Angeles music/art scene."
In 2008/09, Brandon is attended Otis Art School in Los Angeles. Brandon spends his time surfing, writing, drawing, and spending time with friends and family.