Incubus’ last performance in 2002 (November 1st) brought several era's for the band to a close. Their last show of the tour would be their last show touring behind 2001's Morning View, as the band looked on to playing new music. The show would also prove to be their last with bass player Alex "Dirk Lance" Katunich, who was asked to leave the band due to creative and personal differences. Dirk was quietly replaced by former Roots bassist Ben Kenney, who immediately began working with Mike Einziger on new songs for a 'Psychedelic Jazz Funk' side project named 'The Time Lapse Consortium'. Incubus ended the year on the charts, having "I Wish You Were Here" at #10, "Warning" at #16, "Nice To Know You" at #26 on the Alternative Rock Format Chart, "I Wish You Were Here" at #25 and "Nice To Know You" at #36 on the Active Rock Format Chart, "I Wish You Were Here" at #16, and "Nice To Know You" at #34 on the Rock Format Chart, while Morning View was the 40th best selling album of 2002.
On January 6, 2003 the band began writing for their next record, and were featured on Much Music's "Celebrity Taste Maker" Fri. January 24th, though one would have to assume that this was pre-taped since it featured Dirk Lance not Ben. Mike, Ben and Jose appeared at the Roxy Theatre on January 24th with Suzi Katayama and the 'Time Lapse Consortium'. The act, which features an 11 piece orchestra, also includes Neal Evans of Soulive. Suzi Katayama has worked with Incubus in the past on orchestral arrangements like the one in 'Aqueous Transmission' and 2000's "Almost Acoustic X-Mas" performance. The show will be the first performance of the group, which describes its music as "An Instrumental Voyage into the world of psychedelic funk."
On February 7th, in the midst of this change and renewal, the band made the decision to force their record label into renegotiations on their record contract. The band, which has been signed to Epic/Immortal for seven years, cites the fact that state law limits the amount of time that an artist can be bound to a company. The band had been signed to the label for 7 years, and used California's "Seven Years Law" as a negotiating tool with Epic/Immortal. After releasing 3 highly successful albums, the band had been compensated poorly compared to the revenue that they had generated for Sony. The band entered a lawsuit against their label in order to break from their contract, to which Sony responded with a lawsuit of their own.
On March 1st, Mike Einzinger, along with Scott Litt, Dave Holdredge, and Rick Will, lost the Grammy in the "Best Engineered Album (Non Classical)" category, for their work on Morning View, they lost the award to the Norah Jones camp. On April 3rd, after weeks of circulating rumors about Alex "Dirk Lance" Katunich's departure from the band, an official announcement had at last been made by the band. A decision was reached amongst the band members in a face to face meeting at the end of the Morning View Tour to end Dirk's involvement in the band. The band has said that the split became necessary due to "irreconcilable creative differences". However, Dirk has openly admitted in the past that some relationships have been difficult, saying "Brandon and I used to fight almost every day because I was not a morning person. First thing in the morning, don't greet me with a smile and a 'Hi! How are ya!' For, like, two years nonstop he would do that. I was like, 'Oh my God, you've got to be deliberately doing this to drive me crazy!" With this and other evidence of friction ('Glass' was supposedly inspired by Dirk), it would not be overly presumptuous that personality differences between band members eventually became difficult enough that no amount of 'band therapy' could mend them. Almost immediately after the announcement of a new bass player, on April 11, 2003 Incubus vs Sony had been settled. The two sides settled on a new contract that delivers three albums to Epic/Immortal with an option on a fourth. The first album will be worth $8 Million in advances to the band, with another $2.5 Million for each one thereafter.
After overcoming difficulties earlier in the year, the band was looking forward to playing the newly resurrected Lollapalooza circuit alongside Jane's Addiction, Audioslave, Jurassic 5, and a band that Mike had praised while earning a reputation at Ozzfest--The Queens of the Stone Age.