The Calabasas, California based 5-piece known as Incubus
have made quite an impact on rock radio within the past
few years. Hit singles such as "Pardon Me," "Drive,"
"Nice to Know You," "Wish You Were Here" and "Warning"
has made this band a dominate force in today's rock
market. As a result they have managed to sell-out some
of the worlds most famous venues including New York's
Madison Square Garden and the Los Angeles' Forum.
Incubus; who consists of Brandon Boyd - vocals/percussion;
Mike Einziger - guitars; Dirk Lance - bass; Jose Pasillas
- drums and DJ Kilmore on the wheels; owe a great deal
of their enormous success to outlets such as MTV and
radio promotion. So, why does Guitarist Mike Einziger
say that today's rock radio is "Filled with crap?"
I had the opportunity to speak with Einziger and he
spoke very candidly about his thoughts on rock radio
and rock festivals as well as the incredible success
CRUD: What a year it's been for you guys.. Your
latest album already spawned 3 hit singles [Nice To
Know You; Wish You Were Here; Warning]
MIKE: (Laughs) Yeah, I guess if that's what you
wanna call em' then cool..
CRUD: Dude, they are hit's..
Well, I think that "Nice To Know You" and "Warning"
are kind of long songs and they really don't fit the
standard radio format and for us it's nice just to change
it up a little bit. The radio is just so horrible these
days and at least we can, with a clear conscious, feel
like were trying to eject something real and tangible
to the radio cus' it's filled with crap and stuff..
It's to the point where I almost don't want to have
a single for the radio and almost like I don't want
to be a part of that.. It's like, if you ignore the
problem then you are the problem and we do what we can,
CRUD: Yeah, but when you guys are sitting in
the studio writing songs you must realize the potential
these songs have to be radio hits.
MIKE: You know, we never really know how something's
gonna come out until it's finished, so those kind of
calculations don't really come into the writing process..
But, sometimes when we're done with a song we might
be able to say, "Oh, this is definitely gonna be a song
that they'll play on the radio," but that's not where
our motivation lies. We have to love it first and hopefully
radio stations play it. If radio plays it then that's
just an added bonus for us.
CRUD: So, radio does matter somewhat?
MIKE: We've had a number one single before and
its cool.. It was really, really great and it felt like
an accomplishment because the song that went all the
way to number one [Drive] we felt was a really great
song. That was a very meaningful song to us and we were
proud, but those things aren't necessarily what's important
to us; what's important to us to make great music and
play great concerts and I think everything else just
kinda follows that.
CRUD: But, when you made "Morning View" was there
pressure to try and top "Drive?"
MIKE: Naa.. Look, it would have been very easy
for us to try and write another song that sounds like
"Drive." That's what most bands do, they find a formula
that works on a commercial level and they just keep
repeating it until it doesn't work anymore.. For us,
we get bored very easily and we would never be able
to just keep repeating ourselves. There isn't one song
on "Morning View" that sounds even remotely like "Drive."
Again, it's where your motivation lies, if your making
music to get fame and notoriety and to write hit singles
for the radio then you will go away just as quickly
as you started. I would hope that people would have
a bit more respect for us then to think that.
CRUD: Well, you're getting much respect from
industry, critics and fans alike.. You guys are huge..
MIKE: That's funny, I think we're fooling a lot
of people because we haven't sold nearly the amount
of records that many of the other bands have… But, we're
selling out huge arenas so, that must mean that people
really like our music and the people that are actually
going out and buying our records really like our band
and there not judging us from just one song that they
heard on the radio.
CRUD: Yeah, you know what it is.. Your music
has no gimmicks, there's no nonsense and it comes from
a real place. I think that's what people are tapping
into with Incubus.
MIKE: Yeah, I sure hope so.. That's kind of how
we see it.. If that's what coming across to people then
I'm happy with that.
CRUD: How famous are you guys?
MIKE: I don't know..
CRUD: If you go to the mall would you be mobbed
MIKE: Well.. Yeah.. (Laughs) a lot of people
recognize us when we're walking around. I think it's
a lot worse for Brandon than it is for the rest of us,
but it's cool.. People are usually nice; once in a while
you'll get some psycho stalker with a weird gleam in
his eye. But, for the most part, people are cool and
they just want to say hello and they appreciate it when
you take the time to say, "What's up."
CRUD: Now, you guys are friends with Hoobastank,
MIKE: Yeah, we knew those guys since we were
little kids.. They're childhood friends of ours.
CRUD: Those guys sound an awful lot like Incubus..
Do you think you influenced them too much.. (Laughs)
MIKE: Hey, I'm sure we had some influence on
them but, it's kinda difficult for me to see that because
I've known them ever since they started their band,
so it's like I almost don't even care. I don't even
look at it like that, I just see those guys as my friends
and whatever they're doing musically doesn't give me
any negative feelings and I'm happy their doing well.
CRUD: Cool deal.. You guys play a lot of festival
shows. What do you prefer, the big Festivals or a regular
MIKE: To be perfectly honest I hate festivals,
I hate them. The actual act of playing them is pretty
fun, but they suck. You never have a place to shit or
take a shower and people treat you bad and there's never
anything good to eat and you never get to do a sound
check and it sounds horrible on stage.. But, once you're
up there its pretty fun..
CRUD: Yeah, cus' your vibing with the audience..
But, also at festivals there are so many bands and it
wears the crowd down..
MIKE: Yeah, and a lot of times at festivals your
with bands that you think suck and you would never play
a show with them in a million years.. But, It's like
you just go, "I just want to play this show, have a
good time and leave!" (Laughs)
(Laughs) Well, you just sold out Madison Square Garden,
MIKE: You know what, that's a really, really
exciting thing for us. We also sold out The Forum in
L.A. and selling out the Forum and selling out Madison
Square Garden for us is crazy.. Having sold a fraction
of the records that other bands sell and they can't
sell out those venues tells us that we really gained
a lot of fans the way we wanted to do it. We're really
proud of it and this show at Madison Square Garden is
on my birthday to, [June 21,1976] so..
CRUD:..cool.. A double whammy.. (Laughs)
MIKE: (Laughs) Yeah..
CRUD: Man, you have a great life. You have a
successful career as a bona fide rock star; you toured
the world; you have multiple hit records, you sold out
Madison Square Garden and the Forum.. What more would
you possibly want?
MIKE: Well.. (pause) Hmm.. I just want to keep
being able to make records that are important to me
and to the band and honestly that's all I need to make
me happy. I think we've kind of proven to ourselves
that just by following what we want to do we can accomplish
whatever we want to accomplish and we're just gonna
keep on doing it...
Incubus are also launching a brand new DVD [The Morning
View Sessions] which documents the bands CD release
party at Sony Studios in New York. Aside from all the
great live footage, "The Morning View Sessions" also
gives its audience a glimpse behind the scenes of the
"Wish You Were Here" video as well as a photo gallery
and classic Incubus hits from all of their past albums.
This is a 'must-have' for all Incubus fans.
Don Sill for Crud Magazine© 2002
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