Little steps lead to success

Sunday, December 16, 2001

LOS ANGELES -- After spending a decade toiling in music's underground scene, Incubus found themselves thrust into the rock 'n' roll limelight due to a couple of catchy radio hits last summer.

But even with a new album on the charts and a sold-out tour, the band is careful about defining success.

"It's never like, 'OK, we've arrived.' For better or worse, we've seen the little steps and all the little steps in between those steps," said lead singer Brandon Boyd, 25.

Those little steps began more than a decade ago in Calabasas, Calif., a rural enclave north of Los Angeles, when Boyd, guitarist Mike Einziger, bassist Dirk Lance and drummer Jose Pasillas formed a funk garage band inspired by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Primus.

The group gained a local cult following. But when Incubus shopped its music to major labels, the band struck out.

In 1995, Incubus recorded and released "Fungus Amongus" on its own. Word started to spread about the band and its album, and a year later they were signed by Immortal/Epic.

By 1999, Incubus began to move beyond its early musical inspirations, developing a unique funk-pop-rock sound with lyrical strength that helped move them onto the modern rock charts last summer with the disc "Make Yourself," which was spurred by the singles "Stellar" and "Drive."

"Morning View," which debuted in October at No. 2, is the band's fifth album. Powered by the tracks "Wish You Were Here," "Are You In?" and "Just a Phase," the album offers a wide range of sound -- from pop melody choruses to ear-ringing rock.

The band abandoned the recording studio, opting to make the album in a Malibu beach house.

"It defied every criticism from people at the record label and management. There were a lot of people who thought it was a recipe for disaster," said Einziger, 25. "But we wanted to create an ideal environment for us to write and record."

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