Incubus is a weird band for me. I like them but sometimes they bore me. But when I like them, I really really like them. Like adore, boarding on obsessively love them.
Back in 1999 when “Make Yourself” came out I was dating a guy who lived in Huntington Beach. I lived in Bakersfield. This brought a great many drives into my life. One night as I was headed to Huntington Beach to see him, a freeway off ramp on the 405 caught fire. Any of you who have ever lived in Los Angeles understand that a freeway off ramp on fire on the 405 is like mother effing Godzilla storming New York City. You might as well go “Falling Down,” style, leave your car on the freeway and just get a bat.
What is normally a 4 1/2 drive turned into an almost 12 hour ordeal. During that 12 hours of sitting on the freeway, being on the radio down in LA as a freeway reporter (no joke, I knew a guy) and rolling down my windows to talk to other motorists and really really wishing Domino’s would bring me a pizza to that exit on Howard Hughes Parkway, I heard “Drive” by Incubus for the first time. And the second time. And possibly the 3rd time I sat on this goddamn freeway so long. Point being I can’t ever listen to Incubus without thinking of that trip and how excited I was just to be getting off the bloody freeway that I sort of forgot the reason I was going there in the first place.
The other day I got a copy of “The Essential Incubus” in the mail and I had resisted opening it. Frankly, when you play a band 400 times a week you sort of lose sight of what made you like them. Or what they represent to you. Incubus is a band that I “discovered,” when I was in college and wanted to play so badly on the radio station I was working at. Eventually we did. Eventually I saw them about 8 times. Eventually they became one of the only main stream bands to speak out against George W Bush and all of the “everything is a terrorist” back in 2001. Eventually they would in some way be linked to every person I loved between 99 and 2010. They were omnipresent in my life, for better or worse, there was Brandon Boyd and his good smelling self and Koi tattoo all up in my life’s soundtrack hanging out.
I opened the cd today. I listened to it at work. And it really does still make me miss some people in my life that I don’t see anymore. That I love/loved. Not even in a romantic way. But I hear certain songs and I think of kicking a fax machine on a really important day. Or a funny faux Australian accent. Or watching Incubus live in Bakersfield with some friend’s coat around my shoulders. Or the countless drives to Los Angeles I made in my 20’s. I think of my biggest love of my life, Southern California and I wonder how things are going and why it’s easier to tell any and everyone that I love them here than in person.
In other words if you like Incubus, you should get this damn CD.