Behind the Band Name: Incubus

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Moody alt-metalheads, Incubus, were pioneers of a unique sound, blending aspects of metal and alt-rock with touches of hip-hop, jazz, and funk. With their music, they managed to set themselves apart in the late ’90s and into the new millennium during a time when rock was a homogenized slop of alt- this and nu- that. A snazzy band name definitely didn’t hurt either.

Behind the Name

Incubus was formed by high school friends, Brandon Boyd, Mike Einziger, and José Pasillas, in 1991. The present line-up still consists of the trio with the addition of Chris Kilmore and Ben Kenney.

At its inception, the members didn’t give the band a name and it existed that way for some time. It wasn’t until their first gig was fast approaching that the group was forced to figure out what they would be called. The story goes the band had only hours to come up with something.

In the interview below, Boyd and Einziger recall the moment with the latter saying they chose Incubus because “it’s a silly sounding word.” Boyd chimed in, “And we were 15 and we had to think of a name quickly because we had to play at a party in someone’s backyard”

A few nonsense names were thrown around in conversion, Spiral Staircase, and Chunk O Funk, but none really cut it. It wasn’t until Einziger pulled out a thesaurus and chose, at random, the word Incubus.

So What Exactly is an Incubus?

An incubus exists within mythology. It is a demon that comes in the night, seducing women in their dreams and having sex with them while they sleep. Some lore claims that interaction with an incubus can result in the birth of witches and other demons.

In the above video, the two discuss the meaning as it relates to their band name. They explain, as teenagers anything with references to sex seemed pretty cool.

Photo by KMazur/WireImage

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