Brandon Boyd Talks Sons of the Sea, Incubus and Phish
So many of our readers know you as the lead vocalist for Incubus, but they also know you as a pretty big Phish fan. A past quote of yours was even used in one of our recent 30th anniversary Phish retrospective pieces. What does that band mean to you, and how have they influenced you musically?
Well, Phish was one of the first bands that I kind of became obsessed with, in a live sense. I’ve seen them probably a dozen times. They were the first band that I would travel to go see as a teenager. I didn’t have any money or anything, but I would scrape together enough gas money to, with a couple of friends, to go see shows out of state or up north in California. They were, I don’t know, they were the first time I really started to pay steeper attention to the dynamics of musicality and what was possible as far as musicianship was concerned, which is kind of odd for me because I find sometimes that I’m not a great musician. I’m more of a writer and a singer, but I’ve always admired their ability to keep humor involved in their music and their sort of courage to be absurd at times. I’m also a fan of absurdity, you know? The music that I write often seems to have a sort of serious bent, but I like to sort of keep my sense of humor intact. Also the guys in Incubus, Michael (Einziger) and Jose (Pasillas) in particular, they were the guys that I would go see Phish with. We would go watch a show and laugh and dance and have great nights together and be inspired to come back and write songs. We never wanted to be Phish necessarily because I think we were appreciating them for what they were. We wanted to be what we were going to be, but we didn’t really know what that was, so we would just sort of write these songs, and they came out a lot more kind of heavy sounding. You wouldn’t know we were listening to Phish, but we were also listening to Primus and all these different other bands that we were kind of obsessed with around that time. But it goes without saying I’m definitely a big fan of that band. I miss them, actually. I really liked to see them growing up.
Do you have any plans to catch them in the summer, perhaps?
If I can, I absolutely will. I would love to.
Well in honor of their 30th anniversary, we’ve been asking a lot of people what their favorite Phish show of all time was. Do you have an answer to that question?
My favorite one Phish show. I saw them once at an event called Laguna Seca Daze, which was in Monterey, California, and Primus’ side project called Sausage, as well as a band called Four Non-Blondes. So I drove with Mike from Incubus as well as my girlfriend at the time. We drove out in my really shitty VW Bus that I had when I was 17, and it broke down about 4 hours out of L.A.. We got sidetracked for a minute, and then went back to LA, got in my girlfriend’s car, and then drove all the way back up and caught the show. It was even more fun because we almost didn’t make it. One of those situations. That one was always very memorable to me.
So now that you guys are on hiatus, what does it look like the future has in store for Incubus?
The future is bright. We recently did some shows in South America. We were reminded of how much love and support there is around the world for our band, and it was one of the more memorable tours we’ve ever done. The audiences down there are so beautiful, so responsive, so enthusiastic that I think that, when the time is right and we do decide to come back together, to make another record or go on another tour or something, we’re going to so with as much enthusiasm, as much excitement at heart as possible. It was really a great sort of recharge for us, to go out and do that. I don’t know when that’s going to happen, but we will definitely be there flying the flag very high.
What can we expect for these Sons of the Sea shows. Are there any surprises planned? What do you have in store for us?
What we plan on doing is, well the plan is to not suck. My intention is to play material from my first solo record, The Wild Trapeze, as well as material from the new Sons of the Sea records. There isn’t so much to draw on at this point. I’m used to drawing from like 8 or 9 records with Incubus, so it’ll be different. And I’m really excited about it. I’m also quite nervous about it, but I think that’s good. I think it’s good to be nervous about something. I just hope that people come out and enjoy it and are there with sort of open minds, and I think that’s going to be the case. I’ve always been very blessed over the years to have an audience that is really willing to stretch, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.