Incubus' Brandon Boyd Says Late 90s Heavy Music Was "Dominated by Mindlessness" | Revolver

Incubus' Brandon Boyd Says Late 90s Heavy Music Was "Dominated by Mindlessness"

Singer says nu-metal era his band came up in lacked substance
Brandon Boyd Incubus 2022 Getty 1600x900, Javier Bragado/WireImage
Incubus' Brandon Boyd
photograph by Javier Bragado/WireImage

There's no question that in the late Nineties, Incubus' music was part of the nu-metal/alt-metal wave that had overtaken heavy music. By the early 2000s, Brandon Boyd and Co.'s sound shifted into more melodic, alt-rock territory, but albums like 1997's S.C.I.E.N.C.E. and 1999's Make Yourself were definitely part of the nu-metal milieu.

However, in a new interview with Kerrang!, Boyd revealed that he looks back on that era of popular heavy music with a less-than-positive opinion. In fact, the frontman said that "there was largely a lack of substance" among Incubus' group of peer bands.

"Once things picked up with S.C.I.E.N.C.E, we started getting much bigger touring opportunities," Boyd said. "We started to do festivals and play with much bigger bands. It was interesting to witness what was working for them and what wasn't. It was also a period of time in music that was dominated by a kind of mindlessness.

"This is just my opinion, but there was largely a lack of substance going into popular heavy music. It was more heavy for heavy's sake. I thought that was a missed opportunity. To me, there was an opportunity to use the power of a loud guitar and dynamic drumming to convey some larger messages."

This line of thinking isn't particularly surprising coming from Boyd. Most of his music from the early 2000s onward dropped the kooky metallic elements of his band's first few records, and when he was recently asked to rank all of Incubus' albums, he didn't shy away from placing their 1995 debut, Fungus Amongus, and S.C.I.E.N.C.E at the bottom of the list.

"When I hear S.C.I.E.N.C.E. I laugh as much as I cringe," Boyd told Metal Hammer. "There are some pretty sophisticated things on there for such young kids, but I still feel my palms sweat when I listen to it."