Incubus became one of the most popular alt-metal bands of the new millennium, setting themselves apart from a crowded field with a tireless touring ethic and a broad musical palette. Formed in 1991 in the San Fernando Valley suburb of Calabasas, California, the band's early lineup was comprised of tenth-grade classmates Brandon Boyd (vocals, percussion), Mike Einziger (guitar), Alex Katunich (aka Dirk Lance; bass), and José Pasillas (drums). Their early funk-metal sound was heavily influenced by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but broadened over the next few years to incorporate thrash, rap-metal, post-grunge rock, and grinding alt-metal à la Korn or the Deftones. By the time the musicians had graduated from high school, they had already been playing all-ages shows around Southern California on a regular basis. In 1995, Incubus added hip-hop turntablist DJ Lyfe (aka Gavin Koppel) to their lineup and recorded the independently released album Fungus Amongus. That, coupled with a strong local following, helped the band earn a deal with the Epic Records subsidiary Immortal.

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