Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd prides himself on many things; his music and creativity are just two of them.
He says his music is the result of a life-long artistic calling.
“I have been certain since I was a child that I was going to be an artist,” the 33-year-old musician explained. “I didn’t have aspirations of being a doctor or a lawyer or a professional athlete, other than I thought for a hot second, when I was a teenager, that I wanted to be a professional surfer.”
Sadly, a career in surfing was not in the cards.
“I realized very quickly that I wasn’t good enough,” Boyd laughed.
His fall-back, art, saw him explore and enjoy its many forms, he said writing, rehearsing, recording and performing music soon became his clear favorites.
He and two similarly obsessed and talented friends, Mike Einziger and Jose Pasillas, started the high school band that has evolved into the multi-platinum selling and Grammy Award-nominated group Incubus.
Former Roots bassist Ben Kenney and DJ Chris Kilmore round out the group’s current line-up.
For Boyd and his bandmates, creativity is addictive.
“It almost acts like a drug that is good for you,” he said.
Meanwhile, the resulting buzz – the self-inducing, self-sustaining, creative thrill that is art – makes it the number one drug of choice on the Incubus tour.
The bands’ tour busses are set to roll into the docks at the Hard Rock Hotel today as the group gets ready to visit The Joint tonight.
Incubus is currently touring in support of their new greatest hits compilation, Monuments and Melodies, which was released last month. Meanwhile, a new studio album is said to be in the works, too, and is expected to hit record store shelves next year.
Though Boyd admits it’s not always easy, he says he and his bandmates try to find and foster the artistic juices even while on the road.
In fact, the frontman expects much of the material for the upcoming record to be created or at least inspired on the bus while the band tours together this summer.
“If I’m not writing music, I’ll be reading or observing or drawing or painting or something and it’s allowed me to stay in that creative sphere,” Boyd said when asked about how he keeps the creativity coming while in the relatively uninspiring confines of a tour bus.
He admits it’s not always easy.
“Being on tour is fun and it is very creative but … you’re doing a lot of work and planning and a lot of emotional acrobatics to facilitate two hours a night,” he said.
“There are these periods of time where there will be, like, 48 hours where you have no responsibilities and you don’t know where anything is around you because you’ve never been to this place before and your brain just starts to wonder,” he said. “You can really see where people could get lost in drugs or other sort of obsessive behaviors.”
Still, he said he and his fellow Incubus musicians have for the most part managed to avoid the darker shades of on-the-road temptation.
“I think what we’ve done a pretty good job of using those times,” he said.
While touring can be stifling in several ways, the ever-so-optimistic vocalist said he tries to see the positives as he criss-crosses the globe.
“It can also be very inspiring, too,” he said.
Boyd thinks of the scattered scenes he and his bandmates see while on tour as “brushstrokes of life that aren’t your own.”
The result, he says, is a colorful, though staccato blur.
"Your mind just ends up taking random snapshots of the world as opposed to making a movie at each place,” he said. “It’s a strange way to see the world, but it’s a way – and I’ll definitely take a way as opposed to no way.”
Ironically, a colorful blur is all that he can remember of the last time he visited Las Vegas.
“The last time I was in town … I actually don’t remember when it was,” he admitted with a laugh.
After a brief pause, he clarified his account: The trip was not a concert stop; it was to attend a party that a friend of his from L.A. was organizing,
“I do remember, the last time I was there,” he began, “ … I had a really good time.”
“I left and I was like, that was really fun … I didn’t lose any appendages or too much money,” he laughed.
Boyd paused for an instant, as if to allow clearer memories to emerge from the depths of his mind.
“That was fun, yeah,” he concluded.
Despite his apparent mild case of party-induced amnesia, Boyd smiled as he recalled his last, very foggy foray to our city.
His grin was audible as he spoke over the phone from him home in Los Angeles.
Now older and presumably wiser, the articulate and artistically insatiable musician hopes to remember more of this weekend’s visit after it’s all over.
Still, he admits he has mixed feelings about our fair city.
"When I’m there, it’s, like, really fun for me for he first, like, 20 hours,” he said, “And then there’s a part of me that goes, ‘get me out of here!’”
Still, Boyd said he sees diamonds in the desert rough: “That’s kind of inspiring in and of itself, too.”
Incubus plays The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel at 8 p.m. tonight. British rockers The Duke Spirit will open for the Californian five-piece and tickets for the all-ages show are still available at Ticketmaster and The Joint box office.