Occasionally, a lead singer turns the art of performing into more than a narcissistic exercise offering a reflective or pensive viewpoint. As an author of two books, a painter and songwriter, Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd would fit that description. Even his tattoos feature Buddhist or Tibetan themes.
Boyd, who grew up in a musical family, graduated from Calabasas High School with future Incubus bandmates; lead guitarist Michael Einziger and drummer Josť Pasillas. He attended Moorpark College for two years before committing to Incubus. Early in the band's career Boyd was responsible for creating their concert fliers advertising shows. He used a sex-ed book for inspiration.
Well after Incubus was established Boyd wrote and published two works. White Fluffy Clouds: Found Inspiration Moving Forward, on bookshelves in '03, consisted of his artwork, photography and song lyrics from Incubus. It was sold at a discount at Incubus concerts.
Four years later, From the Murks Of The Sultry Abyss, which contained 42 journal entries and 225 full color images was available. Also an accomplished painter, Boyd had an L.A. gallery showing in '08.
It was Boyd's vocals that enticed Epic/Immortal Records to sign Incubus in '96. Good call. The group sold million of CDs over the span of seven albums - from "Enjoy Incubus" to "If Not Now, When."
When the band was on a break, between the release of the greatest hits package, "Monuments And Melodies" and '11's "If Not Now, When," Boyd took his acoustic guitar and wrote songs for his '10 debut solo album "The Wild Trapeze," containing the single "Runaway Train."
He described the album as "a guy in room surrounded by toys who has an undying enthusiasm for finding out what each toy does, and has been given full license to make as much noise as he pleases." The album was released digitally in July and sold 11,000 copies on iTunes in its first week of release to land at #33 on the Billboard album chart.
2010 The Wild Trapeze
It's the worst when a frontman releases a solo album that sounds like a pale replica of his popular band (singers in unpopular bands don't usually get to do solo albums). Almost as bad is when the solo album is little more than a laidback exercise in shoe gazing. "The Wild Trapeze" is neither and remains a healthy distance from anything recognizably Incubus. Boyd should be given points just for that.
On "The Wild Trapeze" Boyd comes across as an acoustic leaning Prog Rocker. He displays Eastern influences but it doesn't become overpowering or distracting. Rather they are thoughtful embellishments to songs that are more than structure and style.
The title cut, "Here Comes Everyone" (which sounds vaguely like "1979" - the Smashing Pumpkins song, not the year), "Dance While The Devil Sleeps" "Runaway Train" and "All Ears Avow!" are the impact tracks.
Also see Incubus.