Incubus – “Rogues”

When: January 2012
Where: Northbound M20 on San Gabriel Boulevard
Who: Assorted students
Weather: cold, clear

It was an unusually cold winter in Pasadena. Citrus crops were ruined, pipes burst, lawns turned white, and in an unprecedented act, I wore a jacket over my sweatshirt. This was the last time anyone cared about Incubus.

My favorite teacher, Mr. Montes, had just left Bosco, and his replacement…well, he wasn’t worthy. He was a cholo reasearching the role of Mexican-Americans in World War II, and the actual teaching was somewhat secondary. At one point he seemed to support executing the mentally ill.

For the most part he showed us movies, including Blade Runner, which was my first experience of the film, and I didn’t initially like it. Listening to this album initially put me in mind of the soundtrack to that film, but that wore off and I got some good mileage out of the album.

I was done with Incubus, it was time for something new. I yearned for a more adventurous life, and I was soon to get one.

Next: “Are they Argentines or Argentinians?”

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Incubus – “Anna Molly”

When: November 2006
Where: Eastbound on Foothill Boulevard
Who: My mother
Weather: foggy

When Steven Hyden of the AV Club praised Stone Temple Pilots after years of ridicule, I breathed a sigh of relief. Even if some of the smartest guys in the room didn’t love the things I liked, there was a good chance history would vindicate me. I’d now like to take that tactic with another band that doesn’t get any respect: Incubus. Particularly, their ambitious-but-troubled sixth album Light Grenades.

Light Grenades gets a lot of shit for “Love Hurts,” and while it does have quite a few duds, the good is so good. It opens with some ass-kicking Blade-Runner soundtrack stuff and goes into full-on concept album mode, and many of the songs that were played on the radio are better in this context. Even if it isn’t the best thing in the world, Boyd and company deserve credit for trying, because otherwise we’d just have Nickelback and Ke$ha.

Next: My first cadaver

Incubus – “Drive”

When: 21 June 2001
Where: Don Benito School, lower field, under the southernmost liquid amber tree.
Who: several classmates
Weather: Hot, dry

The day before our graduation (which we were strongly advised to call a “promotion” in the last gasp of post-Soviet political correctness) was a big softball game and picnic for all the kids who were moving on. I did my part, and brought along my boombox and an enormous bottle of cherry 7-up. It was at this point that I gave up on my lingering germophobia and shared it, as I’d forgotten to bring cups.

We hung out. I spent some time watching the game, playing Marc Anthony for one of the teachers, until “Drive” came on. It was such a good song, I thought, why couldn’t anybody tell me who brought the CD? The day came to an end, graduation came and went, and I later discovered it was mine all along. I’d never heard it before.

The definite article

Next: Graduation loses its gravitas, thanks to Lil’ Romeo.