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Incubus Drummer Jose Pasillas Talks New ‘HQ’ Release, Linkin Park Tour, Possible Hiatus + More

Incubus Jose Pasillas
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

In 2011, Incubus celebrated their 20th anniversary as a band with a string of intimate shows for their fans. Fortunately for you, Incubus documented the entire thing. Now, a year later, the band is releasing video footage and audio of their six day celebration in downtown Los Angeles, dubbed ‘Incubus HQ Live.’

The unique experience can be consumed a few different ways. The first package drops on Aug. 14 and features one CD and one DVD of an abridged set list, while the special edition combo contains an additional CD with an expanded track list. Already available to fans is a limited edition box set with the complete performance. All the details, the full track listings and more are available at Incubus’ official – and completely revamped – website.

On the same day ‘Incubus HQ Live’ comes out, Incubus hits the road with Linkin Park as part of the 2012 Honda Civic Tour. In the midst of his busy schedule, Loudwire grabbed a few minutes with Incubus’ founding member and drummer Jose Pasillas. Pasillas talks about what’s in store for the band’s future, the current state of rock ‘n’ roll and even gives fans a glimpse into his upcoming personal art project.

‘Incubus HQ Live’ hits store shelves soon. What can fans expect from it?

Tons of music. Tons of video. We got probably over 100 shows that will be available. We recorded the release of our record ['If Not Now, When?'], which was sort of a whole week of events leading up to the day of the release. There will be a lot of footage from that, from the shows we played. We played a very little show in an intimate setting, and all of that was recorded. There are a lot of shows, a lot of audio, it’s just a really cool package.

It’s a busy time for you. Not only does ‘Incubus HQ Live’ drop, but you hit the road on the Honda Civic Tour with Linkin Park. What have you been doing to get ready for the shows?

Not too much, man. I’ve just been spending time at home with m family. I’ve actually only been home for about two weeks since we got back from our Europe run. During that time I’ve just really been decompressing with my family. But, I’m also playing drums every day. I’ve been working on technique and doing a lot of rudiment, snare things. I’m staying loose and just acclimating back to home.

This is the first tour you’ve done with Linkin Park. Are you excited to team up with them?

Yeah. You know, we’ve played one-offs with them, mostly festivals, so we definitely know the guys. They’re all super sweet guys. It’s just going to be a really cool match up for us. I’m looking forward to it. They’re just a great band.

Recently, [Incubus singer] Brandon Boyd said that Incubus might be headed for another lengthy break, similar to the break the band took between ‘Light Grenades’ and ‘If Not Now, When?’ Do you think a break is in your future?

Yeah, we’re sort of nearing the end of this record cycle. It’s been over a year now. We actually started touring a couple of months before the record, so it’s been a little more than a year touring. We’ll finish up this run in September and then take some time to figure out what to do next. No set plans thus far, we need to take time to figure it out.

If there is a break, it sounds like Brandon will work on a solo record. What will you do during that time?

I sort of do things as they come. Last time we were home, I recorded a bunch of music, played drums for this artist named Prashant Aswani. I did a couple of his records, one that just came out a couple of months ago called ‘Sonically Speaking’ and another one that should be released in the next few months or so called ‘Visions.’ I stay busy with that, you know, recording music at home. I’ve been drawing and painting all of my life, too, so I’ll be doing that. I’m sure at some point I’ll do a gallery or something. Right now, I’m working on a project called ‘The Art of Drums.’ It’s basically me playing drums in the dark with sticks that are lit. The photographers take shots of me with a really long shutter exposure, like 30-60 seconds, and it comes out really amazing and spectacular. I’m working on that right now. It will probably be released in November. More art, more music, more drums. It’s going to be great.

Incubus has been around for more than two decades, and you’ve been there every step of the way. During those years, we’ve seen bands come and go, some bands make it and others who don’t. What’s your opinion on the current state of rock music?

I think we’re kind of in a lull, and I think it’s been there for awhile. You know, we had such an amazing time for rock music in the early to mid-90s. Nothing has really matched that time yet and I don’t know if it will for a long time. In my opinion, the late 70s was the time before that. I haven’t really been too intrigued by too much rock music in the last few years. There was a Deftones record [Diamond Eyes] that was amazing, but I constantly find myself listening to older music. I know the Deftones are coming out with another record soon and I’m looking forward to that. But all in all, I think rock has been in a sort of lull.

Before I let you go, I’d love to hear about some of your influences as a musician.

You know, it’s pretty wide open. Stewart Copeland from the Police. Rush was one of my favorite bands and they are still one of my favorite bands ever. George Hurley played drums for Firehose, a punk band from San Pedro. Jon Fishman from Phish, John Bonham from Zeppelin. Buddy Rich is another one that I try to steal things from. There are a lot of different drummers out there that I try to take a little bit from.

It makes sense that your influences are so diverse. With each record, it seems like Incubus opens the doors to a variety of new sounds and rhythms, never getting complacent. I’m excited to check out ‘Incubus Live HQ’ and see you guys live with Linkin Park. Break a leg, brother!

I’m excited for everything coming up, man. Thank you!

Watch ‘Megalomaniac’ from ‘Incubus Live HQ’

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