Vocalist Brandon Boyd and drummer Jose Pasillas went to elementary school together. In 1990, when in 8th grade at A.E. Wright Middle School, Jose met guitarist Mike Einziger, who spent most of his time playing guitar in his bedroom. Later, while attending Calabasas High, the pair became friends with bassist Alex Katunich, who had just been kicked out of Jazz Band at the time for not knowing how to read music. The trio decided to jam a bit, simply for the love of music. At first they mainly played Metallica and Megadeth cover songs, which Jose was not too interested in, but played nevertheless. These covers helped them land a few party gigs, and the three became the "entertainment for the neighborhood".
A few months later the trio came across Brandon's vocal abilities, and they decided to form a band, and gave up playing cover songs, in order to write their own. The band's first song, "Love Sick", sounded like an incubus track, but it was totally stripped down, yet had elements of funk and thrash in it. Other songs written in this time period were: "Purple Kool-Aid", "Sylvester Polyester", "My Soul (The Underground)", and "The Milkman Song". Also in 1991, the group began playing parties, their first for a friend named Kristen. The group did not yet have a name, and they had to come up with one quickly. Brandon stated "It has to be gnarly." His suggestion, 'Spiral Staircase'. Another idea was 'Chimera', and Alex suggested, 'Chunk-O-Funk'. Mike however got out a thesaurus, and found the word 'Incubus', and read the definition. The rest of the members thought it was a cool sounding word, and "it had sex in the definition, alright, that's great, lets use it." The show was a disaster according to the members; At one point Jose got off the drums, and tried to run around them during a break in the song, but he ran into the drum set and knocked it over.
During the next few years the band was continuing to write, and some of the titles included: "Damnation?" and "Miss Bliss". On top of writing original material, the band was taking any opportunity to play that was thrown their way, including a lunch-time show at their high school. Soon after the band began playing party gigs, all-age clubs in the San Fernando Valley, and at the Roxy on the Sunset Strip. Their first gig at the Roxy only happened thanks to a hundred dollar bill Mike found on the ground. Brandon has been said to have drawn one flier for the show with a trippy mushroom and a naked woman, however most of the early fliers originated from a sex-education book Mike's mother gave him. They would take the very depicting pictures from the book and incorporate them into Brandon's artwork. They eventually started to receive complaints, and kids would see the fliers and ask "What kind of band are you?" So the band had to retreat back to using their own artwork.
With members Brandon and Jose attending Moorpark Community College, Mike decided to try out for a small named artist's band, Alanis Morissette. The outcome proved to be for the best, and Incubus found time in their schedules to write, record, and perform shows in 1994. This marking their first demo tape release, called: "Closet Cultivation".
Incubus had been recording their demos with a tape recorder in the middle of the room, or by using a 4-Track Cassette recorder. Until Mark Shoffner, a tour manager, approached them with an offer to record in his friends studio, no strings -- or contracts -- attached. So on January 7th, 1995, the band released the demo tape "Incubus". Almost ten months later, after recording with Jim Wirt in Santa Monica, California, Incubus released their first full length album, on their own label, called: Stopuglynailfungus Music on Chillum. The release took place on November 1st, 1995, and was called "Fungus Amongus".
Then DJ Lyfe saw Incubus play live and asked if the band would be interested in using some of his hip-hop tracks. The band members were skeptical at first, but Lyfe joined full-time after one rehearsal. Incubus' unusual amalgamation of styles and high-energy shows, combined with its growing fan base, turned label heads and put the band in the enviable position of a bidding war. Immortal Records emerged the winner by understanding that Incubus is a touring live band, not an out-of-the-box, hit-single sensation, and intent on building its following from the ground up. They signed on the dotted line soon after.