Written by Cat Fitzpatrick, Music Editor and Contributor.
Calabasas, California–Rock musician and composer Mike Einziger of alternative rock band Incubus famously took a break from the band in 2008 to attended Harvard University, making fans have to wait five years for a new Incubus record to be released.
Now, four years after their latest full-length album release following his Harvard graduation, with still no apparent plans for the release of another full-length album and only the failed promise to release side B of their 2015, meager 4-song EP Trust Fall, Einziger has abruptly told fans that he plans to attend graduate school in the fall. “I know we’ve been extensively touring since the release of If Not Now, When?, and we said we were going to release side B of Trust Fall but haven’t yet,” said Einziger, adding, “…but I don’t know, I didn’t think I’d be accepted to the graduate program [at Harvard], and it’s kind of one of my dreams, you know?”
While Einziger had apparently made a unilateral decision to attend Harvard’s graduate program, tweeting “Got into Harvard for my PhD. F ya!” before bringing it up to his band, fellow band members Brandon Boyd, José Pasillas, Ben Kenney, and Chris Killmore have reportedly tried to stay supportive of Einzinger’s decision. “We were supportive of Mike when he said he wanted to put the band on hold to go to college, and we’ll support his decision now,” said lead singer Brandon Boyd, who was visibly tearing up.
Einziger, who was accepted to the graduate music program of his alma mater, plans to earn a PhD in orchestral studies. He told reporters, “You know, as a ’90s rock band we have come along way. We’ve gone to great lengths to make records that our fans hate due to fierce minimalism or purposeful pretentiousness.” He added, “I’m not a munchies-starved teenage stoner anymore. I am not high on mushrooms trying to lay down some righteously funky beats,” clarifying, “Well, at least not all of the time. I want to be taken seriously, adorned by my students.”
Incubus’s first hiatus, which was due to Einziger’s unilateral decision to go college, caused fans and band members alike a five year stretch between Incubus’s 2006 release Light Grenades and their 2011 release If Not Now, When? Einziger is asking himself a similar question to the latter album’s title, this time entering graduate school for a reported “seven year stretch, conservatively.” Only fans will have to wait much longer for a new Incubus album as, since their 2011 record, they have only released a meager 4-song EP, failing to live up to their promise to release its second half, and have made no plans to record a longer release due to extensive touring.
“It just kind of sucks,” said fellow touring musician Dexter Holland of The Offspring, who is a longtime friend and fan of Einziger’s and Incubus. “Mike did this before, and we had to wait five years for a new Incubus record. But now, it’ll be seven years, at best, until he’s finished his PhD, and then? Who knows, maybe he’ll want to publish and earn tenure after that. How long will that take?” Holland, an academic himself, having graduated as valedictorian of his high school in 1984, earned a BS in biology and a MS in molecular biology from the University of Southern California, and began work on a PhD in molecular biology at USC, quit his PhD to pursue music while he was still young. As of 2013, Holland has continued his doctoral work at USC.
On speaking about Einziger’s academic pursuits, Holland spoke harshly: “I really wish he’d just choose one or the other and stick with it, or, like me, do both, but not be so flaky about either one of them.” He added, “I mean, for Christ’s sake, I’m a medical researcher at Keck School of Medicine, and I’m releasing a new Offspring album in 2016!” Holland was visibly upset.
Einziger hasn’t confirmed or denied plans to follow his doctoral pursuits. If he were to pursue a tenure-track position, fans might have to wait as long over a decade for a new Incubus release.