As a kid, Mike Einziger wanted to be normal. He spent every waking hour in his bedroom with a guitar in hand, learning the instruments’ boundaries and capabilities. As any Incubus fan is well aware, that rabid obsession is a gift that made Einziger one of the most inventive, technically-skilled guitarists of all time. Known for his complex, massive-sounding style, Einziger drew from predecessors like Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Vai and John McLaughlin.

His impressive career started when he formed a band with high school classmates Brandon Boyd, Jose Pasillas II, and Alex Katunich. Six studio albums, numerous iconic songs like “Drive,” multi-platinum records and performances all over the world made Incubus one of the most genre-defining rock bands of the ‘90s. While in the band, Einziger released a handful of solo projects and developed relationships with collaborators as diverse as The Neptunes, the creators of Halo 2, Tyler, the Creator, Avicii and The Internet.

We had the honor of sitting down with Einziger to get his firsthand account of the sounds, history and breakthrough moments that inspired his love for music and the songs that made him legendary. 

Watch the first episode of the latest COMPLEX series Guitar Legends, featuring Mike Einziger above.