Last month, Epic senior VP of promotion Jacqueline Saturn was poring over airplay reports from Nielsen BDS when she noticed something strange. Apparently, KROQ Los Angeles had given eight spins to the Incubus song "Love Hurts," from an album that was nearing 2 years of age.
Epic worked three singles from 2006's "Light Grenades," all of them top 10 modern rock hits: "Anna-Molly" (No. 1), "Dig" (No. 4) and "Oil and Water" (No. 8). But with Incubus off the road, the album had lain mostly dormant for months.
"I remember eyeballing the report like, 'That's weird!' But I didn't really think about it," Saturn says. Then the e-mails started flooding in. "People were wondering if this was from a new Incubus record," she recalls.
Rather, "Love Hurts" was simply identified by KROQ PD Kevin Weatherly and his staff as a track they thought their audience would enjoy, and quickly after they began spinning it, several other modern rock stations jumped onboard nationwide as Epic sprung into duty.
The song is now a bona fide hit: "Love Hurts" rockets 16-8 this week on Billboard's Modern Rock chart with the most airplay ads of any song there, notching Incubus' 13th straight top 20 hit at the format. That's tied with Foo Fighters for the longest current streak and is the third-longest in the chart's history.
"'Love Hurts' was always a song we thought could be a hit, but we pounded those earlier singles and we needed a break," KROQ music director Lisa Worden says. "A couple months ago in one of those brutal music meetings, we brought 'Love Hurts' back and by far it was the best song we heard. We're like, 'We don't care that it's old. We're putting it on,' and the song immediately started reacting."
Incubus briefly surfaced in July to play at a VH1 tribute to the Who, but for now there isn't any band activity in the offing. Guitarist Mike Einziger is preparing to start a music composition degree at Harvard, while bassist Ben Kenney recently released a self-titled solo album and has been touring.
"I'm of the mind to say it wouldn't be a bad thing to disappear for a year or two years," frontman Brandon Boyd told Billboard this summer. "A lot of people would say culture moves too fast and you need to remind people, but I would argue there's not any rush. Maybe there will be a sex scandal or an arrest or something to keep us in the news." Luckily, "Love Hurts" is doing the trick quite nicely.