Tal Wilkenfeld to play bass for Incubus as Ben Kenney recovers from brain surgery

Tal Wilkenfeld and Incubus's Ben Kenney perform live
(Image credit: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Across the Great Divide / Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Australian bass wunderkind Tal Wilkenfeld has been drafted in to handle bass duties for alt-rock titans Incubus, as long-serving bassist Ben Kenney recovers from brain surgery.

The news was confirmed by the band in a post to social media.

“Our Incubus brother and bandmate, Ben Kenney, is currently recovering from a recent medical procedure and will be unable to perform with us on our upcoming run at the end of the month,” the post reads.

“In his absence, our good friend, Tal Wilkenfeld, will be filling in for him on bass and we look forward to performing with her on these shows! We wish Ben a speedy recovery and can’t wait for him to rejoin us onstage soon!”

Wilkenfeld’s stint with the band will kick off at Costa Rica’s Picnic Festival on January 28, and continue through a run of subsequent dates in Texas and New Orleans.

“Honored to have been asked to perform with Incubus to fill in for my awesome friend Ben Kenney on their upcoming tour,” Wilkenfeld wrote in her own post, accompanied by shots with the rest of the band.

Sharing more details on the procedure that has forced him to miss out on the upcoming shows, Kenney posted, “Unfortunately last year I found out I had a brain tumor. As soon as I got home from tour I had a successful operation to have it removed. This year I am taking some time away from touring & social media to recover.

“My friend @talmeastory is taking over the bass with @incubusofficial while I’m away. I won’t physically be at the shows but I will be there in spirit. I miss you all and I hope you and your loved ones are safe and in good health.”

Wilkenfeld grew up listening to Incubus – she admitted “the 14-year-old Incubus super-fan me is shitting her pants” when guitarist Mike Einziger joined her for a virtual jam in May 2020 – and her 2019 alt-rock solo album, Love Remains, certainly bears their influence.

A prolific session bassist from a young age, Wilkenfeld has worked with the likes of Prince, Herbie Hancock and Steve Lukather, but she’s perhaps best known for handling the low-end for the late Jeff Beck.

Earlier this month, she paid tribute to Beck, saying, “We’ve lost our favorite guitarist, and one of the most intelligent, intuitive people I’ve ever met.”

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.