Who's the mystery yearbook kid with the stare that's somewhere between intense and vacant? He must have enjoyed that bemused look; he's used it many times as an adult and as the singer in several different indie bands over the years.

He was born in California and first gained attention as the vocalist for an alt-metal band based in San Francisco that had lost its original singer. After he joined the group on their third album, they suddenly found themselves with a hit. Their two previous albums with their original singer didn't even chart; their first album with our mystery kid just missed the Top 10. And their first single with him made Top 10 pop and No. 2 on the modern-rock chart. His distinct style -- which includes everything from metal howls to operatic singing to fierce rapping -- helped break the band.

Before splitting up at the end of the '90s, the band released three more albums. One of them reached the Top 10. But our mystery kid has stayed busy, performing with his original group -- an experimental rock band that continued even while he was selling millions with his other one -- and various other projects that range from off-the-wall avant-garde to primitive hardcore to just plain weird. Over the past few years, he's added "soundtrack composer" to his list of achievements.

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