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Sunday Old School: Infectious Grooves

Metal music has long experimented with other genres. We've seen metal make the short trip to mix with punk and hardcore and it's been known to flirt with more distanced genres such as reggae, electronic and rap music. One band who helped pioneer the hybrid of metal, punk and funk music was Venice Beach's own, Suicidal Tendencies, led by one of rock's most charismatic frontmen, Mike Muir. When the group recruited bass player Robert Trujillo, Muir appeared to have found a kindred musical spirit, who not only shared his love of funk, but brought it into the band's sound. This partnership was to expand beyond Suicidal Tendencies and cause a new band to emerge, who go by the suitable name of Infectious Grooves.

Muir and Trujillo began the band in 1989 and were joined in their endeavour by Jane's Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins and former Excel guitarist Adam Siegel. The group brought a very bizarre and silly humour to their music, which had previously been seen Suicidal Tendencies, though not to the same extent and invented a character called Sarsippius, a reptilian lover who appeared in skits on the band's albums. Their quest for a record deal was a relatively short one, signing with major label Epic, who also housed Suicidal Tendencies.

This deal led to the band's debut album, "The Plague That Makes Your Booty Move... It's the Infectious Grooves," being released in October 1991 and reached number six on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, as well as 198 on the Billboard albums chart. It was also met well by critics, who liked the party atmosphere the band were all about and praised the musicianship, while the album was boosted heavily by the guest appearance from Ozzy Osbourne on the single, "Therapy," as well another single, "Punk It Up," both of which received a good deal of airplay from MTV. Though the record feature other musicians such as guitarists Dave Kushner, Dean Pleasants, Phil Kettner and Rocky George (the latter of which was of course, another member of Suicidal Tendencies,) it was to be their only album featuring the original four members.

The band's next album, "Sarsippius' Ark," was recorded as a quintet, with Dean Pleasants on board as a full time second guitarist and a new drummer on board in Josh Freese, previously of The Vandals and Dweezil Zappa's band. Released in 1993, the album contained more skits from the titular character and featured covers David Bowie's, "Fame" and Led Zeppelin's, "Immigrant Song," and performed even better commercially, topping the Heatseekers chart and reaching 109 on the Billboard albums chart. Once again, two videos were made to promote the record in the guise of "These Freaks Are Here To Party" and "Three Headed Mind Pollution," but despite the success of the record, it was to be their last with Epic.

Instead, Infectious Grooves released their third album, "Groove Family Cyco," through 550 Music and included something of a diss to their former label on the song, "Do What I Tell Ya!" which was actually more of a criticism of Rage Against the Machine, who had sparked a feud with Suicidal Tendencies after guitarist Tom Morello began speaking negatively about the group in public, leading Muir to point out the irony in a supposedly anti corporate band preaching anti Capitalist values while signed to Epic, which is a subsidiary of Sony, a huge multinational corporation. The album itself however was a concept record as a whole, dealing with an imaginary family called the Cycos, featured considerably less tracks than previous albums, mostly due to the lack of skits and featured another new drummer, this time Bad4Good skinsman Brooks Wackerman, now a member of Avenged Sevenfold.

"Groove Family Cyco" did not receive the same commercial success as the previous two albums and save for a compilation appearances in 1997 and 1999, the band was to be more or less inactive until 2000, when they released a fourth album, "Mas Borracho" through Muir's own label, Suicidal. The record is the only full length from Infectious Grooves not to chart and produced no music videos, but it was nevertheless still very well received by both critics and fans.

Despite the praise, the band was put on hold indefinitely during which time Trujillo joined Metallica and Wackerman became a member of Bad Religion. Infectious Grooves did briefly return for a one month tour in 2008, but have been more or less inactive since, save for a few sporadic shows and the promise from Muir that the group are working on new material. Whether a fifth Infectious Grooves album ever materialises remains to be seen, but their stamp as one of the most individual and fun bands in metal, particularly at a time when it was being drowned out by grunge, can never be taken away.

Infectious Grooves - "Punk It Up"

Infectious Grooves - "Therapy"

Infectious Grooves - "These Freaks Are Here To Party"

Infectious Grooves - "Three Headed Mind Pollution"

Infectious Grooves - "Violent and Funky"

Infectious Grooves - "Cousin Randy"

Infectious Grooves - "Fill You Up"

Infectious Grooves - "Please Excuse This Funk Up"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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2 Comments on "Sunday Old School: Infectious Grooves"

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Anonymous Reader
1. I'm not Jesus Christ writes:

I remember these guys!

# Apr 6, 2016 @ 9:53 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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2. KREDD writes:

Loved loved loved their first album. Trujillo is a monster.

# Apr 6, 2016 @ 11:00 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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