Infectious Grooves Reunion Leads Off Robert Trujillo's Breakneck Orion Fest

As if playing in three bands and curating one of the sideshows isn't enough, this year's Orion Music + More festival may give Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo a little more work on his plate in the future. 

The second edition of the event -- taking place Saturday and Sunday on Belle Isle Park [June 8-9] in Detroit -- will feature a reunion performance by Infectious Grooves, the funk-metal all-star group Trujillo and former Suicidal Tendencies bandmate Mike Muir started in 1989 and which is still together but largely dormant. They'll be joined by original guitarist Dean Pleasants and drummer Stephen Perkins of Jane's Addiction, while Faith No More's Jim Martin is stepping in for retired guitarist Adam Siegel. And Trujillo holds out the possibility that there could be more Grooves in the future for the lineup.

"I'd love potentially for there to be at least an L.A. show, 'cause that's where we started," Trujillo tells Billboard. "It always seemed like we had a strong fan base on the West Coast, and the other spot where the band was ridiculously popular, believe it or not, was in France. I always think of it like this; if there's a demand, we'll find a way to do it. And it seems like at least the band is going to be rehearsed and ready to go. We had a rehearsal and it sounded awesome. So as long as it doesn't take away from Metallica or anyone else's other priority bands, anything's possible."

Trujillo says he broached the idea of the Infectious Grooves performance -- which will take place Saturday evening -- with Muir after last year's inaugural Orion fest in Atlantic City, when the bassist joined Suicidal Tendencies to play a few Infectious Grooves songs. Muir was initially non-committal since Suicidal Tendencies released a new album, "13," this year and was touring to support it, but Trujillo says that "all of a sudden I started hearing through the grapevine that Infectious Grooves was playing this year's Orion. Everybody knew but me! I waited to talk to Mike Muir, and he eventually sent me an e-mail that said, 'Yeah, we want to do this.' So it's on, and we're really looking forward to this."

So are Trujillo's Metallica bandmates. "I'm very stoked about that," says James Hetfield. "Even just having Suicidal last (year), seeing those guys, (Trujillo) and Mike Muir together again, they're quite an intimidating team to me. When Suicidal toured with us a ways back, there's no way I would've thought that bass player was going to be in our band one day 'cause he looked like such a part of that band. So I'm extremely grateful he's in our band."

Trujillo will, of course, be playing with Metallica on Sunday (which is expected to focus on rarities rather than full albums like the group's 2012 Orion sets) as well as overseeing the Vans Damage Inc. Stage and Vert Ramp on the festival site, where extreme skateboarders will show off their best stunts. That includes Tony Trujillo (no relation), who will again perform with his wife, Ashley Trujillo and Metallica's Trujillo as the Trujillo Trio on the Damage Inc. stage.

"(Orion) is really a lifestyle event for us, but somehow in the mix I've got more lifestyle I'm involved in," Robert Trujillo says with a laugh. "It's a lot of work, but it's very rewarding. It's all about the experience and having a good time and connecting with the fans. We really don't even see each other unless it's in passing or in the dressing room, by luck. I remember Lars (Ulrich) was making himself a sandwich and I just happened to be back there doing the same thing. But otherwise we didn't even see each other until we were on stage." 

Don't, by the way, expect to see Trujillo on the Vert Ramp at Orion. "No, that I will not do," he says with a laugh. "At one point I thought maybe I would have to do that, but then last year when I saw firsthand what these pro skaters are actually doing, I thought, 'I'm gonna save myself the embarrassment and let the professionals handle the big drops and he big airs. I'll just stick to doing tic-tacs and 360s and little tall slides on the ground, and that's about it."