25 Years Ago: The Infectious Grooves Become Funk-Metal’s First Supergroup
In October of 1991, an unknown band calling themselves the Infectious Grooves arrived like a breath of fresh air with a debut album called The Plague That Makes Your Booty Move...Its the Infectious Grooves.
The album's release was fortuitous, and probably anything but coincidental, given the serendipitous popularity of a sub-genre called funk-metal, which was making waves thanks to hit albums from the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Faith no More, and countless lesser known bands.
So Infectious Grooves were in the right place at the right time to capitalize on this trend -- as well they should be, seeing as they were a side project for experienced musicians active in other successful bands, making them something of an underground supergroup.
Their lineup reads even more impressively in retrospect than it did at the time, consisting of members of Suicidal Tendencies (vocalist Mike Muir and bassist Robert Trujillo), Jane's Addiction (drummer Stephen Perkins), Excel (guitarist Adam Siegel), and guitarist Dean Pleasants.
Together, the five musicians cooked up a positively combustible stew of funk, metal and punk rock, ranging from the frantic "Punk It Up" and "Monster Skank" to the elastic grooves like "Stop Funk'n With My Head," "Infectious Grooves" and "Back to the People." They even had a few borderline-Suicidal Tendencies tunes like "I'm Gonna Be My King" and "Do the Sinister."
All of these boasted a head-spinning blend of razor-riffs, slap-bass, and octopus-like percussion, topped by Muir's cats & dogs vocal approach, plus a series of brief, spoken word skits in the spirit of Cheech & Chong that were sprinkled in between the cuts .
Another highlight, "You Lie...And Yo Breath Stank," found common ground for the music and the comedy, but the album's pivotal number had to be its eventual signature hit single, "Therapy," which counted a cameo from none other than Ozzy Osbourne.
The unlikely circumstances that led to this liaison were later described by Muir to Songfacts. "[T]he producer said, 'What do you want to do on the chorus?' I said, 'I actually think it would be really cool if Ozzy sang on it.' And they're like, 'Oh, give him a call.' I'm like, 'Dude, I don't know Ozzy.' ... And then two days later, I came in the studio, and he goes, 'Guess who just came in the studio next door? ... Ozzy.' I'm like, 'You serious?'"
Muir couldn't muster the gumption to approach the heavy metal legend but, luckily for Infectious Grooves, Ozzy approached them, as Muir recalled in the same interview, "He goes, 'You have a song you want me to do?' I'm like, 'Uhhhhddduuuhhh.' And he put the song on, and he's like, 'I want to do it! I want to do it!' And it was really cool."
Osbourne's presence -- on the song and on its eventual music video -- would guarantee considerable MTV airplay for "Therapy." Yet, amazingly, The Plague That Makes Your Booty Move barely cracked the Billboard Top 200. But the album and the band's subsequent tour caused enough of a stir that Muir has continually, if sporadically, resurrected the Infectious Grooves over the years.
Different lineups of the band -- often partially shared with the indestructible Suicidal Tendencies -- have recorded three more long players over the past decades, but none has had the lasting impact of this spontaneous, exciting original.
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