June 02--Robert Trujillo is Metallica's second-longest serving bassist, having joined the band in 2003 after the departure of Michigander Jason Newsted. The SoCal native was already a well-traveled player on the rock circuit, with a resume that included Ozzy Osbourne, Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves -- the funk-metal supergroup whose core lineup will reunite at 7 p.m. Saturday on the Orion festival's Fuel stage.
On Orion: "The one thing about the Orion festival that's actually pretty cool is that it's also a lifestyles event. We're connecting on different musical levels with various types of bands, but also with everyday passions. Last year we were at the beach, so we had surf, jet skis. We've got a skate zone -- legends as well as newer pros -- which is great for me. I grew up skating and surfing. I'm still wearing Vans tennis shoes to this day.
"James (Hetfield) will have cars from film, television. That's his passion. He's legitimate. That's what he does -- builds custom cars. Kirk (Hammett) will have his house of horrors.
"As far as Lars's situation ... he really loves the art of filmmaking. He's on another level. I work on films myself. He's my number one guy, my critic -- 'Hey, check this rough cut out.' He's very honest and sincere. He's incredibly intelligent. ...
"Hopefully we can keep it going. Orion is a new thing, you know. It takes time. Putting your own festival together is not an easy task. It's modeled after the European festivals, with a variety of music, where you might have Los Lobos playing before Metallica, and then a pop act after."
On Detroit: "Detroit's a great town for music. I personally have had great experiences there. It's always been a challenge, too. The audiences are heavy; they don't mess around. Even going back to the days with Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves. You always know going into Detroit they mean business."
On Metallica having the trust of its fans: "Yes and no. Obviously there were mixed reviews on our Lou Reed experience ("Lulu," 2011). Some people thought it was an amazing artistic statement. A lot of Metallica fans thought it was crap. (Laughs) You take chances and kind of go with the flow of it. We just try to have a good time. That's the name of the game -- be creative -- and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't work.
"That's what makes the band special -- the fact that Metallica can go in and play with an orchestra and collaborate with the likes of a Lou Reed, and actually do a bit of improvising in uncharted territory.
"In this day and age, it's important in staying relevant, especially for us. We're inspired by so much, we like to try things. Sometimes financially it can be a task. ...
"We're there to deliver the passion we feel for music. When we put on the guitars it's like we're kids again. And that's different from a lot of bands when they get older, to still connect with music that way. We come up with so many riffs -- our problem is trying to keep them all out of one song. (Laughs) It's a good problem to have.
"Right now we're having a hard time focusing on making a new record because there's so much else going on."
On next weekend's Infectious Grooves reunion: "Back over 20 years ago, we were managed by Q Prime, who manages Metallica. Last year at Orion, Suicidal Tendencies played. Dean (Pleasants) was also the original guitarist in Infectious Grooves.
"It was suggested that next year we try to find (drummer) Stephen Perkins, see if we could reform that original Infectious Grooves lineup that toured with Ozzy, and play a full set. I called Mike (Muir) -- he thought it was a great idea, but Suicidal would be touring at that time with a new album. All of a sudden, eight months later, I get an email from Mike saying, 'We've carved out a notch in our tour schedule for this.' At that point I had to call Stephen Perkins.
"(Founding guitarist) Adam Siegel can't perform the show, so we'll have Jim Martin, the original guitarist from Faith No More. It's an honor to have him onstage with us, and it's sounding great.
"Already the energy's good. It's exciting to see, even in a rehearsal studio, we're embracing the sound and groove 22 years later."
On the origins of Infectious Grooves and its sound: "I had just joined Suicidal Tendencies (in 1989). Mike and I connected immediately. I didn't know what kind of music he liked, but he has very diverse tastes. Of course he loves punk music, then I come in with my James Brown stuff and Parliament. I always thought it would be cool to experiment and bring those different universes together -- elements of ska, a huge element of funk, written around bass, but with elements of Slayer in there. No rules, just a potpourri of styles.
"At first it was rough. We nurtured that process for two years before that first record, which the label treated like Mike Muir's solo record. We didn't know Stephen Perkins well, but he had a five-day break from Jane's Addiction, and just wanted to play back then, so he shows up.
"We were trying to bring in some friends. It was all driven by the passion. Even Ozzy sang on a song called 'Therapy.' We were working in the same studio where he was recording 'No More Tears.' Half the time he was hiding in our studio, hanging with us.
"It was a no-rules situation. With Jane's and Suicidal, there was a lot of success on the radar. The craziest thing is here we are making this album, and next thing you know we're on road with Ozzy. No one knew that would be happening.
"Now here we go, ready to get up in Detroit. I love Detroit, because Detroit to me has that solid foundation in rock and metal, but also R&B and soul music."
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