Jay Weinberg: Playing With Infectious Grooves Is A ‘Tremendous Honour’

21 March 2024 | 10:00 am | Mary Varvaris

Infectious Grooves drummer Jay Weinberg discusses being in a band with his idols, learning to walk again after hip surgery, and more ahead of their Bluesfest performance.

Infectious Grooves

Infectious Grooves (Source: Supplied)

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It’s been an interesting couple of months for Jay Weinberg. The world-class drummer, known for working with metal, punk and hardcore bands, was let go from Slipknot back in November. At the time, he wrote that he was “heartbroken and blindsided”, but we doubt that even Weinberg himself could’ve predicted how – particularly how fast – things picked up for him.

In January, the funk-meets-metal supergroup Infectious Grooves joined the Bluesfest 2024 line-up, revealing that Weinberg was the band’s new drummer.

He’s been rehearsing and writing new music with the group, which consists of Suicidal TendenciesMike Muir and Dean Pleasants alongside Robert Trujillo (Metallica) and Dave Kushner (Velvet Revolver).

Weinberg’s star continued to rise earlier this month when he announced that he had officially joined Suicidal Tendencies. Within a week of announcing his position in the band, Weinberg was on stage with Suicidal Tendencies in Japan.

Weinberg is the latest drummer in Suicidal Tendencies, following Greyson Nekrutman, Brandon Pertzborn, and Dave Lombardo (who just toured Australia with the Mike Patton-led Mr Bungle).

The 33-year-old drummer has enjoyed quite the music career so far, playing in Slipknot for ten years after playing with punk-rock band Against Me! in the early 2010s and a brief stint with Madball in 2010. He’s the son of Max Weinberg, the longtime drummer for Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band. In 2009, he took over for his father and toured with The Boss.

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Ahead of Weinberg’s return to Australia for the second time in a year – the first headlining the inaugural Knotfest Australia with his former bandmates, the second with Infectious Grooves – we caught up with the drummer to discuss what might become the most impressive year of his career.

The Music chatted with Weinberg just one day after the drummer announced his new gig in Suicidal Tendencies. When we caught up with Weinberg, he was in his studio with an impressive drum kit behind him.

“I’m elated that a bunch of organic and natural circumstances have led one to another and that this is happening,” Weinberg says of his joining Suicidal Tendencies. “I'm just really honoured about the opportunity and so excited to get started. We have our first show together next week. So, yeah, it's all happening very quickly, but I'm very excited.”

While there are definitely some nerves around joining a renowned punk rock band, Weinberg believes that’s an exciting element about this time in his life. “I think it’s a tremendous opportunity, and with that comes the excitement, nerves, anxiety… all of it.”

He adds, “I think this music is a celebration of a release from the anxiety and agita we feel in our daily lives. And so, yeah, [the nerves] kind of helps in a way; it gets that excitement going. But, you know, if I wasn't nervous, I'd be a lot more concerned.”

The excitement around performing with Infectious Grooves is just as great. By playing with this supergroup, Weinberg has done what many would advise against—met his heroes—and come out the other side impressed and honoured to be playing with his idols.

“I've looked up to these guys for a long, long time,” Weinberg shares. He’s been friends with his new bandmates for a while, “but to actually get into a room and sit down and play with each other is something really special.

“You never really know what your musical chemistry is going to be like until you get into a room with people,” adding that the new line-up of Infectious Grooves was “on fire” from the first song they played together.

He continues, “We've harnessed that excitement into channelling that into making some new music, as well. I thought that was a great idea by the guys to harness that and be like, ‘Let's make something new. Let's write a song.’ So, we've done that. So far, it's been an absolutely amazing experience playing with new guys I respect so much. And, yeah, to feel that energy in the room is quite infectious, you might say.”

Will Australian fans get to hear the new Infectious Grooves tune?

Weinberg, too excited to play coy, is sure we will. “I hope so; that would be amazing. I was just in my car listening to it as it's coming along just now, and I'm incredibly excited for people to hear it. So, yeah, I expect that it will get some time on stage. I'm pumped.”

As for what Weinberg will sound like with Infectious Grooves, he admits that his style has to be different while playing in the band. Weinberg is also bringing a different energy than he’s ever felt, recalling his earliest days with the band, in which he accepted their offer while on crutches.

“When the guys approached me to play with them on this tour, I was incredibly excited and immediately accepted even though I was still on crutches recovering from a recent hip surgery,” Weinberg laughs, knowing that he couldn’t pass on such an epic opportunity.

And while he and his bandmates have their footing in all sorts of heavy music, from heavy metal to punk rock to hardcore, Weinberg has leapt at “injecting” some funky grooves into his playing and has embraced the responsibility of representing the band’s all-important rhythm section.

“I think for anybody, playing with Rob Trujillo on bass, I think that is an incredible opportunity to sink into those grooves. I think that brings out elements of my playing that I haven't been able to do before,” Weinberg says. “Playing with all these guys is such a tremendous honour.”

Recovering from hip surgery—especially as it’s Weinberg’s first major surgery as an adult—hasn’t been easy. The drummer recalls how he had to learn to walk again and commit to other adjustments.

“I had to learn to walk again; I had to learn to do all this stuff all over again. But it was all through the application of doing the right physical therapy things and taking it seriously so I wouldn't encounter physical problems down the road,” Weinberg shares. “That's why I had the surgery to begin with.”

He continues, “When I initially had this surgery, the doctors said I'd be back on my drums by late March, so the fact that I've already been on my drums for a month and a half is a real testament to physical therapy.

“If you just commit to it, it really pays off. I'm really happy. There are aspects of it that are challenging, of course, but that's like anything worth doing. I’m so, so happy to be on the other side of this surgery and recovered enough to get out there on the road.”

Weinberg is stoked that one of his first post-surgery gigs is at Bluesfest Byron Bay. “It's very eclectic! Those are my favourite opportunities – to come into a setting where you're the misfits in the group, or you're the act that's a risk for audiences – that's my favourite way of doing things,” Weinberg declares.

He just wants to “take an unsuspecting audience who might not be aware or know what's going to happen and really take people by surprise. That's one of my favourite parts of live performance and playing eclectic festivals like Bluesfest Byron Bay.”

As for what Australian punters can expect from Infectious Grooves – as well as Bluesfest, the band will perform sideshows in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney – Weinberg promises “a wild celebration of this music that we all love.”

“I'm just honoured to be going along for the ride,” Weinberg adds, “We expect and intend to deliver impactful performances, [to] really sink into that groove infectiously and deliver what people hope to see out of this.

“All that we can expect of ourselves is to bring it 100% and hope that people who are coming to spend some time with it enjoy it in the way they want to. We're looking to deliver that and then some.”

Infectious Grooves will perform at Bluesfest Byron Bay and accompanying sideshows. You can purchase tickets via the Bluesfest and Infectious Grooves websites.


Robert Trujillo | Mike Muir | Jay Weinberg | Dave Kushner | Dean Pleasants


Saturday, 30 March - Forum, Melbourne (Naarm)

Sunday, 31 March - Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane (Meanjin)

Monday, 1 April - Bluesfest, Byron Bay (Cavanbah)

Thurs, 4 April - Hindley Street Music Hall, Adelaide (Kaurna)

Friday, 5 April - UNSW Roundhouse, Sydney (Eora)