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Members include Wes Borland (born in 1975), guitar; Fred Durst (born in 1971, in Jacksonville, FL; son of a retired narcotics officer who became a landscaping business owner, and a former social worker who later worked as an administrator for a Lutheran church; children: daughter Adriana, born 1990), rapper, vocals; DJ Lethal (born Leor DiMant in 1970; son of Jewish Latvian immigrants; former member of House of Pain; joined band 1995), vocals, turntables; John Otto (born 1978), drums; Sam Rivers (born in 1977), bass. Addresses: Record company--Interscope Records, 10900 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 1230, Los Angeles, CA 90024, phone: (310) 208-6574. Website--Limp Bizkit Official Website: http://www.limpbizkit.com.
In the late 1990s, Limp Bizkit changed the belief that hard-edged rock was dead, by developing a hybrid of rap and rock music. Formed in 1994, the group perfected their outrageous stage shows and released their 1997 debut release titled Three Dollar Bill, Y'All$, which included the stereo-infused cover of George Michael's pop hit "Faith." Throughout 1998, Limp Bizkit performed with both the Warped and Ozzfest tours, as well as with the inaugural Family Values tours headlined by the rock band Korn. For their Ozzfest sets, Limp Bizkit shocked audiences by emerging from a gigantic toilet, and performances with Family Values came complete with a troupe of breakdancers and a science fiction-themed stage. In order to gain female fans, Limp Bizkit also traveled on their own for two months to put on "Ladies Night in Cambodia," where the first 200 women to attend each night received free admission.
By the end of 1999, Three Dollar Bill, Y'All$ had gone double platinum. Their subsequent album, 1999's Significant Other, proved an even greater success and debuted at number one on the Billboard album chart, selling 635,000 copies in its first week alone. After another round with the Family Values tour, an appearance at Woodstock 1999, and a headlining tour of their own, Limp Bizkit had secured their rock star status.
Although guitarist Wes Borland, bassist Sam Rivers, drummer John Otto, and turntable man DJ Lethal simply enjoyed performing and reaping the rewards of their new-found wealth, rapper Fred Durst had dreamed of the fame and attention for some time. A self-described workaholic who moved to Los Angeles to live closer to the heart of the entertainment industry (his bandmates stayed in Jacksonville), Durst wanted to do it all. In addition to fronting Limp Bizkit, Durst directed two of the group's videos for the songs "Faith" and "Nookie," helped design his band's outlandish stages, worked as a representative for Flip/Interscope Records, and performed on records with other artists such as Korn, Videodrome, and Soulfly. In July of 1999, Interscope appointed Durst as a senior vice president and gave him his own imprint. In the midst of all this, he also started writing a screenplay, hoping to one day direct and produce movies.
Durst was born in Jacksonville, Florida, and spent most of his childhood in a middle class neighborhood in the small, southeastern town of Gastonia, North Carolina. His father worked for the Gaston County police department, and at the time of his retirement served as chief of undercover narcotics. Durst's mother worked in a mental health facility as a social worker. While Durst's parents did not quite understand their son's interest in rap, punk music, and wild clothes, they nevertheless supported his taste in musical and popular culture. When Durst discovered break dancing, for example, his father built a studio in the family's garage, and his mother sewed uniforms for his break dancing group called the Dynamic 3.
Felt Like an Outsider
Living in a home with a police officer father made an impact on Durst and helped keep him out of trouble, as he explained to Jon Wiederhorn in an interview for All Music Guide. "I've seen him come home shot when I was real young, and I've seen the people he had to deal with because of drugs and stuff, and that kept me out of it."
Durst attended racially mixed schools and made a lot of African-American friends who introduced him to the emerging hip-hop music by New York-based groups in the 1980s. The future rock/rap star started break dancing around 1982, entering local dance contests around 1984, rapping in 1984, and deejaying in 1985. He especially liked records by the Sugarhill Gang. However, he liked other types of music besides rap and hip-hop. Some of his early influences included the rock band Ratt, as well as alternative rock acts such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Rage Against the Machine, and he enjoyed skate boarding and listening to punk, ska, metal, and rock.
Formed His Own Band
A good student throughout grade school and high school, Durst enrolled at Gaston College to study art, but dropped his classes only four days later, as dreams of rapping, skate boarding, forming a metal-rap group, and achieving fame started to cloud his academic intentions. He served 18 months in the Navy, but injured his wrist skate boarding and received a medical discharge. He then moved to Jacksonville with his parents when his father retired from the police force. In Jacksonville, Durst's father opened a landscaping business, and Durst worked for him as a foreman for a time. He started working part-time at a surf shop and learned how to tattoo.
Still, he harbored the idea of forming his own band, and in 1994, after seeing Rivers play with a local metal group at a club, Durst persuaded the bass guitarist to try something new. Rivers's cousin Otto joined the group on drums, and DJ Lethal came on board the following year. Borland offered his services on guitar after seeing Durst perform his rap onstage. "I'd never really seen someone sing-rap like that," Borland recalled to Zev Borow in Spin magazine. Durst replaced Borland twice with other guitarists, because he felt that Borland's musical tastes were too different from his, but he soon discovered he wanted him back, and Borland later rejoined the group. Limp Bizkit spent two years of relentless grassroots touring before getting their big break, spending time on the Warped and Family Values tours and playing at numerous small clubs.
Durst met the successful rock group Korn when the band toured in Florida, and Korn started spreading the word about Limp Bizkit after Durst sent Korn's bassist Fieldy a demo tape. Before long, several record labels started calling to offer Limp Bizkit a contract. They were originally set to sign with MCA, but instead signed with the Flip/Interscope label, a record company that had helped artists such as Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and Eminem gain a mass audience. Working with Korn producer Ross Robinson, Limp Bizkit released their 1997 debut album, Three Dollar Bill, Y'All$, and started touring with Korn.
However, before most people had even heard Limp Bizkit's music on the radio, the band woke up one morning at the center of a controversy. It seemed that Interscope, known to promote groups by any means necessary, had paid a Portland, Oregon, radio station to play the "Counterfeit" single 50 times. Although the deal was technically legal because it was considered buying advertising time, many music industry insiders reacted with outrage, and the story appeared on the front page of the New York Times. Despite the commotion, Limp Bizkit remained calm and allowed the news to blow over, believing that in the end the event would not harm the group's credibility. "It wasn't like we were getting tons of radio play anyway," Durst said to Borow regarding the incident.
Took Over MTV
The song "Faith," a pounding metal remake of George Michael's 1980s pop hit, did hit the airwaves, and the video took over MTV (Durst himself directed the video). Nonetheless, the album as a whole went largely overlooked at first, and many critics deemed it one-dimensional. In addition, one of the tracks called "Stuck," full of misogynistic references, angered many female rock fans. Durst explained to Daly that his not so politically correct choice of lyrics resulted from a painful breakup with a former girlfriend. "If you heard what she called me... I understand that two wrongs don't make a right. I was reacting; I didn't think of the consequences. I've learned my lesson." Limp Bizkit also tried to make up for Durst's lyrical mistake by putting on a two-month traveling show called "Ladies Night in Cambodia." Constant touring with Korn, as well as with turntable stylists the Deftones, helped put Limp Bizkit back in line for greater things.
In the summer of 1999, Limp Bizkit released their sophomore effort, the more creative Significant Other. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard album chart, knocking out the Backstreet Boys' Millennium for the top spot and becoming the 15th highest debut in record-tracking system SoundScan's history. This time around, Limp Bizkit hired Terry Date (who produced albums for Helmet and Pantera) to produce the album. Date, whom Borland described as more of an engineer than a producer, enabled the band to become more involved in the recording process. "We really feel like we produced a lot of this ourselves," the guitarist commented to Borow. Likewise, DJ Lethal's hip-hop sensibility was more apparent on Significant Other. Durst again directed a video to support the album, this time for Limp Bizkit's hit single "Nookie."
As before, Limp Bizkit set out on another round of touring. In addition to joining the Family Values crew, the group also took the stage at Woodstock 1999, and headlined their own tour later that fall. In July of the same year, Interscope named Durst a senior vice president and gave the rapper his own imprint. His duties for the company included producing, remixing, shooting videos, and signing new acts.
In 2001, the group won MTV awards for Best Group and Best Album, as well as the Web Award, for their album Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water. According to David Browne in Entertainment Weekly, Chocolate Starfish "melds rapping, monster-truck riffs, and turntable scratching into claustrophobic vents" against "a veritable laundry list of teenage aggravations." Although Browne praised Borland's guitar work, he noted that the band's music was starting to sound formulaic, and that this album might be an attempt to break out of a rut, as well as keep teenage listeners interested as they grew older. A Guitar Player reviewer also praised Borland, noting, "If he's half as influential as his band, Borland could almost single-handedly make it cool to play clean-toned rhythm guitar again."
"Rap/Metal Has Not Aged Well"
In 2003 the band released Results May Vary, "in which the lead singer is a troubled, sensitive sort backed by a band that downplays its rivet-gun sonics in favor of something more melodic," according to David Browne in Entertainment Weekly. However, the group was still dogged by the perception that their style was not keeping up with changing times. Chuck Arnold in People felt that the group "struggles to remain relevant," and Bram Teitelman commented in Billboard that "rap/metal has not aged well."
Limp Bizkit released The Unquestionable Truth, Pt. 1 on Geffen Records in 2005. All Music Guide writer Stephen Thomas Erlewine deemed the effort "certainly a comeback of sorts," noting that "the music is a step in the right direction---it's more ambitious, dramatic, and aggressive, built on pummeling verses and stop-start choruses." Also in 2005, Durst's career took a turn in a new direction: he was chosen for a lead part in the movie Population 436, which also starred Jeremy Sisto.
by Laura Hightower and Kelly Winters
Limp Bizkit's Career
Group formed, traveled on grass roots tour, 1994; signed with Interscope, released debut album Three Dollar Bill, Y'All$, 1997; released follow-up album, Significant Other, performed at Woodstock concert, 1999; released Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavored Water, 2000; released New Old Songs, 2001; released Bipolar, 2003; released Results May Vary, 2003; released The Unquestionable Truth, Pt. 1, 2005.
- Selected discography
- Three Dollar Bill, Y'All$ Interscope, 1997.
- Significant Other Flip/Interscope, 1999.
- Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavored Water Flip/Interscope, 2000.
- New Old Songs Flip/Interscope, 2001.
- Bipolar Flip/Interscope, 2003.
- Results May Vary Flip/Interscope, 2003.
- The Unquestionable Truth, Pt. 1 Geffen, 2005.
- Billboard, October 11, 2003, p. 69.
- Daily Variety, May 27, 2005, p. 4
- Entertainment Weekly, October 27, 2000, p. 115; October 10, 2003, p. 121.
- Guitar Player, March 2001, p. 114.
- Music and Media, November 24, 2001, p. 4.
- People, October 20, 2003, p. 50.
- Rolling Stone, July 8-22, 1999; August 5, 1999; August 19, 1999.
- Spin, August 1999.
- Variety, March 14, 2005, p. 3.
- "Limp Bizkit," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com/ (September 26, 2005).
- Limp Bizkit Official Website, http://www.limpbizkit.com (October 11, 2005).
- Rolling Stone.com, http://www.rollingstone.tunes.com (October 11, 2005).
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