Limp Bizkit is an American rap rock band from Jacksonville, Florida, formed in 1994. Their lineup consists of Fred Durst (lead vocals), Sam Rivers (bass, backing vocals), John Otto (drums, percussion), and Wes Borland (guitars, backing vocals). Their music is marked by Durst's angry vocal delivery and Borland's sonic experimentation. Borland's elaborate visual appearance, which includes face and body paint, masks and uniforms, also plays a large role in the band's elaborate live shows. The band has been nominated for three Grammy Awards, have sold 40 million records worldwide and won several other awards.
Formed in 1994, Limp Bizkit became popular playing in the Jacksonville, Florida underground music scene in the late 1990s, and signed with Flip Records, a subsidiary of Interscope, which released their debut album, Three Dollar Bill, Y'all$ (1997). The band achieved mainstream success with their second and third studio albums, Significant Other (1999) and Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water (2000), although this success was marred by a series of controversies surrounding their performances at Woodstock '99 and the 2001 Big Day Out festival.
Borland left the group in 2001, but Durst, Rivers, Otto and Lethal continued to record and tour with guitarist Mike Smith. Following the release of their album, Results May Vary (2003), Borland rejoined the band and recorded The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1) (2005) with Durst, Rivers, Lethal and drummer Sammy Siegler before entering a hiatus. In 2009, the band reunited with Borland playing guitar and began touring, culminating with the recording of the album Gold Cobra (2011), after which they left Interscope and later signed with Cash Money Records, but DJ Lethal was asked to leave the band soon after. They are currently recording their sixth studio album, Stampede of the Disco Elephants.
Formation and Early Years
rock and heavy metal. He began to rap, skate, beatbox and deejay. While mowing lawns and working as a tattoo artist, he developed an idea for a band that combined elements of rock and hip hop. Durst played with three other bands, Split 26, Malachi Sage, which were unsuccessful, and 10 Foot Shindig, which Durst left to form a new band. Durst told Sam Rivers, the bassist for Malachi Sage, "You need to quit this band and start a band with me that's like this: rappin' and rockin'." Rivers suggested that his cousin, John Otto, who was studying jazz drumming at the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and playing in local avant garde bands, become their drummer. Durst, Rivers and Otto jammed and wrote three songs together, and Wes Borland later joined as a guitarist.
and heavy metal. He began to rap, skate, beatbox and deejay. While mowing lawns and working as a tattoo artist, he developed an idea for a band that combined elements of rock and hip hop. Durst played with three other bands, Split 26, Malachi Sage, which were unsuccessful, and 10 Foot Shindig, which Durst left to form a new band. Durst told Sam Rivers, the bassist for Malachi Sage, "You need to quit this band and start a band with me that's like this: rappin' and rockin'." Rivers suggested that his cousin, John Otto, who was studying jazz drumming at the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and playing in local avant garde bands, become their drummer. Durst, Rivers and Otto jammed and wrote three songs together, and Wes Borland later joined as a guitarist.
Durst named the band Limp Bizkit, because he wanted a name that would repel listeners. According to Durst, "The name is there to turn people's heads away. A lot of people pick up the disc and go, 'Limp Bizkit. Oh, they must suck.' Those are the people that we don't even want listening to our music." Other names that were considered by Durst included Gimp Disco, Split Dickslit, Bitch Piglet, and Blood Fart. Every record label that showed an interest in the band pressured its members to change its name. Limp Bizkit developed a cult following in the underground music scene, particularly at the Milk Bar, an underground punk club in Jacksonville. The band's local popularity was such that Sugar Ray, who had a major label contract, opened for a then-unsigned Limp Bizkit at Velocity with hip hop group Funkdoobiest. Milkbar owner, Danny Wimmer, stated that Limp Bizkit "had the biggest draw for a local band. They went from playing [for] ten people to eight hundred within months. Fred [...] was always marketing the band. He would go to record stores and get people involved, he was in touch with high schools." However, the band knew that to achieve national success, they would have to distinguish themselves in their live performances. Attracting crowds by word of mouth, the band gave energetic live performances, covering George Michael's "Faith" and Paula Abdul's "Straight Up", and featuring Borland in bizarre costumes. Borland's theatrical rock style was the primary attraction for many concert attendees.
Durst unsuccessfully tried to attract attention from A&R representatives at various labels by pretending to be the band's manager. Later, when Korn performed in town as the opening act for Sick of It All, Durst invited Korn to drink beer and tattoo them. Although Durst's tattoos were unimpressive, he was able to persuade Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu to listen to a demo, consisting of the songs "Pollution", "Counterfeit" and "Stuck". Korn added a then-unsigned Limp Bizkit to two tours, which exposed the band to a new audience. The band attempted to expand their sound by auditioning an additional guitarist, but Borland soon determined that another guitarist was not the answer, and DJ Lethal, formerly of the hip hop group House of Pain, joined the band as a turntablist after a successful practice performance. Joining the band gave Lethal an opportunity to experiment with his turntable technique in ways that hip hop had not allowed him to do, helping shape the band's style. However, Borland left the band due to creative differences.
Three Dollar Bill, Y'all$
After their performance opening for Korn at the Dragonfly in Hollywood was well received, Limp Bizkit signed with Mojo, a subsidiary of MCA Records. While heading to California to record their first album, the band wrecked their van. As a result of the near death experience, Durst made amends with Borland, who rejoined the band. After a dispute with Mojo, Limp Bizkit signed with Flip, a subsidiary of Interscope Records. Arvizu persuaded Ross Robinson to listen to the demo. Robinson neglected to listen to it until it was appraised by his girlfriend. Impressed by the band's motivation and sound, Robinson produced Limp Bizkit's debut, which was recorded at Indigo Ranch. Durst's problems with his girlfriend inspired him to write the song "Sour". The mood and tone set by Robinson in the studio allowed the band to improvise; a recording of the band improvising appeared as the last track on the album, "Everything".
Despite the success of live performances of the band's cover of the song "Faith", Robinson was opposed to recording it, and tried to persuade the band not to play it on the album. However, the final recording, which incorporated heavier guitar playing and drumming, as well as DJ scratching, impressed him. Robinson also bonded with Borland, who he perceived as not taking the band seriously. The progressive metal band Tool provided a strong influence in shaping the album's sound, particularly in the song "Nobody Loves Me", which contains a breakdown in which Durst imitated the singing style of Maynard James Keenan.
Continuing the band's policy of using names that would repulse potential listeners, the band named the album by using part of the phrase "queer as a three dollar bill" and adding the word "Y'all" for Florida flavor, naming the album, Three Dollar Bill, Yall. The completed album featured an abrasive, angry sound which Limp Bizkit used to attract listeners to their music. After the band completed recording, they toured with Korn and Helmet in 1997. Critics reacted unfavorably to performances of Korn and Limp Bizkit; Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel music critic Jon M. Gilbertson criticized Durst's performance, stating "The one attention-grabbing moment of Limp Bizkit's rap/thrash show was when the lead singer expressed a desire for gay men to be 'stomped'. Which isn't remotely rebellious. It's just puerile." That same year, they also notably served as an opening act for Faith No More, a band often credited as paving the way for Limp Bizkit and the nu metalgenre. The group's keyboardist Roddy Bottum later recalled "That guy Fred Durst had a really bad attitude. He was kind of a jerk. I remembered he called the audience faggots at one show when they booed him. Not a good scene."
Interscope proposed to the band that the label pay $5,000 to guarantee that a Portland, Oregon radio station play the song "Counterfeit" fifty times, preceded and concluded with an announcement that the air time was paid for by Interscope. The paid air time was criticized by the media, who saw it as "payola". The band's manager Jeff Kwatinetz later termed the plan as a "brilliant marketing move". Durst stated, "It worked, but it's not that cool of a thing." Following the release of "Counterfeit" as a single, Three Dollar Bill, Yall was released on July 1, 1997, and was met with minimal response. AllMusic writer Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote, "They might not have many original ideas [...] but they do the sound well. They have a powerful rhythm section and memorable hooks, most of which make up for the uneven songwriting." However, Robert Christgau panned the album.Despite the minimal response to his band's album, Durst was appointed Senior Vice President of A&R at Interscope.
Limp Bizkit joined the Warped Tour, performing alongside the bands Pennywise, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Sick of It All, Lagwagon and Blink-182. Preceding their first tour with DJ Lethal, Otto became familiar with Lethal's contributions to collaborate with him better on stage. In addition to touring with Primus and Deftones, Limp Bizkit headlined the Ladies Night in Cambodia club tour, which was intended to diversify the band's fanbase, which was largely male, by offering free tickets to female attendees. This plan successfully increased the band's female fanbase.
In 1998, Limp Bizkit toured with Soulfly and Cold on Soulfly's first European tour. Touring consistently increased Limp Bizkit's success, and the second single from Three Dollar Bill, Yall, a cover of George Michael's "Faith", became a successful radio hit, leading to a slot on Ozzfest, a tour organized by Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. In July, Snot singer Lynn Strait was arrested after he emerged nude from Limp Bizkit's prop toilet, and was charged with indecent exposure. Because Limp Bizkit's fans would often break through the barricades, the band was almost kicked off the tour after two days. In August, John Otto spent the night in jail in Auburn Hills, Michigan, on a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon, after allegedly firing a BB gun and being arrested for carrying a switchblade.
After completing Ozzfest, Limp Bizkit took a break from performing, and later performed on Korn's Family Values Tour. Durst also directed a music video for the band's single "Faith" in promotion for its appearance in the film Very Bad Things, but was unsatisfied with it, and directed a second video which paid tribute to tourmates like Primus, Deftones and Korn, who appeared in the video. Borland stated in an interview that George Michael, the writer of the song, hated the cover and "hates us for doing it".
Following the radio success of "Faith", the band was determined to record the follow-up to their first album in order to show that they weren't a Korn soundalike or a cover band; the band began writing an album which dealt with issues deriving from their newfound fame. Terry Date, who had produced albums for Pantera, White Zombie and Deftones, was chosen to produce the album. The band allowed Durst and Lethal to explore their hip hop origins by recording a song with Method Man. The song was originally titled "Shut the Fuck Up", but was retitled "N 2 Gether Now" for marketing purposes. Durst also recorded with Eminem, but the collaboration, "Turn Me Loose", was left off the album. The album also featured guest appearances by Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland, Korn's Jonathan Davis and Staind singer Aaron Lewis, and interludes by Les Claypool and Matt Pinfield.
Significant Other saw Limp Bizkit reaching a new level of commercial success; the band was featured on the covers of popular music magazines, including Spin, and now found themselves repeatedly mobbed for autographs; the band was allowed to interact directly with their fans on a website established by Dike 99. Durst also moved from Jacksonville to Los Angeles. Significant Other was seen as an improvement over their debut, and was generally well received by critics with mixed to positive reviews. However, the band also continued to be criticized by the media; an article profiling the band in Spin and discussing Significant Other claimed that "Limp Bizkit had yet to write a good song", and musicians Marilyn Manson and Trent Reznor criticized the band.
The band promoted the album by playing unannounced concerts in Detroit and Chicago, as radio stations received a strong amount of requests for the album's first single, "Nookie". Significant Other climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard 200, selling 643,874 copies in its first week of release. In its second week of release, the album sold an additional 335,000 copies. On the opening night of the band's Limptropolis tour with Kid Rock, Sam Rivers smashed his bass in frustration over the venue's poor sound, cutting his hand. After his hand was stitched up at a hospital, Rivers returned to finish the set. On July 12, Durst allegedly kicked a security guard in the head during a performance in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was later arrested on assault charges. Further criticisms of the band appeared in Rolling Stone and The New York Times. New York Times writer Ann Powers wrote, "DJ Lethal used his turntables as a metal guitar, riffing expansively and going for effects instead of rhythm. John Otto on drums and Sam Rivers on bass never even tried to get funky, instead steering hip-hop's break-beat-based structure into a backbone for power chords. This makes for a hybrid that would be more interesting if the band did not constantly mire itself in boring tempos, and if Mr. Durst had any talent as a singer".
In the summer of 1999, Limp Bizkit played at the highly anticipated Woodstock '99 show in front of approximately 200,000 people. Violent action sprang up during and after their performance, including fans tearing plywood from the walls during a performance of the song "Break Stuff". Several sexual assaults were reported in the aftermath of the concert. Durst stated during the concert, "People are getting hurt. Don't let anybody get hurt. But I don't think you should mellow out. That's what Alanis Morissette had you motherfuckers do. If someone falls, pick 'em up. We already let the negative energy out. Now we wanna let out the positive energy". Durst later stated in an interview, "I didn't see anybody getting hurt. You don't see that. When you're looking out on a sea of people and the stage is twenty feet in the air and you're performing, and you're feeling your music, how do they expect us to see something bad going on?" Les Claypool told The San Francisco Examiner, "Woodstock was just Durst being Durst. His attitude is 'no press is bad press', so he brings it on himself. He wallows in it. Still, he's a great guy."
Durst saw the band as being scapegoated for the event's controversy, and reflected on the criticisms surrounding the band in his music video for the single "Re-Arranged", which depicted the band members receiving death sentences for their participation in the concerts. The video ended with angry witnesses watching as the band drowned in milk while performing the song. Durst later stated that the promoters of Woodstock '99 were at fault for booking his band, due to their reputation for raucous performances. Despite this controversy, Significant Other remained at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, and the band headlined the year's Family Values Tour. Durst directed a music video for "N 2 Gether Now" which featured Method Man and Pauly Shore, and was inspired by Inspector Clouseau's fights with his butler, Cato Fong, in the Pink Panther film series.
Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water
In 2000, Durst announced that the band's third studio album would be titled Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water. The press thought he was joking about this title. The album title is intended to sound like a fictional band; the phrase "Chocolate Starfish" refers to the human anus, and Durst himself, who has frequently been called an "asshole". Borland contributed the other half of the album's title when the band was standing around at a truck stop, looking at bottles of flavored water, and Borland joked that the truck stop didn't have hot dog or meat-flavored water.
In June 2000, Limp Bizkit performed at the WXRK Dysfunctional Family Picnic, but showed up an hour late for their set. An Interscope spokesman stated that there was confusion over the band's set time. During the band's performance, Durst criticized Creed singer Scott Stapp, calling him "an egomaniac". Creed's representatives later presented Durst with an autographed anger management manual. In the summer, Limp Bizkit's tour was sponsored by the controversial file sharing service Napster, doing free shows with a metal cage as the only thing separating them from the audience. Durst was an outspoken advocate of file sharing.They also did a "Guerrilla Tour" which involved the band setting up illegally and impromptu public gigs on rooftops and alleyways, some being shut down by the police.
During the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, Durst performed "Livin' It Up", a song from the upcoming album, as a duet with Christina Aguilera. In response to the performance, Filterfrontman Richard Patrick was quoted as saying "Fred getting onstage with Christina Aguilera embarrassed us all." In response to the negative reactions to the performance, Durst remarked, "I already told you guys before, I did it all for the nookie, man." In response to Durst's remark, Aguilera commented, "He got no nookie."
Released on October 17, Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water set a record for highest first-week sales for a rock album with over one million copies sold in the US in its first week of release. 400,000 of those sales happened during the first day, making it the fastest-selling rock album ever, breaking the record held for 7 years by Pearl Jam's Vs. Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water was certified Gold, Platinum and six times Multi-Platinum. The album received mixed reviews, with Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine writing, "Durst's self-pitying and the monotonous music give away that the band bashed Chocolate Starfish out very quickly – it's the sound of a band determined to deliver a sequel in a finite amount of time." Entertainment Weekly writer David Browne named it as the worst album title of 2000.
During a 2001 tour of Australia at the Big Day Out festival in Sydney, fans rushed the stage in the mosh pit, and teenager Jessica Michalik died of asphyxiation. In court, Durst, represented by long-time attorney, Ed McPherson, testified he had warned the concert's organizers Aaron Jackson, Will Pearce and Amar Tailor, and also the promoter Vivian Lees, of the potential dangers of such minimal security. After viewing videotapes and hearing witness testimony, however, the coroner said it was evident that the density of the crowd was dangerous at the time Limp Bizkit took the stage, stating that Fred Durst should have acted more responsibly when the problem became apparent. Durst stated that he was "emotionally scarred" because of the teenager's death.
Later in 2001, numerous hip-hop artists including P. Diddy, Timbaland, Bubba Sparxxx and Everlast remixed famous songs from the band into hip-hop versions adding their own styles and modifications. The album was called New Old Songs.
Music, Influences, and Lyrics
Durst wanted Limp Bizkit to be a "megaband" which could cross over into as many different styles of music as possible. Limp Bizkit's music has predominately been described as nu metal, rap metal and rap rock. Limp Bizkit have also been described as alternative metal, alternative rock, and post-grunge. In 2000, the New York Daily News labelled the band as "frat-metal". Limp Bizkit's music is noted for its "kinetic, frenzied energy". Otto is adept in drumming in a variety of styles ranging from Brazilian and Afro-Cuban music to bebop and funk. DJ Lethal functions as a sound designer for the band, shaping their sound. According to Lethal, "I try and bring new sounds, not just the regular chirping scratching sounds. It's all different stuff that you haven't heard before. I'm trying to be like another guitar player." Borland's guitar playing is experimental and nontraditional, and he is noted for his creative use of six and seven-string guitars. Three Dollar Bill, Yall features him playing without a guitar pick, performing with two hands, one playing melodic notes, and the other playing chord progressions. His guitar playing has made use of octave shapes, and choppy, eighth-note rhythms, sometimes accompanied by muting his strings with his left hand, creating a percussive sound. Borland has also made use of unevenly accented syncopated sixteenth notes to create a disorienting effect, and hypnotic, droning licks.The song "Stuck" uses a sustain pedal in the first bar, and muted riffs in the second bar. AllMusic writer Stephen Thomas Erlewine said that their album, Significant Other, contains "flourishes of neo-psychedelia on pummeling metal numbers" and "swirls of strings, even crooning, at the most unexpected background". The band did not employ solos until Gold Cobra (except for the song "Underneath The Gun" out of Results May Vary), however, during the recording of Significant Other, drummer John Otto performed an extended solo in the middle of the song "Nobody Like You". Durst's lyrics are often profane, scatological or angry. Much of Durst's lyrical inspiration came from growing up and his personal life. The song "Sour", from the album Three Dollar Bill, Yall, was inspired by Durst's problems with his girlfriend. His breakup with her inspired the Significant Other songs "Nookie" and "Re-Arranged". When describing Limp Bizkit's lyrics, The Michigan Daily said "In a less-serious vein, Limp Bizkit used the nu-metal sound as a way to spin testosterone fueled fantasies into snarky white-boy rap. Oddly, audiences took frontman Fred Durst more seriously than he wanted, failing to see the intentional silliness in many of his songs."Furthermore, Limp Bizkit's lyrics were described as "misogynistic". The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1) focuses on more serious and darker lyrical subject matter, including Catholic sex abuse cases, terrorism and fame. Limp Bizkit's influences include Mr. Bungle , Tool , Primus , Pantera , Minor Threat , Angry Samoans , Black Flag , the Fat Boys, the Treacherous Three, the Cold Crush Brothers, Urban Dance Squad, Rage Against the Machine , and Korn.==Members==
- Fred Durst - Lead Vocals (1994-2006, 2009-Present)
- Wes Borland - Guitar, Backing Vocals(1994-2001, 2004-2006, 2009-Present)
- Sam Rivers - Bass, Backing Vocals(1994-2006, 2009-Present)
- John Otto - Drums(1994-2006, 2009-Present)
- DJ Lethal - Turntables, Sampling, Programming(1994-2006, 2009-2012)
- Mike Smith - Guitar(2002-2004)
- Three Dollar Bill, Y'all$ (1997)
- Significant Other (1999)
- Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water (2000)
- Results May Vary (2003)
- Gold Cobra (2011)
- Stampede At The Disco Elephants (TBD)
- The Unquestionable Truth: Part 1(2005)
- The Unquestionable Truth: Part 2 (TBD)
- Rock im Park 2001 (2008)
- Greatest Hitz (2005)
- Collected (2008)
- Icon (2011)
- New Old Songs (2002)