Limp Bizkit is an American rap rock/nu metal band from Jacksonville, Florida. The band's line-up consists of Fred Durst (lead vocals), Wes Borland (guitar), Sam Rivers (bass), John Otto (drums) and DJ Lethal. Limp Bizkit has been nominated for three Grammy Awards and have won several other major awards. The band has sold an estimated 35 million albums worldwide.
Formed in 1995, the band achieved mainstream success with their second studio album, Significant Other, released in 1999. Their third studio album, Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water, released in 2000, continued the band's success. The album sold 1.05 million copies in its first week, making it the fastest-selling rock album ever, breaking the record held for 7 years by Pearl Jam's Vs.
Mike Smith was brought in as a replacement guitarist, following the departure of Wes Borland in 2001, for the fourth studio album, Results May Vary, released in 2003. Borland rejoined the band in 2004 for the release of an EP, The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1) but departed again. He rejoined the band in February 2009. With Borland, Limp Bizkit recorded their first full length album with their original line-up in ten years, Gold Cobra.
Formation and early years (1995-1996)
Limp Bizkit was founded in 1995 in Jacksonville, after Fred Durst met Sam Rivers. Rivers introduced Durst to his cousin, John Otto, a drummer in Keystone Heights, FL. The three got together for a jam session, and soon after started an early version of the band. The trio soon recruited guitarist Rob Waters and Limp Bizkit was established. The band's first four-track demo, entitled Mental Aquaducts (which were remakes of previously written songs from Fred's previous bands Split 26 and 10Ft Shindig), was recorded with Rob Waters but soon after he left the band. Otto suggested the group to consider Wes Borland, whom he had gone to school with, for the now vacant position. Durst noticed him playing in clubs and wanted to recruit him. Durst went to Philadelphia, and he instructed the other members to talk to Wes and see if he'd join the band. Wes accepted, and the very night Fred came back to Jacksonville, a show was scheduled. Fred and Wes met for the first time, practiced for a half hour, and then went and played the show.
The band continued to play various shows, their most popular venue being at the Milkbar in Jacksonville. In 1995, Fred Durst met and talked to members of the band Korn when they played a show in the Jacksonville area. Durst, a tattoo artist, gave Korn bassist Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu several tattoos and the two became friends. Durst gave Korn the band's first demo tape with Rob Waters, and they shrugged it off as nothing special. Later, with Borland, a second demo was recorded and this time Korn were impressed. The demo included the tracks "Counterfeit", "Stuck", "Stalemate", and "Pollution", all of which would end up on the band's debut album Three Dollar Bill, Yall$. The demo tape was passed onto Ross Robinson, who produced for Korn, and he was also impressed. Ross contacted Limp Bizkit, and stated his intent to produce for the band. At a Garbage concert, Durst had met Jordan Schur and played his demo tape for him in Schur's car. He was impressed, and wanted to sign Limp Bizkit to his label, Flip Records. Around this time, the band was booked to tour with the bands Deftones and House of Pain, whose member DJ Lethal later joined Limp Bizkit. Limp Bizkit later signed with Mojo Records, but were later bought out by Schur and subsequently signed with Flip Records.
Three Dollar Bill, Y'all$ (1997–1998)
The band's first full length recording, Three Dollar Bill, Yall$, was released in 1997 on Interscope. The album fared poorly on the Billboard 200 at the time of its release, although it did sell steadily over time due to extensive touring. It wasn't until the Family Values Tour, the Trail of Tears, and Ozzfest, which helped the album to peak at number 22 on the chart. At Ozzfest in particular, the band made a memorable impression on viewers due to the original set they played on, which consisted of a giant toilet. The band climbed out from the toilet at the beginning of the show, with Durst saying lines during the show such as "We're coming straight to you from the sewer" and "I am a piece of shit, and my band is a piece of shit". Borland's outlandish makeup started making impressions on fans as well. Although their first released single was "Counterfeit", they rose to fame through a cover of George Michael's "Faith". The song appeared on the soundtrack of Peter Berg's 1998 movie "Very Bad Things" starring Cameron Diaz, Christian Slater and Jeremy Piven. Later that year, Fred lent his vocals to Korn's third album on the song All in the Family, a rap-battle of sorts. The album featured a second disc, with four remixes of the demo for the song and multimedia featuring interviews between Durst, Borland and the rest of Korn.
Another unique idea the band came up with was the Ladies Night in Cambodia tour. Fred had noticed that mostly young males went to their concerts, and wanted more women to come, so they let women in for free at this tour. The tour was a huge success, and many more women would appear at their future concerts.
Significant Other (1999–2000)
In 1999, Limp Bizkit found major worldwide success with their second album Significant Other, which debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 and received mostly positive reviews. The album sold 834,000 copies in its first week and has sold over 16 million copies worldwide. The first single "Nookie", was an enormous hit on rock radio, reaching the top 10 in both rock and rap charts. The band followed-up the single with three simultaneously released singles – "Break Stuff", "Re-Arranged" and "N 2 Gether Now" (featuring hip-hop artist Method Man). "N 2 Gether Now" has been cited as an example of Fred Durst's attempt to work for unity rather than rivalry between rock and hip-hop, blurring the distinction between the two genres of music. The album features the songs "Nobody Like You" with vocals by Jonathan Davis of Korn and Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots and "No Sex" with vocals by Aaron Lewis of Staind.
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 that included, but were not limited to, rapes were reported in the aftermath of the concert, with some examples of the latter being caught on tape, resulting in deliberately lit fires and looting when the Red Hot Chili Peppers played the next day. Some have blamed the band for this outbreak, although Fred Durst claimed that none of the instigations he had made at the concert were intended to cause damage.
Along with this episode, controversies involving the band's members began to arise. Durst particularly became involved in feuds with the metal band Slipknot , Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist Zakk Wylde and engaged in physical violence with Creed frontman Scott Stapp. The band feuded with rappers Eminem and Everlast, while Taproot released on their website an answering machine message that Durst had left on their lead singer's phone as "revenge" for ending their record company contract with his record label.
Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water (2000–2001)
Fifteen months later, Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water was released on October 17, 2000. In an interview with Guitar World, guitarist Wes Borland explained the meaning of the album's strange title. He said that Durst was frequently referred to as an asshole and thus called himself the "chocolate starfish". The other line in the album's title, "hot dog flavored water" was derived from an inside joke about a gas station the band visited while on the road and witnessed varieties of flavored water on display. The album set a record for highest week-one sales of a rock album with just over one million copies sold in the U.S. in its first week of release, with 400,000 of those sales coming at its first day of release. "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water" was certified Gold, Platinum and six times Multi-Platinum. The first two singles "My Generation" and "Rollin' (Air Raid Vehicle)" were released at the same time in promotion of the album. "Take a Look Around" was later added to the list as the theme song to the movie Mission: Impossible 2. A remix, "Rollin' (Urban Assault Vehicle)" featuring Method Man, Redman and DMX was a minor club hit and was featured in the movie The Fast and the Furious. The fourth single "My Way" was commissioned as the opening theme for the World Wrestling Federation's WrestleMania X-Seven, and "Rollin' (Air Raid Vehicle)" was used as the entrance music for wrestler "The Undertaker" from 2000-2002. The album received mixed reviews from many critics.
Controversy continued with a death during a 2001 tour of Australia at the Big Day Out festival in Sydney. Teenager Jessica Michalik died of asphyxiation when fans rushed the stage in the mosh pit. It was claimed by security and witnesses that Fred Durst was urging the crowd on in a possibly violent manner, and that he failed to attempt to calm the crowd after the accident. Michalik was later rushed to Sydney's Concord Hospital where she died six days later.
Durst provided the courts with testimony. During the hearing he claimed, via a video connection from the U.S., that he had warned the concert's organizers Aaron Jackson, Will Pearce and Amar Tailor and promoter Vivian Lees of the potential dangers of such minimal security, even going so far as to say Limp Bizkit would "pull out" if the issue wasn't properly addressed. Big Day Out attorneys attempted to pin the blame on Limp Bizkit because the band did not stop playing when they received news of the incident. Although the guitars, drums and bass ceased, DJ Lethal played a quiet computer-generated loop. While admitting that Lethal took it upon himself to play the interlude, Durst claimed that the quiet melody did have a soothing effect on the crowd.
The Coroner's Court decided that, while the band could have been more helpful in efforts to aid the girl, the security practices employed by festival organizers Creative Entertainment Australia bore the brunt of the blame. After viewing videotapes and hearing witness testimony, however, Milledge, the coroner, said it was evident that the density of the crowd was dangerous at the time Limp Bizkit took the stage- therefore they had to erect a cage around the band.
In the fall of 2001, Wes Borland left Limp Bizkit for the first time. Strained relations between him and Durst contributed to his decision. His departure was interpreted as a major blow by fans and critics to the band. He was often cited as a vital creative force in the group, due in part to his eccentricity. The last known song the band was working on with Wes was "Relax", a semi-cover take on Frankie Goes to Hollywood's song, due to be on the Zoolander soundtrack.
Results May Vary (2002–2004)
With Borland's absence, Limp Bizkit began a nation-wide audition for their new guitarist called Put Your Guitar Where Your Mouth Is in 2002. Durst announced at the outset that he was interested in recruiting a female or more than one new member into the band. Thousands of hopefuls were said entered. Some controversy occurred when rumors surfaced that all contestants were required to sign a document giving Limp Bizkit the full ownership of any riffs they played. Each auditioner was allowed only sixty seconds in the first round. The final contestants were Monte Pittman, Anoush Saboktakin and Jonas Anderson of Fresno, California.
On March 30, 2003, Limp Bizkit performed live for the first time in two years, at World Wrestling Entertainment's WrestleMania XIX. They played "Crack Addict" and "Rollin" (The Undertaker's theme song) at the show. They signed up for several live tours, despite their lack of a guitarist. It was revealed that the guitarists for the WrestleMania show were Head from Korn and Mike Smith from Snot.
During this time, Durst spoke of many collaborations with guitarists, with a few rap guests sprinkled in on songs for the album. Among them were Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, Page Hamilton of Helmet, Al Jourgensen of Ministry, and Head of Korn as well as Jay-Z, Bubba Sparxxx, and Snoop Dogg. None of the songs with those guitarists would make it onto the album, except "Build a Bridge", which was written with Welch, and "Red Light – Green Light", which featured Snoop Dogg.
The finalists from the "Put Your Guitar Where Your Mouth Is" contest were rejected in favor of former Snot guitarist Mike Smith. The band changed its logo to "limpbizkit" to promote their change of style.
The band had already recorded an album's worth of material for an upcoming release. But with Mike Smith now in the band, it was decided that they would go back in the studio and record another album's worth of songs. The best of these tracks would make it onto the final release. Fred refers to the tracks recorded during this period that didn't make it to the album as the 'Off the Record' tracks, as if it were an album in itself.
On September 23, 2003, Results May Vary, their fourth album, debuted at #3 with roughly 320,000 copies sold, breaking the group's #1 spree on the Billboard 200. It received platinum certification (1 million copies sold) in the United States in 2008, almost 5 years after its release. In comparison, their previous work Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water sold more than one million albums in its first week.
The album received almost uniformly poor reviews by critics. Although Rolling Stone's review gave 3 out of 5 stars, Playlouder called it 'fucking crap', and Yahoo! Launch labeled it 'a frightening insight into the vacuous state of 21st century culture'. Nevertheless, an acoustic cover of The Who's "Behind Blue Eyes" was a moderate hit on mainstream radio, and its video featured actress Halle Berry. "Eat You Alive" was released as the first single off the album, cracking the top 20 of both American rock charts with an accompanying video that features actress Thora Birch being berated and actor Bill Paxton as her father who is looking for her. The album's ballad "Build a Bridge" was the official theme song of WWE's Survivor Series pay-per-view event in November 2003, although it was never released as an official single due to Mike Smith's departure. Another song from the album, "Almost Over", cracked the Rock Top 40. However it was never released as a single or video.
In 2003, Limp Bizkit toured on the Summer Sanitarium Tour with headliners Metallica, along with Linkin Park, Deftones and Mudvayne to promote Metallica's 2003 release, St. Anger. At the tour's stop in Chicago, IL, attendees of the concert threw items at and heckled Durst from the moment he walked on stage. With the crowd chanting "Fuck Fred Durst" and continuing their assault on him, Durst threw the mic down after six songs and walked off stage, but not before heckling the crowd back.
Borland's second departure, and hiatus (2004–2008)
Throughout July 2004, various rumors began circulating claiming that guitarist Wes Borland had been playing with the band again. By July 8, a fan site released an official report that Borland was recording with the band in London. Photos appeared on the band's official website of him playing with the band, and a live video of them playing a new song "The Truth" in studio was posted on the website.
Durst said of Borland's re-entry, "We are very content with Mike being gone. We are the type of people that stay true to our family and our instincts and at any moment will act on intuition as a whole. Mike wasn't the guy. We had fun playing with him, but always knew, in the back of our minds, that he wasn't where we needed him to be mentally." At this stage, they reverted back to the use of their original logo.
The band returned to the studio with producer Ross Robinson, who had worked with them on Three Dollar Bill, Yall$, to create a seven track EP titled The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1). Drummer John Otto was only able to contribute to one track on the album due to personal matters, with Sammy Siegler providing percussion on the remaining tracks. Durst promised fans before its release that it would be a return to the 'rawer, more abrasive style' of their first album.
The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1) was released as a 7-track EP internationally on May 3, 2005 with little fanfare or advertising, debuting at number 24 on the Billboard 200 and selling only 37,000 copies in its first week. It has sold just slightly over 100,000 in the US. It received mediocre reviews, with some critics thinking that Durst was trying too hard to imitate Rage Against the Machine's lead singer Zack de la Rocha.
Limp Bizkit's first greatest hits compilation was released on November 8, 2005. It contains material from the band's first four albums. An additional DVD was released in conjunction with the compilation. The album and DVD were barely promoted by the band's label, even to the point where Durst claimed he was being forced to do interviews about a compilation he wasn't very excited about. The promotion did not pay off, with the album debuting at number 47. Wes Borland stated that the release was "a piece of shit and a waste of money."
After the release of Greatest Hitz and the departure of Wes Borland the band unofficially went into a hiatus. Durst began directing and acting in films such as Population 436 and The Longshots. Otto went into rehab and collaborated with other bands and artists, as did the rest of the band (Rivers, DJ Lethal).
Rock im Park 2001 was released on March 31, 2008. The live album and DVD documented their 2001 performance at Rock im Park in 2001. It documents the band at the height of their popularity.
Reunion and Unicorns N' Rainbows Tour (2008–2009)
In mid-2008 rumors began to indicate that Limp Bizkit were planning a comeback tour, these rumors were later confirmed. Interviews with various members of the band had hinted that Terry Balsamo was to replace Wes Borland, but Balsamo was demanding a written contract, which the band was either unable or unwilling to give. Despite no official confirmation from the band, members of Limp Bizkit signed up on Twitter including Wes, with DJ Lethal confirming the accounts to be real, making Borland's rejoining seem less like a rumor. In late 2008, bassist Sam Rivers hinted that the group was in the early stages of writing new material for the fifth full-length album, the bands first full-length album in 6 years.
On February 11, 2009, Durst posted on his Twitter account the message "1am pacific time- limpbizkit.com tonight". The site was up and running for the first time in years and confirmed the return of Wes. Through a blog post on the homepage, Fred Durst and Wes Borland issued a joint statement:
“We decided we were more disgusted and bored with the state of heavy popular music than we were with each other. Regardless of where our separate paths have taken us, we recognize there is a powerful and unique energy with this particular group of people we have not found anywhere else. This is why Limp Bizkit is back.”
On May 20, 2009 the original lineup of Limp Bizkit performed together for the first time in eight years, at their first show ever in Latvia. The band went on to play a European tour named Unicorns N' Rainbows Tour. They also played German festivals Rock Im Park and Rock Am Ring on June 5 and 7 respectively, headlining the latter. Five days later the band landed in the UK and played at Download Festival. On August 1, the band took stage for a sold-out show in London's HMV Forum as part of Kerrang's Week of Rock. Limp Bizkit was officially inducted into the Kerrang! Hall of Fame at the Kerrang! Awards, and the next day the band performed at the Sonisphere Festival, playing in between Machine Head and Nine Inch Nails. Less than two weeks later, Limp would again be playing alongside Nine Inch Nails, but also Keane in ETPFest, Korea, on August 15.
August 24, 2009 marked the official first day of recording new material, as well as the first time the entire band had recorded together since 2000 (Results May Vary without Wes Borland, The Unquestionable Truth Part 1 without John Otto).
Gold Cobra and recent events (2010–present)
On November 30, 2009 Durst revealed in a Kerrang! article that the new album would be titled Gold Cobra and would be released early 2010 (though later delayed) through Interscope. Durst told Kerrang Magazine in December 2009 that the album will feature 10 songs with interludes/segues between the songs. In a series of radio interviews Fred revealed that Wes Borland came up with the album name "Gold Cobra". Regarding the albums first single, Durst stated "We are getting a little grief from the big wigs as to what single "they" want out first. Obviously "we" are pushing for "Douchebag". If they choose to run with something else we will figure out a way to release it anyway." On March 29 Durst stated that eighteen songs are recorded and are currently in the process of being mixed, but noted that not all songs will make the album. Guest performances on the album include Mathematics, Raekwon (Wu-Tang Clan), Gene Simmons, and Paul Wall.
After the recording of Gold Cobra, Limp Bizkit performed a number of U.S. concerts including 98 Rock Fest, Rock on the Range, Beale Street Music Festival, EdgeFest 20, and Buzzfest. On May 10 the band performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Following the festival shows, the band was scheduled to embark on a full U.S. tour in July, but was postponed to fall 2010 due to the bands desire to play arenas instead of amphitheaters. Starting in August and into the fall the band performed a full European tour. The band was also scheduled for a South American tour, but was canceled due to a neck injury sustained by Fred Durst while performing in Warsaw, Poland.
On April 30, 2010, Durst posted the song "Why Try" via the band's official website. Due to delays, Durst decided to post a second song on August 7, 2010 for fans waiting for Gold Cobra, titled "Walking Away" through a blog on their official site.
On february 9th, Fred Durst posted on twitter: Limp Bizkit Gold Cobra should be mixed and ready to press by the end of February.
The day after,on the band's website,Durst wrote:
"As we head towards the end of February 2011 the realities of having a completed album to expose are finally here. Through thick and thin, the Gold Cobra has slivered its way through the corporate jungle and into the studio to be mixed by Dave Schiffman. My intentions are to keep as much "polish" off of this album as possible. I have had many discussions with Dave as he's been on the cobra since the beginning and knows exactly the sound I am looking for regarding the mix. We are extremely excited to get this album into your eardrums. As some of you have noticed, we have and will take as much time as we need before putting this album out regardless of any pressure or impatience that is thrown our way. So, waste your breath if you like. Its your prerogative.-fd"
It was also announced on the 15th of February that Limp Bizkit will perform on the sunday at Sonisphere festival in Knebworth.
1.- Three Dollar Bill, Y'all$ (1997)
2.- Significant Other (1999)
3.- Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water (2000)
4.- Results May Vary (2003)
5.- The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1) (2005)
6.- Gold Cobra (2011)
7.- Stampede of the Disco Elephants (2014)