It only looks easy. Not every band sells 1.5 million copies of their debut record, and shares stages with the hottest acts in the world while amassing a gigantic international fan-base long before radio and -- yes, you, dear press folk -- woke up and smelled the concrete. But Limp Bizkit rose out of their hometown of Jacksonville, FL, on the backs of their friends and allies around the globe.
Through ceaseless touring and a dynamic live show, the little group with the curious name found themselves in heady company indeed.They're that band with the DJ from House of Pain, you're thinking. The ones that got where they are because they inked tattoos on their friends in Korn, those guys with the George Michael song. Yeah, yeah, yeah... Limp Bizkit have heard it all before.
Here's the scoop: Significant Other, the band's second album for Flip/Interscope Records, shatters the sophomore jinx. Yes, they toured incessantly last year, scoring an impressive trifecta by appearing on the 1998 Warped and Ozzfest excursions, as well as the inaugural edition of the groundbreaking Family Values tour. This is the band that also threw a traveling party of their very own called "Ladies Night in Cambodia" for two solid months, which provided free admission for the first 200 women to attend each night. They had a massive hit on their hands with their inimitable cover of George Michael's "Faith," and they watched sales of their album fly past Platinum certification.
Worthy and respectable efforts, all. "I think we've successfully set a landmark for this type of music," he states. "Other bands have combined singing and heavy rock and rap, but no one's done it all to the extent where the rap is totally hip-hop credible, the heavy parts can move 100,000 people at a time in an arena, and the melodies can make the whole world sing. That crash you just heard was the gauntlet hitting the ground.
For the band - including guitarist Wes Borland, drummer John Otto, bassist Sam Rivers, and turntable-man DJ Lethal -- Significant Other is the album that will dispel the doubters and silence the skeptical. It's a collection of songs that Limp Bizkit say that they learned to write from playing to audiences around the world, watching their fans in action. "The title refers to male-female relationships, of course," says Wes Borland. "But it also refers to this record as our 'significant other'. This is the record that we've wanted to make since we started this band." Co-produced by the band with famed noise technician Terry Date (Pantera, White Zombie, Staind) and mixed by Brendan O'Brien (Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots), Significant Other's incisive tracks range from the corrosive fury of "Break Stuff" and "Nookie" (the album's first video and radio track) to the more measured and tuneful "No Sex" and "Rearranged." "It's a record about betrayal," Fred says. "I guess I ask for it sometimes. The way I get treated by back-stabbing friends and girls, it's probably due to my own actions." His trauma is captured in the record's rich sonic experimentation, such as the orchestral flourishes that creep into the dramatic "Don't Go Off Wandering." Or the slinky, phat beats of the landmark hip-hop jam, "N2gether," which pairs the band with Method Man from the Wu-Tang Clan and features production by DJ Premier of Gang Starr. Further adding to the excitement are the appearances of a host of luminaries, including the unlikely alliance of Korn's Jonathan Davis and Stone Temple Pilots' Scott Weiland on the dynamic "Nobody Like You."
In a humorous interlude, you can hear MTV veejay Matt Pinfield vent his spleen on the state of today's gutless rock environment. And Fred Durst's own mom even makes a cameo! Ever since they formed in late 1994, Limp Bizkit have blazed a trail for themselves like few other bands of the 1990s. Armed with their Three Dollar Bill, Y'all$ debut, the band were unafraid to perform for any crowd, anywhere, at any time. The band could be seen on MTV, rocking the beach on the network's "Spring Break" edition of Fashionably Loud.
And there they were again on the channel come New Year's Eve, effortlessly grooving with ex-House of Pain rapper Everlast and Kid Rock, and getting props from teen queen Jennifer Love Hewitt. Aided in their quest by their overactive imaginations, Limp Bizkit began their Ozzfest sets by emerging from a gigantic, filthy toilet, and brought down the house on the Family Values tour, armed with a troupe of break-dancers and a science fiction-themed stage straight out of Mars Attacks. In the meantime, one-time tattoo artist Fred Durst has proven himself one of the hardest-working men in show business.
He's acted as an A&R rep for Flip Records (signing the band Staind and producing the upcoming second album from Jacksonville homies Cold); he's been a guest on records from such notables as Korn, Videodrone and Soulfly; and he directed the heavily-rotated video for "Faith" as well as the video for "Nookie." The singer helped design and create the outlandish above-described stages. He's even writing a screenplay! "Look at George Lucas!" laughs Fred, when asked about his energy and unflagging attention to detail. "That motherfucker, he don't stop, dude! If we do enough amazing things - films, videos, songs, music - you become legends, and a whole new generation becomes tripped-out to work with you."
With a headlining spot secured on the second Family Values tour, and tentative plans to return yet again to the studio late this year, Limp Bizkit might appear to have their hands full dealing with all the attention they're certain to receive. Fred Durst is unconcerned. "I've never been so confident about our focus until right now," he grins. "I cannot wait to go on tour, and I'm usually the one who can't wait to go home!"