After being together for a year, Limp Bizkit opened a show in their Jacksonville hometown for KoRn who were so impressed they passed a demo tape to their producer who, in turn, helped Limp Bizkit land a major label contract.
Limp Bizkit formed in '94 around ex-Navy plebe Fred Durst. There were a couple interesting things about Durst. First, he'd been doing raps since his early teens and second, he'd developed into quite a tattoo artist. In fact, he plied his craft on Fieldy, KoRn's bassist, following the Jacksonville show.
Though Durst usually got all the press, Limp Bizkit was one than a one-man outfit. Guitarist Wes Borland, bassist Sam Rivers, drummer John Otto and DJ Lethal created the group's agitated din.
Limp Bizkit's '97 debut "Three Dollar Bill, Y'all" was notable for a brutally thunderous cover of George Michael's retro-pop "Faith." Well, if you're going to do a cover you should bring something different to the party. The CD's platinum sales got the group a featured spot on the '98 Ozzfest Tour where they had the infamous giant toilet stage prop. "Significant Other" burst out in '99. That CD hit six million in sales driven by "Nookie," "Re-Arranged," and "Break Stuff."
"Chocolate St*rfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water" made its appearance in '00. The scorching "My Way" showed Limp Bizkit was back with a vengeance. Durst drove the chorus with a "my way or the highway" chant as Borland flailed away.
Durst became a VP at Interscope Records and started his own label while the Gibson Guitar Company named Rivers, Best Rock Bass Player of '00. The group also nailed the theme song for the film Mission Impossible 2, "Take A Look Around."
In '03, Mike Smith replaced Borland who found other things to occupy his time. "Results May Vary" was Limp Bizkit's first album with their new guitarist.
With Borland back in the fold, Bizkit released "The Unquestionable Truth (Part I)" in '05. The album came and went as did Borland's participation in the group's endeavors.
As often happens when bands have a prolonged period of inactivity, it's the ex-members that get the press. Word arrived in the summer, '08, that Borland had joined Marilyn Manson. "(Borland) used to be in a really terrible band that he left because he felt that it was a destructive force in art," said Manson at a press conference. It's doubtful Manson's graceless digs were directed at Borland's other band Black Light Burns. Borland played his first gig with Manson in Seoul, Korea.
Then, from out of the blue in early '09, Limp Bizkit announced that they had reunited to tour and record an album, with all five original members - for the first time since '00's "Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water." "We decided we were more disgusted and bored with the state of heavy popular music than we were with each other," said a joint statement from Durst and Borland.
In December, Durst stated that the album's title was "Gold Cobra." "Cobras are quite venomous," added Durst. "I wish it were a much longer, more ridiculous title, but "Gold Cobra" is as ridiculous as we're going to get right now."
"I'm having a great feeling about going in and doing ["Gold Cobra"], more than I have about any of our albums before," Durst told NME.com. "It's not going to be a watered-down version of Limp Bizkit, it's going to be a more explosive, more addictive, more driven version."
But after the album dropped Limp Bizkit announced that they'd left Interscope Records, the label that had issued all six of their albums. Durst admitted the split came down to creative differences over "Gold Cobra" - which suffered disappointing sales.
Two years later, Limp Bizkit returned with "Stampede Of The Disco Elephants," "I think it's a little bit more, sort of playful, taking chances, a little less pop, structured type of stuff," explained Borland. "I don't want to say it [sounds] younger, but maybe a little more carefree, musically, to where we don't over-think what we're doing."
There are a lot of things a group can do to prolong a career that is well past its prime. There are county fairs and casino tours - but a lot of groups don't fit that mold. There's the oldies circuit but that too requires a good fit - do fans want to see the band or are they embarrassed they ever liked them in the first place? Several groups have gone the cruise route. Take fans away from the real world and give them the experience of partying with the band.
While spending five days sailing from Miami to the Bahamas with Limp Bizkit might not be everyone's idea of a dream vacation, it was no pleasure cruise for at least one band member.
"Can't wait to see some roided-out, tribal-tattooed, spray-tanned, Jell-O shot-filled bohunks do their best drunk MMA (mixed martial arts) impressions in the top-deck moshpit," wrote Borland on Instagram, just prior to a '15 Bizkit headlining excursion.
Even with glorious scenery Borland still wasn't onboard. "Whenever we aren't on stage I'll be curled up fetal-position in my cabin, palms up, while I desperately cling to the last week of my thirties as it slips through my hooked fingers." That's the spirit.
1997 Three Dollar Bill, Y'all
1999 Significant Other
2000 Chocolate St*rfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water
2003 Results May Vary
2005 The Unquestionable Truth (Part I)
2011 Gold Cobra
2013 Stampede Of The Disco Elephants
"Three Dollar Bill, Y'all" is a good debut but the next CD, "Significant Other," is more intense. It's the album to get. "Chocolate St*rfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water" tries to be harder, heavier and denser than their previous work but it comes off slapdash and hurried. By the third album or so it's difficult, if not impossible, to manage touring, writing and recording. There's no song backlog and the pressure becomes severe. Something has to give.
While not as a big a seller as previous efforts, "The Unquestionable Truth (Part I)" represents a return to form. "Results May Vary" had its moments and Smith proved he could run with the pack. But he's no Borland. And while Borland's return gives "Truth" a lift, it's not enough. After that, Bizkit is done.
All Limp Bizkit albums carry the lovely parental advisory sticker.