Specialists in big churning riffs and even bigger chant-along choruses: it's Aerosmith's fault
Shifting units and moving crowds, LIMP BIZKIT are leaders of the nu metal school. It may be ‘big dumb rock music’ but they’re only the tip of the rock iceberg.
Words: Rockman ‘Rock’ Robertson
eading Festival 2000. Friday afternoon. (‘entre stage is a stocky American lad in his obligatory red skip cap and Adidas sneakers. This is William ‘Fred‘ Durst. frontman. mouthpiece and iconic leader of Limp Bi/kit. the crown princes of nu metal. Despite this being a mid-afterntmn set (wedged bizarrely between Asian Dub Foundation and The Bluetones ~ this is a
ﬂ'stit'ul after all) the sweaty hordes assembled at the front of the stage number as many
as those who will collect later for the evening‘s headline act ()asis.
lf Reading was the warning shot then the Bizkit roadshow rolling into town this month is the conquering army on the march. They have become one of the biggest in the world today. Limp Bizkit are. however. just the tip of a huge iceberg. There are literally hundreds of bands circulating. all tagged with the ‘nu metal' daub.
The phrase ‘nu metal‘ is something contrived to make sub—genre musical pigeon— holing easier. Those who remain in the long haired. doomy side. taking inlluence from the British new wave of heavy metal in the late 70s as well as the classic 80s and ()lls
outfits such as Slayer and Metallica are technically old-school metal. The first whiffof a blunt. sight of a baggy trouserleg or sound of a hip hop beat and. hey. you‘re nu metal!
In reality. this need for another sub-category was born out of an influx of rock music into mainstream culture — studded belts in Top Shop, AC/DC becoming ironic legends and not tired old codgers and David Beckham in a Saxon T—shin. fer Chissakesl That is to say rock has always been there — both Glasgow and lidinburgh continue to host strong local metal scenes — but the press have sat up and taken notice.
In musical terms. a huge number of bands — predominately American — have broken through and found a huge following and they all make great rock music. Del'tones. Queens Of the Stoneage.
Amen. Tool. Slipknot. At The Drive-In have all been roped in. deservedly or not. There is also a whole other bunch who follow the Limp Bizkit formula to more or less success: Papa Roach sure can knock out a tune while Incubus and Disturbed could hold their own in any rock ruck. lnevitably there are many Johnny-come-lately‘s who follow the blueprint without any flair or imagination. You have been warned.
The cynics may point to a shift by the multinational record labels (the ‘big six' all have their fair share of new rock acts complementing their pop heavy rosters). but this is partially a reaction to what was going on the US music scene. Hip hop. country and R & B have all had their turn as the most popular musical form in the US over the last fifteen years. Now. for the first time since the 70s. rock could make a return to the top.
Limp Bizkit's formula is a simple one: a rapper/MC and DJ backed by a fat funky metal trio. Limp Bizkit deal in big churning riffs. even bigger chant-a-long choruses. with a crude. if familiar message: the world is a messed-up place. I am an outsider in it. but I will do what I can to survive.
They broke into the public consciousness in I997 with their clanking cover of George Michael's ‘Faith‘. This. along with a place on the hugely successful ‘Family Values’ tour — a coast-to-coast US rock/rap crossover jaunt with the likes of Kom and Ice Cube in 1998 — cemented their status as the nation’s preferred rock act in North America. Their latest album. 2000's abysmally titled Chum/ate Starﬁsh And The Hot Dog Flavoured Water was the first rock record to shift one million units in America in its first week of release. They also enjoyed simultaneous transatlantic US and UK album number ones and most significantly here. simultaneous album and single number ones in Britain. a feat neither L72 nor REM. the current ‘biggest bands in the world' could muster. D
24 May—7 June 2001 THE LIST 21