Limp Bizkit was Once One of the Biggest Bands in the World. Then They Weren’t. What Happened?

At the height of nü-metal, Limp Bizkit headlined the Anger Management Tour at the Skydome in Toronto. I seem to recall the gig attracted close to 60,000 people. Rarely has so much testosterone been collected in a single receptacle.  Or maybe I just dreamed that number. Whatever the case, the show was massive.

But just a few years later, no one cared about Limp Bizkit. People not only stopped being fans, they denied every being fans. Bizkit, and, more specifically, frontman Fred Durst, became the but of jokes. It’s not much of a stretch to say that these days, even Nickelback has more love and attention thrown their way.

What happened? Consequence of Sound takes a look.

It is hard to overstate just how huge Limp Bizkit was during its heyday. In 1999, coming at the tail end of when the record industry was structured around actually selling records, the band’s second album, Significant Other, sold more than 7 million copies in the U.S. off the strength of hits like “Re-Arranged” and the at-the-time inescapable “Nookie.” Two years later, the insanely titled follow-up,Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water, sold another 6 million.

Then the bottom fell out. Guitarist Wes Borland, arguably the creative force behind Limp Bizkit’s sound, if not overall aesthetic, quit the band. Its first Borland-less album, 2003’s Results May Vary, sold 1.5 million copies in the U.S. Subsequent albums sold even less, with no songs getting major radio play, even after Borland returned after discovering that making near-unlistenable music in projects like Big Dumb Face paid substantially less than his old job. Limp Bizkit had its time in the sun and like many bands before it, had faded into a distant memory.

The only consolation for Limp Bizkit was that, because of its ubiquitousness, it, along with its mentors in Korn, had become the face of the entire nü-metal genre. The bad news is that the entire genre is remembered, when it’s remembered at all, as the last gasp of the angry white male as a demographic to be catered to. Durst’s popularity would mean he would take the jabs that should have been directed to the genre as a whole. Nobody is making jokes at Drowning Pool’s expense.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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