Just as Jeff Smith made a little go a long way as the Frugal Gourmet, Fred Durst may add Frugal MC to his repertoire as he approaches his band's new album with a "less is more" philosophy and a sensitive side befitting a man in an apron.
"This album is about getting in touch with yourself a little bit," he said. "About accepting things a little bit more, maybe accepting the fact that you can't control or change everything and it is the way it is. Sometimes it's about less is more. It's about the seed. Thinking about this gigantic tree that you think is so beautiful but it started with this just seed. So 'less is more' is sort of the theme."
If Durst sounds more in touch with his feelings, he is, and he attributes the emergence of a fuzzier Fred to a combination of turning over a new leaf post-9/11 and listening to music that might shock some of his fans - "classical, Patsy Cline, Mazzy Star, the Cure, ... a lot of things that make me feel sensitive and vulnerable."
Durst has written 32 songs with bandmates John Otto (drums) and Sam Rivers (bass) for the new album, which he said should be out by spring. The bass and drum parts on some songs have already been recorded, leaving Durst to lay down his vocals. Not all songs are as complete, however, and Durst has frequently departed his Los Angeles headquarters — he was in Miami recently and visited New York Wednesday — less for inspiration and more to just free himself from the confines of the everyday.
"I'm trying to get away from my businesses in Los Angeles," he explained. "I want to clear my mind a little bit and give my mind a little bit of time to breathe so I can pinpoint or at least nail down feelings I'm having and that I've had for the last however long. I need to nail them down long enough to actually write about and elaborate on them."
A year ago, Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland left (see "Wes Borland: Why He Left Limp Bizkit"), and after a nationwide search for a replacement proved fruitless, the multifaceted frontman did what would be expected of someone with Durst's "just watch me" attitude: he learned to play the instrument himself ("Fred Durst Taking Guitar Matters Into His Own Hands?").
Whatever licks Durst doles out on the fourth Bizkit album won't have arisen completely independently, however. He had help from former Helmet singer/guitarist Page Hamilton, Korn's Brian "Head" Welch and some guitarists he kept secret, though he's not sure whether any will actually appear on the new album.
With all the tangents his career has taken since Limp Bizkit's Three Dollar Bill, Y'all (1997), one might think that Durst has lost touch with the rambunctious Jacksonville, Florida, rap-rocker he once was. Quite the contrary.
"I'm actually now finding the real Fred Durst," he revealed. "I have always been Fred Durst and I've always been me. [You understand yourself better] when you have more time and freedom to actually spend time dealing with yourself. When life was worrying about a car payment or a rent payment and a bill, you're so consumed with that, you really don't have time to know yourself. That's surviving and getting by. Once you get in a position where your rent is taken care of and you do have a job, you really get to deal with yourself and really become one with yourself. And you wake to your mind every day. That's your best friend and your worst enemy — your own brain."
Besides the album, Durst is preparing to direct the feature film "Lords of Dogtown," a coming-of-age flick about skateboarding pioneers in 1976, written by former pro skater Stacy Peralta. He said the script is completed and they're in the process of securing financing. Then it's on to the casting stage, where Durst said it's easier to find real skaters able to memorize a few lines than to teach "pretty-boy" actor types to shred a drained swimming pool.
"We have to find people who could actually skate and act," he explained. "We're going to start with skaters, instead of some Hollywood hotshots who may be real polishy and trendy. We're going to find some real, genuine heroes who are just unsung in the world of acting and make stars of them. It's my 'American Graffiti.' "