SANTA MONICA, California — Just as he wrote on his Web site, Fred Durst vowed during a recent studio session that Limp Bizkit wouldn't be doing press for their upcoming fifth studio album.
But come on, this is Fred Durst.
And while he clearly has a new outlook on life, in the end the singer just couldn't refuse talking passionately and provocatively about the new record, Wes Borland rejoining the band and the Haterade drinkers who dis Limp Bizkit.
"We've been through a lot," Durst said. "Limp Bizkit is going on nine years this year and ... we were so fortunate to have been picked up by our peers and put on the shoulders of our peers and asked to be a voice, and then had our same peers do everything they could to destroy us and rip us down from that place. It was a great learning experience and now that we're back down, we're just Limp Bizkit again. Things are raw. Things aren't the same. Were not high rollin'. It's just about the art. We're not interested in the fair-weather friends. We're not interested in the television success, the radio success."
What Bizkit are interested in is returning to the same styles and philosophies the band was formed upon back in Jacksonville, Florida, in the mid-'90s — which should be easier now that their guitarist from that era has returned after three years away (see "Wes Borland Back With Limp Bizkit").
"Just when you don't expect something to happen, it happens," Durst said of Borland's return. "We needed to get it out of us, and me and Wes realized that I'm the best producer for him, he's the best guitar player for me — it's just that way. We came to those terms after going away for a bit. I'm really grateful because he's my favorite guitar player, and if anybody ever thought that Wes Borland was a good guitar player, they're going to think that he's the greatest. This is the best work he's ever done. It's Wes' record to shine. It's all guitars. It's all brutal. It's heavy."
Limp Bizkit are also reuniting with Ross Robinson, the metal pioneer who produced their 1997 debut, Three Dollar Bill Y'All.
"Emotionally, I was affected a lot by Rage Against the Machine, not specifically the literal intention of the words or what it was about, but the feel, the sound, those phrases that got me," Durst said. "And I believe this is exactly where they left off."
While writing lyrics for the record, Durst realized he needed to change his approach.
"I usually find several ways to express myself: different moods, different days, different voices, different things, 'I'm lighthearted today, I'm gonna do this,' " he explained. "But it's almost like President Bush said, 'You can't confuse the enemy. You send out a message and you gotta stick to it. You can't go up and down.' So this record ... I'm the same guy at that podium preaching to the people on every single song. I'm not doing a dance for you on another song. It's all a direct assault."
Durst changed his environment for songwriting, relocating to Prague for a month to write four tracks.
"Prague is a dark place," he said. "It's very gothic and the aesthetic of it is bizarre and just beautiful. It's like walking around [during] WWII or something. I got over there and tried to get in my Edgar Allan Poe mind frame. Drank some absinth. It's pretty crazy stuff. It triggers something inside of me. ... And just everything about [Prague], the cobblestone streets, the temples and the castles, Harry Potter-lookin' buildings and stuff — it was stimulating."
Bizkit's last album, Results May Vary, carried with it not only the drama surrounding the replacement of Borland, but also Durst's much-publicized romancing of Britney Spears (and tabloid headlines continue to follow the singer; see "Fred Durst Strikes Back After Sex-Tape Leak"). By the time it hit shelves, the band had become a punch line as well as a symbol of the declining popularity of nü-metal, and Durst is well aware of it.
"Everybody loves the underdog, and then they take an underdog and make him a hero and they hate him," he said. "But as long as they can knock you back down, it seems like if you're an underdog again, and things do surface, and they think this is real, 'these guys' intentions are genuine and sincere,' it seems like they will embrace you again."