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With new deal and new album, Limp Bizkit is still going strong
After nearly two decades of being loved and loathed, Limp Bizkit is cashing in.
That would be as in Ca$h Money, the hip-hop label that signed the rap rock group into its fold last year. The move has clearly rejuvenated the band, with a No. 1 iTunes single in "Ready To Go" -- which features rapper Lil Wayne -- and a new album, "Stampede of the Disco Elephants," expected out later this year and generating more anticipation than Limp Bizkit has experienced since its multi-platinum late 90s heyday.
"It feels exciting again," notes guitarist Wes Borland, who's in the process of mixing the instrumental portion of the new album with frontman Fred Durst is working on vocals while Limp Bizkit is touring North America. "It feels like there's a certain level of freshness to it, and that people in a way have...maybe not forgiven us for past sins but are kind of OK with watching what we do in the future and looking past what we've done in the past.
"I think they're ready to hear it again and just see the fun in it without seeing through very biased eyes."
Limp Bizkit is certainly a case study in polarizing an audience. It's sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and been nominated for three Grammy Awards, and at one point it dominated rock radio with hits such as "Nookie," "Re-Arranged," "Take a Look Around," "Rollin' " and "My Way." But it was also a target for some particularly vicious critical bile, and Durst developed a reputation for provocative and unapologetic responses to the band's haters that only inflamed the hostilities.
"Yeah, we've heard it all. Any insult someone could possible give us, we've heard it already -- and we get it," Borland, 38, says. "We understand the disdain that's out there for our band, and that's fine. Tons of people really We've always been polarizing, but that's another thing that just makes us what we are is that tons of people can't stand us and tons of people really like us.
"And that has not seemed to change."
Borland and the band -- which also includes bassist Sam Rivers and drummer John Otto, while DJ Lethal (Leors Dimant) remains on the sidelines for now -- have long since learned to block out the naysayers, even moreso as it's making "Stampede..." For Durst, working with the Ca$h Money has liberated Limp Bizkit to break the conventional rules of recording he feels hampered the band before.
"To keep moving forward, sometimes you've got to make some changes," says Durst, 42. "This has enabled me to make my rock music in a hip-hop fashion. I'm going to get with the producers, get with the people in the Cash Money camp, go wherever I need to go -- Miami, Atlanta. You just come in and you're there and you give it 110 percent for 12 hours, 24, 36 hours and you leave with a song.
"That's the vibe. You go in and walk out with a monster and keep moving forward song after song."
Borland says that "pretty much all of the music" is done for "Stampede...," while the vocals are "probably 30 percent done." He's leaving open the possibility for more guest appearances from Ca$h Money artists, "probably at the last minute," but he concurs with Durst that making the album has been "a little more pressure-free and a little more fun" than recent predecessors such as 2011's "Gold Cobra" and 2003's "Results May Vary."
"I think it's a little bit more playful, taking chances, a little less pop-structured," the guitarist says. "I think it's a little more carefree, musically. to where we don't overthink what we're doing. We're leaving mistakes in and going, 'Oh, that sounds great,' so there's not a lot of thinking and polishing this time.
"It's sounding live and sort of wild. That's the sound we're going for on the entire album."
Durst's description: "It sounds like a monster; it literally sounds dangerous. It sounds like that left of center, that place of discomfort that created rock 'n' roll, created the (heavy) metal, where it all spawned from."
Limp Bizkit fans, meanwhile, are wondering about the fate of DJ Lethal, who's been out of the band (DJ Skeletor is taking his place) since last year after a series of vitriolic tweets and subsequent mea culpas that have helped cool the rhetoric but not yet paved a path back into the group.
"I don't know what he would do if he came back into the band," Borland says. "He's kind of all over the place, and I don't know if he wants to be in the band. When we had him back, nothing really materialized as far as material coming out of him to add to the record.
"We're talking to him. We've opened up the dialogue back up with him recently, so we'll see what happens."
Limp Bizkit performs Saturday, May 11, at Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are sold out. Call 313-961-6358 or visit www.saintandrewsdetroit.com.
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