Is Fred Durst turning into a softy? “I think we’ve just been shown that there’s an easy way to take a bad path and that it’s more of a struggle to be a better person,” says Limp Bizkit’s frontman, explaining how he’s become a “totally different person” since the September 11th terrorist attacks. “I’d rather be someone to help in the big scheme of things because I’m in a position to speak to people.” This year, Durst watched his protégés in Staind — whom he mentored and signed to his Flip label — release the best-selling rock album of 2001. And the debut by another one of his signings, grunge-metalheads Puddle of Mudd, went gold after only eight weeks. He believes that everything that happens has its purpose, and so he greeted the recent departure of guitarist Wes Borland with aplomb. In recruiting a new member, Durst vows, Limp Bizkit will reinvent themselves. “We’re so excited to turn over a new leaf,” he says.
What’s the best thing that happened for you this year?
Personally, the high point was my son, Dallas, being born. He looks exactly like me, except in shrunk-down, alien form. The special thing about having a newborn is you look at them and they’re still living with the angels, you know? I had my daughter when I was twenty, and I’ve changed a lot in eleven years. The world keeps evolving, and now here comes Dallas. And he will evolve, too.
How did September 11th affect you?
I kept thinking, “Why is this happening?” I’m looking at this happen on TV, and I’m looking at my son. It makes me pray for things to be better. The reality is, I’m really happy to be alive to be able to do what I want to do when I want to do it in this country.
Has it changed you?
I know people who, since this has happened, still have beefs with people. There’s not time for that right now. My fans are like, “Hey, man, you’re not mad at this guy anymore?” or “There’s no more beef there?” And I’m like, “You know what? No.” I realize that it’s very petty.
The next record is going to be different because everything I’m feeling is different now. Everything I’ve felt that was very sensitive and positive before is times ten. Everything that I’ve felt that was negative, that was personal and very emotional, has become null, almost. I don’t even have time for it.
So what happened with Wes?
When Wes left, we were all very shocked, even though we’d seen hints it was coming. Nobody’s betrayed anybody, and I hope Wes will be happy. I told Wes, like, “Tom Petty doesn’t need to wear the top hat his whole life, and me, I don’t need to wear this red ball cap. I don’t think you’ve got to be this guy painting himself.”
It’s all about the music. We were trying to write the new album, and Wes was writing very eclectic stuff, and he became very, very obsessed with Radiohead. Maybe a month later, he just gave up. He’s a human being, and he’s allowed to feel that way.
So who’s going to replace him?
In November, we’re going to do another tour, and we’re just going to go city to city and rent rehearsal spaces and let one guitarist after another jam with us. I think we’re going to find some unsung hero who’s going to give us that excitement and fun that Wes didn’t have anymore. It’s like everything is happening for a reason.
What do you mean?
It’s time for Limp Bizkit to reinvent. It’s time for change, and I’m here for a reason. I don’t think I’m going to ride this negative wave — I’m sure of it.