It's 2013, Who Still Listens to Limp Bizkit?
Rape Rock [reyp rok], noun: incredibly aggressive music, frequently integrated with rap, performed exclusively by males of the white persuasion. Reached the height of its popularity in the late 90s/early 00s. Lyrical content exclusively covered one of two subjects:
1. How “fucked” society is
2. The evils of a woman who has wronged the band’s frontman
When I was in high school, I owned multiple Bikini Kill shirts. I didn’t wear makeup. I wrote for Ms. Magazine. I was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a Limp Bizkit fan. At the time, I was in the minority. Limp Bizkit was, devoid of hyperbole, the biggest band in the world. In the decade that’s transpired since, people have attempted to rewrite this sad chapter in American history. Society’s disavowment of Limp Bizkit’s popularity, however, is tantamount to Holocaust denial. Listen, we know it happened. We have photographic evidence, for Christ’s sake. Regardless, finding someone who freely admits their former love of the Bizkit is damn near impossible. It’s easier to find Sasquatch than to find someone who still unabashedly loves them. Or is it?
I graduated high school twelve years ago. I still self-identify as a feminist, but I also identify as a Rape Rock fan (“Rape Rock” being the genre I coined for music of Limp Bizkit’s ilk). What can I say? I love the lyrics’ blind, impotent rage, and awe-inspiring lack of self-awareness. I love the pageantry. Once again, I am in the minority. Which is why, when I found out the Bizkit’s show at Hollywood’s House of Blues sold out, my mind was irreparably blown. SOLD OUT? Are you kidding me? Quoth Fred Durst’s impassioned plea at the end of the song “Boiler,” “Whhhhyyyyy?” I had to find out. I scalped a ticket in the parking lot of a Hollywood strip mall. It felt right.
The first thing I saw when I approached the venue was a line snaked around the block, the demographics of which were eclectic, yet sensical. Nondescript Sunset Strip butt-rockers, bored looking babes accompanied by P90Xed boyfriends, a stout man in an eye patch, a dude sporting a Spencer’s Gifts approved “I Have Issues” shirt, and a smattering of women wearing JNCO-esque jeans and backwards red caps excitedly waited to be let inside and given access to $12 beers. The stench of Axe body spray hung heavy in the air. Why was everyone here? I put my cub reporter cap on and asked them, “What does Limp Bizkit mean to you?”
Dinah: “Fred Durst is a cultural icon. Limp Bizkit is God. When I hear ‘Nookie,’ my heart sings and I feel alive. There are no words to express my love for Durst and Wes Borland. Limp Bizkit is my favorite band in the whole world.”
Jeremy: “I never understood why people went from absolute love to absolute hate. [Limp Bizkit’s] got absolute style, absolute attitude. I still love it.”
David: “I’ve come to the House of Blues for the last 13 shows. I like the intimacy of it. Limp Bizkit has been my favorite since high school; I just wanted to see what they’re like as a live band. I have all their albums. I had their first records on disc, but they got stolen; I’ve got burnt copies now. The WWE carried the torch for me to be a fan. They used their songs for Pay-Per-View events, they were the theme song for some wrestlers. When I was in high school, they did a song with Kevin Rudolph. The paint on my face is actually the initials of the band. I don’t do that all the time, just for my favorite bands. It’s kinda like a free spirited thing.”
Mycle: “They’re upbeat, they’re fun, they make me feel young again. My kids are so jealous I’m here. My daughter’s 22 now, but when she was 12, she’d always ask me, ‘Mommy, what does brown flower mean?’ ‘Cause, you know...chocolate starfish.”
Andrew: “I was telling people last week that I was going to see Limp Bizkit, and they were asking me, ‘what’s their music like?' And I was just, like, ‘crazy stuff.’ To me, it’s just noise to drown out stuff. I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way, like the duality of man shit, but it’s just noise to me. Why am I here? To fucking go to a show! And Fred Durst did a song with ICP, so maybe they’ll give a shout out to my hat. This is like a flashback to where we were ten years ago. It’s like... have you ever seen that documentary, Merchants of Cool? The guy that made it, Douglas Rushkoff, is a really smart dude. But when it comes down to it, it’s just good music. It’s a really good time.”
The lights went down. The opening act, a tanktopped white guy rockin’ a backwards cap, took the stage. He was a one-band band; a date rapist Jon Brion, “makin’ it all live in front of you, with pedals.” He asked the crowd, “This is southern California. Who likes Sublime?” The crowd went fucking nuts. “OK...who wants to hear ‘Date Rape’?” The crowd went fucking nutser. I had to take a break.
I went outside for a smoke and encountered a woman whose look could only be described as “Pre-9/11 Christina Aguilera.” Lightly curled, waist length, bleach blonde hair, jeans tight enough to give her a yeast infection, she held court in front of a gaggle of bros. She name-dropped Tom Green, explaining that he was supposed to open the show but couldn’t. One of her pals replied, “I would have rather had Tom Green.” I silently concurred. She cooed, “This is soooo random! It’s like a reunion! And now I’m a porn star! If you ever need anything, Limp Bizkit, hit me up. I toured with ‘em last summer.” After promising to hook the bros up, she took her leave.
One bro turned to the other and said, “She’s gonna snort some blow, go inside, and forget about us. I’ll text her. What’s the worst that could happen, she never talks to me again?” I silently concurred.
The Bizkit finally took the stage. Their adoring public screamed in ecstasy. Before they even played a note, the smell of weed filled the room. It never dissipated.
Kicking out hit after hit, informing the crowd that “David Arquette [was] up in this motherfucker,” accompanied onstage by Corey Feldman (who fucking MOONWALKED with the band during their cover of “Billie Jean” whilst dressed as Wacko Jacko himself), it was as if the past decade had never happened. The band, and their fans, were in their element. It was no longer a House of Blues. It was a home.