To tell you the truth, I’m not really a fan of this “new metal,” or whatever you want to call it. I have nothing against rap — Will Smith sounds pretty bitchin’ after six or seven Coronas — but metal is special. You don’t mess with a perfect art form. Call me a purist, but that’s just the way I am.
|Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit|
Then my little brother sent me Limp Bizkit’s “Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water” for my birthday. “Hey, one listen to this and you’ll forget that Geritol-chuggin’ Rob Halford,” he wrote. “This is the bomb!”
I didn’t care if it was a scud missile, I’d just as soon toss it in the trash (unburnable, of course). But as a joke, I gave it to my man Toshi, telling him it was the new side project of Vince Neil. He called me back and said, “It’s like . . . ,” and suddenly went quiet. Man, I thought, it must be good.
And, dammit, it is good. I mean, Fred Durst is as much of a weenie as he thinks he is, but guitarist Wes Borland? Aces high! The guy obviously worships at the altar of Motorhead-era Larry Wallis, and while the white mask and leather get-up are kind of corny, it shows his heart is in the right place.
So Toshi and I trucked on over to Makuhari Messe, the big convention center complex in Chiba, to check out their concert on Jan. 13. “This place is huge,” I said, staring up at the ceiling, which looked about a mile away.
“This place is cold,” said Toshi, shivering. We kept our parkas on, but most of the crowd stashed their stuff in lockers and were milling around in T-shirts and baggy shorts. They were a rowdy bunch, too. Toshi accidentally walked in front of a girl who was taking a picture of her friends and got beaten up. I tried to rush him to First Aid, but we got stopped by a polite young security guard at the fence.
“You need A-block tickets to go there,” he said, smiling. “Your tickets are C-block.”
“But he’s bleeding,” I said.
He thought for a second. “Try the T-shirt booth.”
There was a line of about 50 people, so I took Toshi into the men’s room and managed to stanch the flow with some pocket tissues. “Rock ‘n’ roll,” he said, smiling weakly, and then we heard the crowd explode.
“Who’s in the house tonight?” screamed DJ Lethal, the group’s turntable guy. Everyone was flashing the LB hand signal — thumb, index finger and pinkie extended — and then Fred Durst, with his famous red baseball cap, ran out and the place went berserk. “Tokyo’s in the house tonight!” he screamed. Obviously, no one had told him this was Chiba.
They opened with “Hot Dog,” the first song on the new album, which is Durst’s attempt to shatter the world’s record, currently held by a California oi band called Free Beer or Die, for the most mentions of the f-word in a three minute song. It’s also supposed to be a dis at Trent Reznor, who made fun of Durst in a Nine Inch Nails video. And it’s also about Durst’s rectum, or, at least, the “chocolate starfish” part. Talk about your subtext.
“Are you ready to get this sh*t started?” Durst asked the crowd, who looked at him blankly until some Japanese dude came on the P.A. and translated what he said. Then they went crazy. The band plowed into “Show Me What You Got” from their second album, “Significant Odor,” and Durst started spazzing out onstage.
They followed with “Break Stuff,” which is exactly what Lethal seemed to be doing to his turntables. “Why is he pounding them like that,” Toshi asked me. Since all I could hear was Borland’s chain-saw guitar, I didn’t know what the hell Lethal was doing until I saw the dough fly in the air. “I think he’s making pizza,” I said.
“My Generation” was next. Not the Who song, but Bizkit’s own comment on how no one has a right to complain about youth because everybody was young and stupid once, just like the band is now. “Hey kid,” Durst bellowed, “you don’t want to step in a pile of sh*t, the captain’s drunk, your world is Titanic.” Words to live by. Durst got the audience to join in on the chorus, “me and my generation,” though from where I stood it sounded like “rinky-dink generation.”
Bizkit’s music is raunchy and has a reputation for making young men violent and want to watch reruns of “Starsky and Hutch” all day, but Durst is actually a very warm guy. “All of us are one tonight,” he told the audience during a well-deserved break in the action, but the Japanese dude translated it as “Let’s all go out together after the show.” The audience roared happily. Then Durst said, “Can you feel me? Cause I can feel you”; but the translation came out as “Do you want to touch me? Because I want to touch you.” The girls roared.
“Rock ‘n’ roll,” Toshi said approvingly, and I could tell he was ready to do just that in spite of the wad of pinkish tissues blooming out of the side of his head.
On “Re-Arranged,” Lethal showed his stuff to max effect, throwing off a cool dual-turntable solo. He did some supersonic scratching, managed to make a bass loop sound like Donald Duck, and at the same time whipped up three extra larges with pepperoni and anchovy. He segued into “Livin’ It Up” and then during the mellow intro to “9 Teen 90 Nine” Durst asked everybody with a cigarette lighter to light it and hold it aloft. I won’t lie. I was touched. Those old memories came flooding back: Van Halen at the Cow Palace 1983, Nugent at Oakland Coliseum 1985, Bush-Quayle at the Republican Convention 1988.
“I want you to stay and blow me away,” Durst freestyled, but the translator apparently thought he said, “I want you to stay and blow me anyway.” The guys roared.
Then it was the covers part of the show. They played, “Faith,” that song by George Michaels who, like Limp Bizkit, is not afraid to thumb his nose at society. Durst dedicated it to “all the ladies from all the guys for making our lives miserable.” Yo, I’ve been there.
And then he really dropped a bomb. “Does anyone like Metallica?” Durst asked, and of course me and Toshi went nuts. Borland, in his metal android get-up, launched into “Master of Puppets,” while Durst bit the heads off of chocolate bunnies. Toshi was screaming ecstatically. The last time I saw him that happy was during the encore of Sabbath’s reunion tour when the Oz underwent a root canal right there onstage.
Durst really knows how to get down with the audience, too. Several times he brought girls up on stage and had them dance. He even bought a guy up for “My Way” (not the Frank Sinatra song). The kid, who was dressed like Durst in red cap, T-shirt and baggy pants, followed him around on stage like a puppy and when the song was over Durst hugged him and the guy dived off the stage head first. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
At one point, they even brought out a team of break dancers to prove that they really did know some black people. It wasn’t just a rumor.
Even if the concert had ended there, I would have counted myself a full-fledged fan, but the best was yet to come. “Does anybody know what a nookie is?” Durst asked and of course everybody’s seen “Star Wars” so we got all excited as the band launched into “Nookie” and Durst disappeared, only to appear . . . almost right next to us, IN C-BLOCK!
“So you can take that cookie,” he yelled, standing on a special platform in the back of the hall while we all boogied around him, “and shove it up your . . . ”
The whole crowd finished the sentence, showering him with love in the form of towels, bottles, cans, chunks of cement. Toshi even threw his tissues at him. Brothers in blood. New metal’s the bomb-and-a-half!
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