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Metal Hammer
Metal Hammer
Matt Mills

“Don’t show up at my shows or you’ll get ****ed”: Fred Durst once threatened a nu metal band for turning down a record deal

Photos of Fred Durst and Taproot

When you’re trying to make it big in the nu metal era, turning down an opportunity from a figurehead as massive as Fred Durst is certainly… brave. Not only was the man who now possesses dad vibes the leader of Limp Bizkit but, at one point, he also headed a record label: a subsidiary of Interscope called Flawless. He did a pretty solid job of it too, getting Puddle Of Mudd and Wes Borland solo band Big Dumb Face onto the roster.

The one band that Durst couldn’t get a hold of, though, was Taproot. The frontman and the nu metal up-and-comers (today best know for the song Poem) had an intense love-hate affair. When the Limp Bizkit frontman first heard them, he fell hard, spending plenty of time with lead singer Stephen Richards and wearing their merch. But then the band turned down what they deemed to be an unfair Interscope record deal and the relationship soured at phenomenal speed.

Durst, clearly feeling betrayed after getting shot down by a band he championed, vocalised his hurt on a threatening voicemail to Richards (heard below). “Hey man, you fucked up!” the singer said sternly.

“You don’t ever bite the hand that feeds in this business. Your fucking manager is a fucking idiot: a loser motherfucker going nowhere. You have just chosen that path. I took you under my wing, put you in my house, talked about your ass on the radio [and] in press, and you embarrassed me and the Interscope family. Your association with Limp Bizkit doesn’t exist. Your manager slings our name around, he’s gonna be blackballed, and you will too.”

Durst later added: “Don’t fucking show up at my shows: if you do, you’re gonna get fucked. You’re learning right now exactly how to ruin your career before it gets started.”

Ironically, Durst gave Taproot their most famous moment during his tirade – or second-most, given Poem reached number five in the US rock charts. The audio of the voicemail quickly leaked onto the internet, and the band have since said they have a mixed relationship with all the attention it brought them.

“For a while it had a positive effect,” Richards told Rolling Stone in 2002. “The kids were like, ‘Fuck Fred! We totally respect you guys for doing that.’ But at the same time, that was kind of the only reason people knew about us – it kind of put a negative feeling on our band.”

Happily, Taproot are still a band today, with a new album called Scissrs [sic] dropping on September 29.

Listen to the full Fred Durst voicemail below:

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