You can thank Fieldy’s greasy epidermis for Limp Bizkit. While the Korn bassist was getting inked up in Jacksonville, his tattoo artist passed him a demo tape. This Rembrandt of the bicep barbed wire’s demo passed through whatever channels Korn possesses until it reached someone with the purse strings who liked what he heard. As easily as that, Fred Durst went from scrawling serpents on sailors to embarking on a career of embarrassing Who remakes. |
With the high-powered backing of the Korn machine, Limp Bizkit germinated in the fertile nu metal furrow of the late 90’s. The seed rooted itself in George Michael covering, sprouted in stuff breaking, and developed a smut fungus in urban air assault rolling. The Bizkit was brought by the metal kids to the pop fans and pulled a metal Mandela in uniting these two incompatible groups in their eventual revulsion to lyrics like, “Welcome to the jungle, punk. Take a look around. It’s Limp Bizkit fucking up your town!”
Outside of “Faith,” Three Dollar Bill is still quietly liked by many as a decent album. It’s hard to look past Faith, however, considering it accomplished the previously unimaginable feat of losing to George Michael in a music-making contest. Durst’s warbly verses alone were enough to sink the track, but it was his screaming during the chorus that left a gigantic JNCO blotch on my adolescence. Nu metal produced a lot of horrendous screams, just repulsive voice box ejaculations, but no other examples can quite measure up in dubious glory to Durst’s half-gagging yelling of the Faith chorus. But it was 1997 and nobody knew any better. I knew plenty of people, some of whom may be writing this, that thought Faith was a great song. Ask these same people today if they ever liked Faith, and you get denials with a fervency seldom seen since Nuremberg.
Faith wasn’t what made Limp Bizkit a worldwide phenomenon, though. That came with the release of “Significant Other.” Significant Other secreted nu metal out of every orifice, some more voluminously than others. The cover of the album is a graffiti-style illustration of Fred Durst spitting his piece with five-foot fingers. You had the repetitive detuned seven-string riff lines of “Break Stuff,” the obvious radio play in “Rearranged,” and the obligatory guest rapper tune in “Everybody N 2 Gether Now.” Chances are you just said, “Shut the fuck up!” in your Fred Durst voice, who always makes for pleasant imitative mockery. But if you’re going to talk about one song from Limp Bizkit that epitomizes nu metal, there can be no other choice than “Nookie.” This is the song that blasted the band from the obscurity of dropout’s hats to Carson Daly’s first horrible television program.
Nookie --- Significant Other --- 1999
All forms of metal are predicated on angry people getting revenge for something. The real life catharsis is accomplished through the lyrics, which typically feature vengeance equal parts violent and ridiculous. Nu metal was no different, and Nookie was one of these types of songs. Death metal bands get their revenge like Slayer, where your sister gets her heart chewed out of her chest by Dracula while a sinister priest lights his own shit on fire. Nu metal took things less seriously, focusing more on the vengeance of a suburban teenager. In Nookie, Fred’s girlfriend was finding her way around the neighborhood and everyone knew it but him. While Slayer would send in the Transylvanians, Fred serves the nameless female her comeuppance by letting her know that he only dated her for the “nookie.” As far as metal revenge goes, this bite is more Whiskers than Mufasa. But as hard as it is to believe, the mainstream public is more likely to buy music centered on revenge sex than a clergyman torching his own excrement. Strange but true.
A girl in my class would routinely wear a tiny white tank top to school with a fortune cookie on the front. Leaking out of it was the usual piece of paper, which read, “I did it for the nookie.” Simple, subtle, and at the time, sexy. It’s hard to imagine Cannibal Corpse putting out a t-shirt with Chinese treats on it, but if they did, the Chinese part would be hundreds of Shanghai peasants and the treat would be an anthropomorphic bearclaw drowning them in a volcano of sugar glaze.
I did it all for the nookie (come on) the nookie (come on)
so you can take that cookie and stick it up your (yeah)
stick it up your (yeah) stick it up your (yeah)
This is the song’s chorus. While picked partially to play into my memory of the song, I also like it because most people that recall this song today are convinced he says “ass” where he really says “yeah.” This may be a case of warped memory through the distortion of time, but it’s probably more likely that if you were drunk enough to dig Limp Bizkit in the first place, you likely weren’t coherent enough to pick up on nuanced background lyrics.
The lead singer has to park four blocks away? And where did he come from, Banff? Everyone else in the video, especially the parade of floozies following the Limp Piper, is dressed for a warm Jacksonville day. Fred looks like he just got done summiting with Tenzing Norgay. The arrest scene at the end mocks itself without commentary. Wes Borland looks like a capuchin.
Dedicated to The Stick