1997 was a great year for movies. Titanic, Men in Black, The Fifth Element, and even a Jurassic Park sequel that made a little bit of sense took the world by storm, and although Pierce Brosnan set out to make James Bond as lame as he could (again) Harrison Ford played an American president that threw Gary Oldman off of a plane. In a cinematic sense, the world was as it should be for the most part… but music was another story.
The same year that brought us Will Smith welcoming aliens to earth also brought about the mainstream adoption of rap metal… and bands like Limp Bizkit, fronted by a guy that looks exactly like every guy you went to high school with that lived in a trailer park (I lived in one too, so I’m allowed to say that). Fred Durst made millions with lyrics like, “Hey I think about the day/My girlie ran away with my pay/When fellas come to play” and effectively made it impossible for people of my generation to ever claim that “music had substance back in my day.”
In the years since, the musical world left Durst and his poetic lyrics behind in favor of new weirdos with even stranger things to say, and we’ve been blessed by the absence of his flat brimmed hat-wearing antics… but that’s not the end of Durst’s, or Limp Bizkit’s, story.
In 2009, the band decided to get back together despite no one knowing or caring that they had broken up. They chose Russia to launch their new tour, which Durst claims was because the American public always misunderstood his lyrics and didn’t appreciate the real emotion behind his music. In fairness to Durst, I’ll post some of those easily misunderstood lyrics here:
I did it all for the nookie
So you can take that cookie
And stick it up your, yeah!!
Stick it up your, yeah!!
Stick it up your, yeah!!”
My keenly-tuned pop-culture brain feels like the problem with launching a Limp Bizkit U.S. tour in 2009 probably had more to do with the fact that the band had already been a joke for the better part of a decade and not even a hot new jam about doing things for nookie could wring another dollar out of the American public… but I’ll give the artist the benefit of the doubt.
Limp Bizkit continues to play in Russia, taking advantage of the language barrier (I assume) to go on subsequent Russian tours in 2012 and 2013 – as well another one at the end of last year. Between the 2013 and the 2016 tours however, a different thing was all the rage within the Russian state: the military annexation of Crimea in 2014.
While most of the world does not recognize Crimea as a part of the Russian nation, Durst certainly does – referring to the region as “Russia” in social media and claiming that he’d like to buy a house there. In fact, his claims made it all the way to the Russian embassy in the UK who were more than happy to let the world know that Russia’s newest celebrity tourist destination, Crimea, was the perfect spot for American celebrities once we’re done with them.
Durst later went on a Russian radio program and announced that he’d like to obtain Russian citizenship and feels as though the way Russia is depicted in the American media is entirely unfair. Again, demonstrating the man’s inherent knack for crafting art from language, he went on to say, “I want to prove to everyone that it’s really cool!”
Sputnik news, one of the many Russian owned news distributors that has weaseled its way into Western laptops, loves the singer, reporting on the band’s tours, cars he uses in music videos, and Durst’s wish to move to Crimea as though he’s just another in a long slew of American celebrities that are eager to make the change from Hollywood elite to military oversight in the breadlines.
Russia has promised financial support for movies and music produced in Crimea and Durst recently announced that he’s making the transition into directing films – it must be serendipity that brought Durst’s aspirations to Crimea just as Russian forces were securing it to be “the new Hollywood,” right? Because by October of 2015, Durst had already petitioned the authorities in Crimea to allow him to move to the region and begin filming movies to work toward the “great future of Crimea and Russia.”
Ukraine must not have gotten word about Limp Bizkit getting back together, because they promptly banned Durst from entering their nation for a minimum of five years – forfeiting their right to future tour dates and their chances to hear a forty-six-year-old man rap the lyrics to a George Michael song in person.
Like so many celebrities that think the attention their name garners makes their opinions valuable, Durst is likely not aware of the reality faced by many people in Crimea. Like Tom Cruise and Scientology, or Madonna somehow thinking it’s okay to talk about blowing up the White House, living in the spotlight is no guarantee that the synapses in your brain will fire in the right order to make you aware of how dumb you look. Despite those allowances I can make on his behalf, I’d like to be the first American to say – Mr. Putin, please grant Fred Durst Russian citizenship. We don’t want him, and Russian prostitutes, whom you’ve already claimed are the best in the world, need something other than the sound of snow falling in Siberia to dance to. America can manage without Limp Bizkit.
Image courtesy of Metal Insider