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Controversial musician Fred Durst came to fame in the mid-1990s as the front man for the "nu metal" band Limp Bizkit.
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Singer and film director Fred Durst was born in Gastonia, North Carolina, in 1970. Raised in Jacksonville, Florida, Durst became immersed in the hip-hop and punk rock scenes of his adopted city as a teenager. While working as a tattoo artist, he formed the band Limp Bizkit in 1994. Driven by Durst's angry lyrics and showmanship, Limp Bizkit became one of the most popular bands of the 1990s and early 2000s.
"Anybody who wears their feelings on their sleeve and has a harder, crusty shell—like I do—is definitely protecting an inner sensitivity."
William Frederick Durst was born August 20, 1971, in Gastonia, North Carolina. The early part of his childhood was shaped by his family's lack of money. For the first couple of years of his life, Durst was raised entirely his mother, Anita. When he was 2, his mother remarried, and Durst moved with his mom and her new husband to Jacksonville, Florida.
As a young teenager, Durst became drawn to the world of hip-hop. He fell in love with break dancing and gravitated toward the poetry and cleverness of rap. But the anger and edginess of Durst's own personality also made him a fan of hardcore punk, a musical genre that would prove to have the greatest impact on the future musician's career.
Failing to find work after graduating from high school, Durst signed on with the Navy, spending a couple of years in military service before returning to Jacksonville and landing a job as a tattoo artist.
Harboring dreams of making it in the music world, Durst began collaborating with a trio of local musicians: Sam Rivers, John Otto (Durst's cousin) and Wes Borland. In 1994, they formed the band Limp Bizkit.
The group became a fixture in the Jacksonville music scene, eventually earning the notice of nu-metal band Korn, a relationship that helped propel the young group to release its first demo, a three-song collection called Three Dollar Bill, Yall$, in 1997.
Anchored by the band's creative cover of the 1988 George Michael hit Faith, the demo landed them on the 1998 Ozzfest tour and earned them a growing legion of fans.
In 1999, Limp Bizkit released Significant Other, a game changer of an album for the group, which included the Top 10 singles "Re-arranged" and "Nookie." Over the next several years, Limp Bizkit emerged as one of music's most popular bands, successfully bringing together elements of hip-hop and metal.
The group's studio success was propelled by Durst's creative vision for the band. He directed almost all of the group's videos, and the band's onstage showmanship—their elaborate costumes and shows—furthered the Bizkit's popularity. The band's third album, Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water (2000), ended up selling more than 25 million copies.
But not all the press Durst generated was good publicity. He drew scathing criticism for a romantic fling with the still-young Britney Spears, and was beaten up by the press for his public feuds with Trent Reznor and Eminem.
Even Bizkit fans found Durst hard to support.
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