• Axl Rosenberg

As much as I love Max Cavalera, Soulfly basically started as a nu-metal band (and Roots is a nu-metal album… sorry, kids), and it’s sometimes hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that Cavalera had Fred Durst do a guest rap on SF’s 1998 self-titled debut. I tend to ignore it because a) the friend of my enemy is not necessarily my enemy, and b) Max has worked with plenty of dudes I  don’t like (Jonathan Davis) and plenty of dudes I do like (Greg Puciato, Chino Moreno), so, y’know, shit happens.

But the topic of working with Durst came up in a recent interview with PyroMusic.net, and… well, Cavalera basically places the blame for Durst’s appearance on producer Ross Robinson’s shoulders:

“Yeah, Fred Durst, you know, turned out to be a jackass later, but at the time that he did that he was cool. He wasn’t like super famous and the idea to use him was from the producer Ross Robinson, he was friends with Limp Bizkit. I didn’t know the band you know, I just had a spot for the song ‘Bleed’ and he said some guy could do some rapping on top of it. So I was like, ‘Alright, that’s cool.’ I didn’t know who Limp Bizkit was and then like a year later they were the biggest band on the planet. He also turned into a jackass, you know, so I was like, ‘oh well, I’ve got this guy on my album now.’ At that time I didn’t know… if it was today, I probably wouldn’t be using him.”

So, do we believe Max? He’s being honest that Limp Bizkit and Durst weren’t famous yet — at least, I had no idea who they were before that insipid cover of “Faith,” which Wikipedia tells me was released in November of ’98, seven months after Soulfly came out.

But the flipside of that is the fact that Three Dollar Bill, Yall$, the incredibly fucking terrible album on which “Faith” appeared, came out in July of 1997 — in other words, it’s not as though Max had no opportunity to hear Bizkit first. And even if he didn’t, when Durst came in and started doing his embarrassingly terrible version of rapping, Max could have said, “Wait, this sucks, I can’t have this on my record!” At some point, as the artist, you have to take responsibility for your work, right?

But that’s just the thing: Max never actually mentions the quality of the song — he just says he doesn’t like Durst. (And he doesn’t even mention that DJ Lethal is on the song, too.) So he seems to think that the issue is that Durst is a “jackass,” not that Durst is a hack, and that his inclusion on “Bleed” is a questionable creative decision. And about that, he would be dead wrong.

So either Max thought the whole idea was just swell at the time, or he was asleep at the wheel. Either way, not good.


[I first read about this on Gun Shy Assassin, who first read about it on BWBK.]

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