The Taproot Situation – 1998/1999

By , June 14, 2009 13:59


Fred Durst, the current everywhereman of rock and roll, took a keen interest in the band early on and made a few vague promises of things to come. As the guys in taproot waited for Durst to make a serious offer for a record deal, the word about taproot got around and labels began clambering for taproot’s signatures on the proverbial bottom lines. The grassroots movement had taken hold. After Durst finally made a lackluster offer, the guys, singer Stephen Richards, guitarist Michael DeWolf, bassist Philip Lipscomb and drummer Jarrod Montague, realized they needed to do something for themselves and fulfill their commitment to their fans.

Having put in plenty of their own time, money and sweat in the University of Michigan area, the guys had garnered a dedicated and well-earned following. After a self-released, self-financed CD that sold over 10,000 copies, Richards and his mates knew what it took to get where they wanted to go. So, instead of hanging on Durst’s every word and waiting for something that might never come, taproot did what they had to do and went west to perform at a Los Angeles showcase for rock production god Rick Rubin.

Once Durst got word of that showcase, he exploded and the now-infamous phone call took place. Durst made the error of laying into Stephen on his answering machine. There, for the entire world to hear, was Durst ripping taproot for taking care of themselves, as though he would have done any less.

“We got home from Los Angeles on the day that Limp were in town to do Family Values and that’s when the message was on my machine,” Stephen says. “I was in shock, hearing someone so pissed at me, just for looking out for my band’s best interests.”

“Steve. Fred Durst. Hey man, you fucked up. You don’t ever bite the hand that feeds in this business, bro…”

“To sum it up, it was ‘you fucked your career before it even started,’” Richards explains. “He flat out said that if he saw me at one of his shows again I’d be ‘fucked.’ He said if we ‘sling’ his name around, we’ll be ‘blackballed and probably erased.’ He must’ve said ‘fuck’ 30 times in a 30-second message. It’s really funny.”

You can download an mp3 of the message here. Here’s a transcription…

Steve, Fred Durst. Hey man, you fucked up. You don’t ever bite the hand that feeds in this business bro and your fuckin’ manager so-called guy is a fuckin’ idiot… a loser motherfucker goin’ nowhere.

You have just chosen that path. Took you under my wing, brought you to my house, fuckin’ talked about your ass on radio, on press, and you embarrassed… like me and the Interscope family. Your association with Limp Bizkit does not exist. Your manager slings that name around, he’s gonna be blackballed and probably be erased… and you will, too. He’s a fuckin’ idiot.

You’re gonna fuckin’ learn from this time right here. I hope you let your band know that you just fucked yourself. You need to be associated with somebody in this business. You need somethin’ to get you out there, put you out there, and believe in. Now you got enemies and you’re fuckin’ yourself already. Tell your friend that.

Don’t fuckin’ show up at my show, ’cause, if you do, you’re gonna get fucked. All right? You and your fuckin’ punk ass, man. You call your fuckin’ manager, David Manifestease-whatever, ask him what he’s done and doin’. You’re a fuckin’ dumb motherfucker. You’re learnin’ right now exactly how to ruin your career before it gets started. All of the luck brother. Fuck you.

Obviously Taproot didn’t need Durst’s help, because they managed to have a few successful singles, decently selling albums, and get plenty of kudos for their music without Fatty hanging around to screw it all up. The voicemail is still hilarious, though.

The entire situation also led to System of a Down being kicked off the Family Values Tour, in 1999.


Oct 6 1999 6:30 PM EDT – Did Durst Dump System Of A Down From Family Values Tour?
By Robert Mancini

Progressive art rockers System Of A Down have been booted from the Family Values tour, and as is often the case, the reasons for the move are up for debate.

System Of A Down’s management claims that the band was dropped from the tour by Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst, whose band is currently ruling the Family Values roost. Velvet Hammer Management (which handles System) told MTV News that Durst was courting another Velvet Hammer band, the Michigan rapcore outfit Tap Root, as part of his A&R duties at Flip/Interscope Records. Velvet Hammer claims that Durst was eager to sign the band, but Tap Root had hoped to play a few showcase gigs for other labels to test the market. The management company claims that Durst then took out his dissatisfaction with Tap Root and Velvet Hammer by dropping System from the Family Values tour.

The Firm, the management company that handles Limp Bizkit and Family Values, confirmed that System is off the bill, but offered no comment on the reason for the move.

System was slated to join the tour on October 16 in Portland, Oregon and stay on board through the rest of the Family Values run. Now, the band’s next live dates will see System play three shows in Los Angeles on November 17 at the Whisky, 19 at the Troubadour, and 20 at the Roxy.

The Firm told MTV News that Staind will now extend its Family Values stint to pick up the slack.

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