An Oral History of Fred Durst Singing “John Otto! Take It To The Matthews Bridge!”
FRED DURST, VOCALS: In 2001 my band, Limp Bizkit, released our third album Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavored Water. One of the singles we released from it was “My Generation”.
WES BORLAND, GUITARS: “My Generation” was one of the album’s core tracks… It was a statement of intent. We wanted people listening to it to sit up in their chairs and think, wow, this is a song about my generation.
JOHN OTTO, DRUMS: I was playing drums in Limp Bizkit at that time. I still play drums in Limp Bizkit.
FRED DURST: In 1999 we played Woodstock 99, and one of the bands we met backstage was the Dave Matthews Band. I hit it off with Dave Matthews and we jammed at his studio in LA a couple of times.
WES BORLAND: He had this crazy studio where there were peanut shells all over the ground. He had a peanut butler who brought in a big bowl of unshelled peanuts every time Dave rang a small bell, and he rang that bell all the time.
FRED DURST: He wanted everyone to eat the peanuts, man. [Laughs] Everyone had to eat peanuts and throw the shells on the ground. Dave said it was like a wild west saloon. I respected that. [Laughs]
WES BORLAND: I got peanut shells everywhere, man. All over my guitar, inside the strings, in the guitar case. [Laughs] I hated that peanut studio.
JOHN OTTO: I like peanuts. [Laughs]
FRED DURST: We never released anything from those sessions, but some of the ideas we created trickled into our songs in surprising ways. For example, when I say “Keep on rollin’, baby. You know what time it is” at the start of “Rollin’”, that’s inspired by a time Dave Matthews told me to keep on rollin’, and said to me “you know what time it is.”
WES BORLAND: No disrespect to Dave, but we were in a different headspace creatively.
FRED DURST: Another thing was we came up with a bridge to a song. That’s the bit in a song that comes after the second chorus.
WES BORLAND: Fred loved this bridge and kept trying to insert into different songs. I kept having to tell him, no, Fred, it’s not the right song for that bridge. It ended up being a source of huge creative tension.
FRED DURST: I felt Wes wasn’t being respectful towards the creative bond we’d formed with Dave.
DJ LETHAL, TURNTABLES: There was also a feeling from Fred, I think, that Wes was being ungrateful to Dave, in terms of the generosity with which he’d shared his peanuts.
WES BORLAND: Nothing could be further from the truth… I had, and still have, enormous respect for Dave’s generosity, particularly with regard to the peanuts he shared with us, notwithstanding the mess the peanut shells made. [Laughs] That said, I disagreed with some of the choices Fred made about where to place the bridge we’d written.
DJ LETHAL: It all came to a head while we were recording “My Generation”… Fred had bargained with Wes on a whole heap of other songs to add the bridge we wrote with Dave, but there was nothing doing. It was the end of the night, we were almost out of studio time, and there was a rep from Interscope coming in the morning to collect the tapes to send to the plant to get turned into Chocolate Starfish.
WES BORLAND: Out of nowhere, Fred raps “John Otto! Take it to the Matthews bridge!”
FRED DURST: Man, I don’t know what came over me, but I knew John would have my back and take it to the Matthews bridge if I asked him to, so I just did it.
JOHN OTTO: Fred told me to take the song to the Matthews bridge, so I did.
WES BORLAND: The rest is history, dude… Initially I was pissed that Fred told John to take it to the Matthews bridge without asking me first, which is why I quit Limp Bizkit to focus on my solo project Big Dumb Face. But as time goes by I realise that Fred was right — taking My Generation to the bridge Dave Matthews wrote was the right call.