Biography by John Bush
One of the most energetic groups in the fusion of metal, punk, and hip-hop sometimes known as rapcore, Limp Bizkit was formed in Florida in 1994 by vocalist Fred Durst and his friend Sam Rivers on bass. Rivers' cousin John Otto soon joined on drums, and guitarist Wes Borland completed the original foursome (later supplemented by DJ Lethal). After Korn played the Jacksonville area in 1995, bassist Fieldy got several tattoos from Durst (a tattoo artist) and the two became friends. The next time Korn were in the area, they picked up Limp Bizkit's demo tape and were so impressed that they passed it on to their producer, Ross Robinson. Thanks mostly to word-of-mouth publicity, the band was chosen to tour with House of Pain and the Deftones. The label contracts came pouring in, and after signing with Flip/Interscope, Limp Bizkit released their debut album, Three Dollar Bill Y'All. By mid-1998, Limp Bizkit had become one of the more hyped bands in underground rapcore, helped as well by more touring action -- this time with Faith No More and later, Primus -- as well as an appearance on MTV's Spring Break '98 fashion show. The biggest break, however, was a spot on that summer's Family Values Tour, which greatly raised the group's profile.
Limp Bizkit's much-anticipated second album, Significant Other, was released in June 1999, and it and the accompanying video for "Nookie" made the group superstars. Significant Other debuted at number one and had sold over four million copies by year's end, also helping push Three Dollar Bill Y'All past the platinum mark. Durst, meanwhile, was tapped for a position as a senior vice president at Interscope Records in early July. However, in the midst of this massive success, controversy dogged the band following that summer's performance at Woodstock '99. In the wake of the riots and sexual assaults that proved to be the festival's unfortunate legacy, Durst was heavily criticized for egging on the already rowdy crowd and inciting them to "break stuff." Not only was at least one mosh-pit rape reported during the group's set (in addition to numerous other injuries), but the ensuing chaos forced festival organizers to pull the plug in the middle of their show. Even though Limp Bizkit's performance took place the day before the infamous festival-closing riots, the band was raked over the coals in the media, who blamed them for touching off the spark that inflamed a potentially volatile atmosphere. Undaunted, Limp Bizkit headlined that year's Family Values Tour, with the newly controversial Durst grabbing headlines for periodic clashes with Bizkit's tourmates. During the Napster flap of 2000, Durst became one of the most outspoken advocates of online music trading; that summer, Limp Bizkit embarked on a free, Napster-sponsored tour. All of this set the stage for the October release of the band's third album, Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water.
Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
After he left Metallica in 1983, guitarist/vocalist Dave Mustaine formed the thrash metal quartet Megadeth. Though Megadeth followed the basic blueprint of Metallica's relentless attack, Mustaine's group distinguished themselves from his earlier band by lessening the progressive rock influences, adding an emphasis on instrumental skills, speeding the tempo up slightly, and making the instrumental attack harsher. By streamlining the classic thrash metal approach and making the music more threatening, as well as making the lyrics more nihilistic, Megadeth became one of the leading bands of the genre during the mid-'80s and late '80s. Each album they released went at least gold, and they continually sold out arenas across America, in addition to developing a strong following overseas. By the early '90s, they had toned their music down slightly, yet that simply increased their following; all of their proper '90s albums debuted in the Top Ten.
Throughout Megadeth's many lineup changes, the two core members were bassist Dave Ellefson and guitarist/vocalist Dave Mustaine (b. September 13, 1961), who was the band's official leader. Mustaine grew up in the suburbs of Southern California, where he was raised by his mother in a broken home; frequently, his mother left him to be raised by aunts and uncles, who never encouraged his musical inclinations and often belittled him for his fondness for heavy metal. In 1981, he formed Metallica with James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich. Mustaine spent two years with Metallica, developing a strong cult following in California's underground metal scene, before he was kicked out of the group in 1983, allegedly over his substance abuse. Immediately following his firing, he formed Megadeth with Ellefson, Slayer guitarist Kerry King, and drummer Lee Rauch. This lineup was extremely short-lived, and Mustaine and Ellefson soon recruited guitarist Chris Poland and drummer Gar Samuelson.
For the next few years, Megadeth toured and gained a following, signing with the independent label Combat in late 1984. The following year, the group released their debut, Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good!, which received strong reviews, not only in metal-oriented publications, but also in mainstream music magazines. The album sold very well for an independent release, which attracted the attention of major record labels. By the end of the year, the group had signed with Capitol. Megadeth's first major-label album, Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?, was released in the fall of 1986. Like its predecessor, Peace Sells was greeted by strong reviews and sales; it eventually went platinum.
Although the band's fortunes were on the upswing, Mustaine was beginning to sink deeper into drug abuse, specifically heroin. Soon, his addictions began to affect his work. Many stories concerning his erratic behavior were circulating within the metal community, and they seemed to be proven correct when he fired both Poland and Samuelson before the recording of the band's third album; they were replaced by Jeff Young and Chuck Behler, respectively. The new lineup debuted on So Far, So Good...So What!, released early in 1988. So Far, So Good peaked at number 28 on the charts and also eventually went platinum (despite less enthusiastic reviews); it also featured a notorious cover of the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the UK," with incorrect lyrics.
In the years immediately following the release of So Far, So Good...So What!, Mustaine was impaired by his drug addictions. In early 1990, he was arrested for driving under the influence and entered a rehabilitation program. By the end of the year, he was not only sober, but he had reconvened the band; firing Young and Behler and replacing them with guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza. This lineup recorded Megadeth's fourth and most progressive album, Rust in Peace. The record peaked at number 23 on the American charts and went platinum. 1991 saw Metallica break through to the mainstream, and sensing the possibility for similar success, Mustaine followed suit in stripping down the band's sound, though it remained as technically perfectionistic as Rust in Peace. The result, Countdown to Extinction, was released in 1992, entering the charts at number two; the record went double-platinum and became the band's biggest hit, confirming that they had retained their audience in the wake of grunge. Now one of the most popular metal bands in the world, Megadeth moved farther toward the mainstream with Youthanasia in 1994, which entered the charts at number four and, like its predecessor, went platinum. The following year, the group released Hidden Treasures, a rarities collection which featured some of the soundtrack tunes that had helped expand the group's MTV audience in the early '90s. 1997's Cryptic Writings found Megadeth fully embraced by album rock radio, which formerly would never have touched the band. Ex-Suicidal Tendencies drummer Jimmy DeGrasso signed on in 1998, in time for the following year's Risk. In 2000, following the release of the best-of Capitol Punishment, Marty Friedman followed Nick Menza out the door; he was replaced by former Savatage and Alice Cooper guitarist Al Pitrelli. After signing with the BMG subsidiary Sanctuary, Megadeth debuted its new lineup on 2001's The World Needs a Hero.
While on break from touring, Dave Mustaine suffered a serious injury in January 2002 while staying in Texas. He was diagnosed with having radial neuropathy shortly thereafter, a condition that prevented him from playing guitar. The compressed radial nerves in his left arm and hand were strained, leaving Megadeth little recourse but to disband in April 2002, after almost 20 years in the music industry.