When Limp Bizkit’s lead singer, married to a Ukrainian woman, said Putin was a ‘cool guy with moral principles’

Fred Durst knows how to piss people off.

The frontman and vocalist of the band Limp Bizkit is one of the most controversial figures in rock and metal – or at least he was when the band was at the height of its fame – for his skill with his appearance, lyrics, behavior and the fact that he exists at all , to set one or the other against himself.

If you caught the nu-metal wave at the end of the last century and the beginning of this century, you know who Limp Bizkit are. With tracks like Nookie, Rollin’, My Way, etc., they became the faces of a subgenre of metal that interwoven heavy strings with rapping, and which more conservative rock fans still love to hate.

Durst himself was especially loved to hate, and his statements often played a role in this.

He was a thorn in the side of fans of bands such as Slipknot and Placebo and artists such as Eminem, Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and Marilyn Manson, with whom in his more immature years he had stage feuds (ending in a truce after the rise of all involved). Certainly at the turn of the century he was not a fan favorite of the then-innocent Britney Spears with his alleged affair with her.

The organizers of the legendary – albeit not in a good way – Woodstock festival in 1999 pointed to him and the rest of Limp Bizkit as the initiators of the chaos during the event and excused them for the ugly displays in the audience.

He managed to anger even the authorities in Ukraine.

No, not around the war there now, but at the beginning of the friction between the country and neighboring Russia, when Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of the Crimean peninsula. Then it came to the point that the Ukrainian authorities banned the American nu-metal musician from the territory of their country.

The reason? Durst’s readiness to acquire Russian citizenship – if someone is found to give it to him – and the words of praise he addressed to Putin for this purpose.

It all happens in September 2015. It’s been a year and a half since the Russian invasion of the then Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and its subsequent annexation.

At the time, Durst was married to his third wife, Ukrainian make-up artist Ksenia Beryazina, which may have been one of the factors in his interest in the region. The other is certainly the fact that in Eastern Europe and Russia, many of the bands from the nu-metal wave still enjoy a solid fan base.

So, in the fall of 2015, the singer of Limp Bizkit said that he would not mind getting a Russian passport.

“If you have connections with the right authorities who can help me get one, share them,” he told an interviewer from Russian radio station RockFM.

After that, the publication “Izvestia” reported that the musician sent a letter to the authorities in Crimea, in which he explained that if he gets a passport, he will be able to live there for six months and shoot films and TV shows, which will raise Russia at “a high level in this business”.

The Izvestia article claimed that Durst had written about how he wanted to be part of the “great future of Crimea and Russia” and that other US artists would follow suit.

It was also claimed that the Limp Bizkit frontman described how his business ventures in Crimea would show the world that Vladimir Putin was a “good man with clear moral principles”.

To TASS, the musician gave three reasons for wanting to live in Russia – “beautiful country, beautiful people and delicious food”. However, he notes that he would prefer a city where the climate is not particularly extreme.

“I want to spend at least half of my life there. I feel something special about Russia and I have some ideas and a business project for the entertainment industry,” explained Durst, who at the time had two experiences as a film director. The third such – 2019’s The Fanatic with John Travolta – earned him a nomination from the anti-Golden Raspberry Awards for “worst director”.

It has not been made clear in the months since the request that Durst’s idea has come true and he has indeed obtained a Russian passport, like other Western celebrities such as actors Steven Segal and Gerard Depardieu. However, something else happened – the doors of Ukraine were closed to him.

The BBC also reported in 2015 that Durst had been banned from entering Ukraine for a period of five years “in the interest of ensuring security”.

Photo: Getty Images

Durst has noticeably changed his look to reflect the fact that he and his Limp Bizkit bandmates are no longer 25.

At the same time, in another part of Ukraine – from the Donetsk region, where separatists had declared independence, which is still supported by the Russian authorities, they extended an invitation to Limp Bizkit to play there. However, the concert never happened.

It is possible that Durst’s words were also connected with the huge interest in him and his gang at that time in Russia. That fall of 2015, Limp Bizkit toured the country for 18 shows – an impressive number of events any way you look at it.

However, after that, perhaps due to reactions surrounding the coverage of the passport request and the good words for Putin, the group’s visits to the country dried up. For several years in a row, Durst and company made European tours, but none of them made it to Russia.

This changed in 2020, when the band played 4 concerts in the country – in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Krasnodar.

Meanwhile, in the same year in nearby Lithuania – also troubled by Russian behavior in the last decade – a concert by the group in a hall with a capacity of 20,000 people gathered only 2,500 fans.

According to the organizers, however, Durst’s comments about Putin are unlikely to be the cause, as they were made long ago and were not followed up by others. There are also reports that Limp Bizkit were asked not to make political statements from the stage.

The reasons for the low attendance may indeed have been other – the organizers of a concert in neighboring Latvia even then announced that the event was sold out.

Durst, probably for good, no longer publicly commented on either Vladimir Putin or expressed an intention to live in Russia. Only Limp Bizkit’s warm connection with the Russian audience remains. For mid-July, the band was scheduled to be part of the Park Live festival in Russia, which The Killers and Iggy Pop withdrew from after the start of the war in Ukraine.

It was the conflict that started that eventually led to the cancellation of this year’s edition of the festival.

Limp Bizkit themselves – who enjoyed a warm critical reception last fall for their self-deprecatingly titled Still Sucks – have postponed their entire European tour in mid-July.

The reason is again their vocalist – Durst revealed that, on the recommendation of his doctor, he should stay in the US for more “research”, although he did not specify what exactly.


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