Limp Bizkit’s ”Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water,” which includes the hits ”Rollin”’ and ”My Generation,” debuts at No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart this week, selling 1.05 million copies. This makes it the swiftest selling rock release ever (Pearl Jam’s ”Vs.” is second at 950,000 units). Following the rowdy rockers is a three man rap pack: last week’s chart topper Ja Rule (No. 2), 17 week stalwart Nelly (No. 3), and Atlanta’s Ludacris, who debut with ”Back for the First Time” (No. 4). Creed drop one place to No. 5.
Bizkit’s record setting week caps off a heady 2 1/2 years that has transformed the Jacksonville, Fla., band from total unknowns to the nation’s No. 1 rap metal act. Here’s how it happened.
Fashion Counts Though Limp’s debut disc, ”Three Dollar Bill, Y’all,” came out in 1997, sales didn’t take off until their breakthrough MTV performance on Spring Break ’98’s ”Fashionably Loud.” ”Some fans at the network sold ‘Loud”s producers on the fact that these guys could deliver live,” explains Amy Doyle, MTV’s director of music programming. ”They put their reputations on the line for a band that nobody really knew yet.” Once viewers saw Limp perform their mosh inducing cover of George Michael’s ”Faith,” the response was strong. Viewers called the station in droves, and within weeks the ”Faith” video — directed by Bizkit frontman Fred Durst — became a staple on ”Total Request Live.”
All About the ”Nookie” ”It was the ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’ of this generation,” says Mike Peers, music director of New York City’s WXRK about the first single from the band’s sophomore album, ”Significant Others.” ”It was the song that defined the new rap rock movement.” And the chant based tune also hit big at MTV, which, per the rules, had to retire it from ”TRL” after 65 plays. ”If we hadn’t taken it off, ‘Nookie’ would probably still be on ‘TRL,”’ says Doyle.
Girl Power Unlike other metal bands, Limp has a sizable female following, which contributes to their million selling, boy band like success. ”They write really hook-y songs that appeal to females,” says Doyle. It’s true that Durst’s many tunes about his cheating ex girlfriend give him a certain heart on his Tshirt charm. Or as Peers puts it: ”For some unknown weird reason, Fred has become a sex symbol.”
Other sexy acts making the Billboard album chart this week include the oft bare chested Baha Men (No. 6), ”Shake Ya Ass” maestro Mystikal (No. 7), beefcakers 98 Degrees (No. 8), hot mother of two Madonna (No. 9), and 3 Doors Down (No. 10), who tumble two spots from last week. Maybe the modest alt rockers should try stripping off their shirts… or maybe not.