It’s 3 p.m.! Let The A.V. Club briefly make use of the waning hours of your productivity with some pop culture ephemera pulled from the depths of YouTube.
Throughout his storied career, Fred Durst has been a lot of things. He has, most notably, yelped and rapped and shouted his way into the public eye as the frontman for nü-metal superstars Limp Bizkit. He has battled his way to digital glory in the inexplicable video game adaptation of Fight Club. He has, and still is, a(n apparently pretty decent) film director.
In light of all of these accomplishments, it’s with a heavy heart that we must remember the one art this hard-rocking, goatee-sporting modern Da Vinci hasn’t mastered: playing guitar solos.
This clip of Durst’s ill-fated shredding is a dark treasure—an object of obsession for an audience sadly grown up, long since having turned their Yankees hats frontwards.
Watch and listen as Durst, onstage before his adoring fans, gingerly approaches his moment of glory. He sings, picking a simple melody, as the camera lovingly pans up over skate shoes, a bare inch of legskin, and a pair of baggy cargo pants to the promised land of Durst’s digits working the guitar. It’s uncomfortable to look at, as clearly unnatural as a dog driving a car. Before long, this is made incredibly clear.
Durst, unaccompanied, brings his slow, melancholy verse (“nevermind, nevermind, nevermind,” he repeats sadly) to a surprising bridge. The guitar, gentle before, suddenly chugs into the first “metal riff” 14 year-olds learn from their obliging Baby Boomer guitar teachers. At a loss for what comes next, Durst follows this with a pause, a power chord strummed short, and a real heart-rending single note, string bent along with the virtuosa’s back.
It continues a bit longer, Durst just sort of trying out different tools from his uncluttered musical toolbox—more bends, some howling cat missed notes, a stiff neck craned down to observe the fretboard—until he gives up, yells a baffling “Shag (?) my friends tonight!” into the mic, and the clip ends. In it, we are given a quick summary of the hubris of celebrities, a time capsule snapshot of a rock genre’s decaying relevance, and a great display of enormously public beginner’s guitar playing. It’s perfect. And, fortunately for us, this video is absolutely the only embarrassing musical project Fred Durst has ever been involved in.