10 times nu metal gloriously gatecrashed mainstream TV

Fred Durst and Christina Aguilera on stage together, Slipknot, plus Amy Lee holding two Grammys
(Image credit: Getty)

The New Millennium brought with it the nu metal explosion that had been bubbling just under the surface of the mainstream for some years. In the space of a week in October 2000, both Limp Bizkit's Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water and Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory were released, selling tens of millions of copies between them. Both in the US and the UK, you could hardly move in the singles charts for generation-defining anthems by everyone from Slipknot, System Of A Down and Deftones to P.O.D., Korn and Papa Roach. 

It mean that mainstream television began to feature nu metal on a regular basis, often with chaotic, hilarious and bizarre results. With that in mind, here are ten occasions in particular where nu metal gatecrashed some of the world's most iconic TV shows and stations to spectacular effect. If you want more of this kind of thing, don't forget to pick up Metal Hammer's tribute to the 2000s, out now. 

Metal Hammer line break

Slipknot play TFI Friday (2000)

The gold standard of 2000s nu metal TV: Slipknot lay waste to early evening show TFI Friday. There’s laughter as host Chris Evans announces they’ll be playing a song called Wait And Bleed. By the time they finish, no one is laughing. Apart from people still wondering why Evans described the Iowans as “horror metal landslide legends”, perhaps.

Adam Sandler jams with Deftones and Incubus (2000)

Former Saturday Night Live star Adam Sandler returned to the show to promote his new film, Little Nicky. Cue an unexpectedly excellent acoustic cover of Deftones’ Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away) with Chino Moreno and Incubus’s Brandon Boyd. Everything about this ridiculous yet strangely poignant moment is about as early 2000s as it gets, quite frankly.

P.O.D. do MTV Cribs (2000)

MTV Cribs was the must-appear-on show of the early 2000s, taking the viewer inside superstar musicians’ and celebrities' houses. Cue P.O.D. drummer Wuv Bernardo attempting to look cool while showing off a Buzz Lightyear VHS. yes, really: nu metal was so huge that even the drummer of P.O.D. got his moment in the TV sun. Bonus fact: a pre-megafame Beyoncé was on the same episode with her group, Destiny’s Child. Wonder whatever happened to her...

Fred Durst duets with Christina Aguilera (2000)

Fred Durst teaming up with XTina remains one of the most surreal moments in 2000s music television. MTV’s VMA Awards frequently threw up some brilliant and/or baffling collaborations, and never more so than the sight of our favourite red capped fella rising from his chair to rap the chorus of the Bizkit’s Livin’ It Up midway through Aguilera’s performance of Come On Over (All I Want Is You). Rumours of a secret romance between the two stars only added to the frisson. Unsurprisingly, Durst didn't behave very subtly about the whole thing. 

Linkin Park rip it up on Conan O’Brien (2001)

Conan O’Brien was a champion of heavy music on his late night talk show, with everyone from Slipknot to At The Drive-In making an appearance. Linkin Park’s exhilarating performance of One Step Closer was a highlight. ‘Shut up when I’m talking to you’, snarled the never-more-savage Chester Bennington. Another crowning moment for rock music's biggest new band had officially arrived

Papa Roach perform on Top Of The Pops (2001)

Much-missed Friday night staple music show Top Of The Pops had no choice but
to feature nu metal bands on the frequent occasions they graced the UK charts. Papa Roach turned in a characteristically energetic version of their Top 10 hit Last Resort. Who could have imagined 'Coby Dick' and pals would go on to have an enduring and critically acclaimed career?

System Of A Down make the evening news (2001)

On September 3, 2001, System Of A Down were due to play a free show in a Hollywood parking lot to celebrate the release of their second album, Toxicity, the next day. Except thousands of fans turned up, the gig was cancelled and a riot ensued, landing the band on the US TV news. That was by no means the only controversy that defined the story of Toxicity, either.

Britney Spears serenades Incubus (2002)

Who'd have had the 2000s' two premiere pop princesses in Britney and Christina both appearing on a list like this? Such was the power of nu metal in the 2000s. The worlds of pop and nu metal collided again when Incubus dropped by the studio of MTV’s TRL show. When Brandon Boyd joked to host Carson Daly that it was his birthday, fellow guest Britney Spears led the whole audience in a chorus of Happy Birthday To You. Aw, sweet.

Nu metal bows down before Metallica on MTV (2003)

A cross-generational passing of the torch, as nu metal’s finest – and rapper Snoop Dogg - gathered to pay tribute to Metallica on this MTV special. Korn delivered a superb One while Limp Bizkit’s cover of Welcome Home (Sanitarium) was surprisingly great. We can't do much to defend Snoop Dogg's game but ultimately terrible take on Sad But True, though. Sorry Snoop.

Evanescence vs 50 Cent at the Grammys (2004)

Years before Kanye West gatecrashed Taylor Swift’s Grammy acceptance speech, 50 Cent did the same with Evanescence after they beat the rapper to the Best New Artist award. Fiddy protested by marching on and off the stage, to which Amy Lee coolly replied, “Thanks, 50.” It was seen as a colossal upset at the time, but given how big Evanescence remain to this day, you have to say it was fair enough, really. 

Matt Mills

Louder’s resident Cult Of Luna obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.

With contributions from