“Scott Stapp is an egomaniac, he’s a punk and he thinks he’s Michael Jackson!” Limp Bizkit and Creed once feuded and didn’t stop until Scott Stapp challenged Fred Durst to a boxing match

Photos of Fred Durst and Scott Stapp in 2000
(Image credit: Fred Durst: James Devaney/WireImage | Scott Stapp: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

It’s the dawn of the 2000s. Technology has managed to survive the Y2K scare, nu metal has the heavy world in a chokehold, and someone really, really needs to put a muzzle on Fred Durst. By the time the iconic Chocolate Starfish… dropped in 2000, Limp Bizkit had already started beef with everyone but your gran… and, even then, we can’t guarantee that Durst hadn’t eyed her up for a fistfight. From Slipknot to Placebo, it seemed the frontman simply couldn’t resist stirring the pot of hot dog water.

One of Durst’s shortest and least discussed feuds, however, was surprisingly with the other biggest hard rock megastars of the day: post-grunge radio darlings Creed – or, more specifically, singer Scott Stapp.

The whole thing kicked off at a star-studded New York gig titled Dysfunctional Family Picnic in June 2000. With a line-up that included some of heavy music’s finest, from Ozzy Osbourne to Godsmack and Deftones, the occasion was set to be a banger. However, it would end up being memorable for more than just the music – and guess which red-capped rapper we can thank for that.

Limp Bizkit were an hour late to their set. While record label Interscope tried to soften the potential blowback of the lateness, allegedly feigning that there was confusion over stage times, Durst took matters into his own hands. After swaggering onstage wearing his signature Yankees hat and unshakable bravado, Durst decided to cause a little bit of drama just minutes into the set.

“I want to dedicate this next song to the lead singer of Creed,” Durst bellowed into his microphone before Bizkit’s second song of the night, Break Stuff. “That guy’s an egomaniac, he’s a fucking punk and he’s backstage right now acting like fucking Michael Jackson. Fuck that motherfucker!”

He also added that there will be a “booth with pillows and blankets” when Creed are playing, presumably for anyone that wanted to go and have a nap. Stapp didn’t rise to the jab during Creed’s later set – instead, he simply commented, “It takes a lot more guts to say something to somebody than behind their backs,” during the show.

When Durst appeared on MTV Total Request Live after the Dysfunctional Family Picnic outburst, the TV presenter introducing him put it perfectly: “Wherever there’s Fred, there’s always trouble.” The Limp Bizkit leader then immediately proved that statement correct when he doubled down on his Stapp attack.

“For one thing, the guy is out of his mind,” Durst stated on national TV. “The guy thinks he’s a better human than everybody.” He later added: “You walk by his dressing room and his people look at you and go, ‘You do not approach the band, you do not talk to the band, you do not look at the band.’” However, when Durst’s asked if he and Stapp have ever exchanged words, the answer’s no.

Creed’s response was a no-nonsense dismissal of any genuine rivalry between the pair, defining the feud as nothing more than a scapegoat to distract from Limp Bizkit coming onstage an hour late.

“We are extremely disappointed that Fred Durst has taken his personal feelings toward us public, considering we have never met or spoken to him,” Creed’s official statement began. “[But] we are more disappointed that Fred is manipulating the media and the truth by using Creed as a scapegoat for his own immature and egotistical actions.” 

Debra L. Rothenberg/FilmMagic

Scott Stapp performing at Madison Square Garden in 2000 (Image credit: Getty Images)

Creed further accused Durst of throwing his toys out the pram over Limp Bizkit not being higher up on the Dysfunctional Family Picnic bill. According to them, despite multiple people attempting to convince Durst to take to the stage for nearly an hour, “Fred finally agreed to play only after he ‘finished his dinner.’”

Creed later went on to take issue with the way Durst treated the rising nu metal band Taproot. When the up-and-comers turned down an offer from Interscope, for whom the frontman was Senior Vice President Of A&R, he sent them an incensed, “fuck”-laden voicemail telling them they’d “fucked up”. Creed said the “vulgar comments and violent threats [were] totally indicative of a mobster mentality”. They added: “If Fred wants to represent our industry as a major-label senior vice president, then he should consider actually reading the anger management book that we sent to him.”

The crescendo of the whole rivalry came shortly after this series of statements, when Stapp challenged Durst to a boxing match, the profits from which would go to charity. As great a spectacle as the fight would have been, Durst declined.

“Creed should take a hint and spend more time signing autographs than writing about me,” Durst responded. “The boxing match sounds like fun, but I’d rather not resort to violence, since I’m busy doing a free tour [the Back To Basics tour with Cypress Hill in July 2000].”

Though short-lived, the Limp Bizkit/Creed back-and-forth was a summer-long spat between two of the mightiest musicians of the day. It has been said that Durst was often taken “more seriously" than he wanted, and this feud may have just been him putting on that braggadocious persona once again. He is all about the he-says, she-says bullshit, after all.

Emily Swingle

Full-time freelancer, part-time music festival gremlin, Emily first cut her journalistic teeth when she co-founded Bittersweet Press in 2019. After asserting herself as a home-grown, emo-loving, nu-metal apologist, Clash Magazine would eventually invite Emily to join their Editorial team in 2022. In the following year, she would pen her first piece for Metal Hammer - unfortunately for the team, Emily has since become a regular fixture. When she’s not blasting metal for Hammer, she also scribbles for Rock Sound, Why Now and Guitar and more.