“Arrogant, misogynistic and full of testosterone”: 10 nu metal musicians hating on nu metal

Korn’s Jonathan Davis, Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix and Limp Bizkit’s Wes Borland
(Image credit: Mick Hutson/Redferns/Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images/Markus Cuff/Corbis)

It’s been more than 20 years since nu metal peaked, and a lot of people are still annoyed by it - not least a bunch of nu metal musicians. “It’s a lame scene” and “arrogant, misogynistic and full of testosterone” are just a couple of the uncharitable examples of musicians who shot to fame in that era biting the hand that feeds. Here are 10 nu metal-hating nu metal musicians.

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Wes Borland (Limp Bizkit)

When you think nu metal, you think Limp Bizkit. Their mainstream acceptance, heavy yet simple riffs and aggro rapping epitomise the genre’s characteristics. However, in 2002, guitarist Wes Borland wrote online: “I also don’t listen to any of the bands that are in this genre, except for Slipknot which don’t belong in it, because they are a speed metal band. Point is, this is a lame scene. It’s a dying scene. It is a bandwagon, and we will not be following it.”

Jonathan Davis (Korn)

Korn’s debut album as the dawn of nu metal and, nowadays, Jonathan Davis is proud of that fact. However, it took him a while to come around to the genre. He admitted: “I used to hate being called this and that; I hated labels. When we first started, we were like, ‘We’re not a metal band, y’all,’ then they’d go: ‘Oh, then you’re nu metal!’ Well fuck you!”

Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park)

Despite Linkin Park’s debut album Hybrid Theory often getting hailed as a nu metal masterpiece, Mike Shinoda’s not a fan of the genre. The rapping vocalist lambasted perceived toxic masculinity within the movement in an NME interview. He said: “Even now, that whole nu metal tag is still there. We never held the flag for nu metal. It was associated with frat rock. Arrogant, misogynistic, and full of testosterone; we were reacting against that.”

Jacoby Shaddix, Papa Roach

Papa Roach singer Coby Dick… sorry, Jacoby Shaddix used to have a chip on his shoulder about getting called nu metal – despite Last Resort being one of the genre’s most iconic songs. He told Metal Hammer in 2022: “I hated it; I couldn’t stand it. Everyone was trying to compare me to Fred Durst and I was like, ‘I am so much more fucking punk rock than this dude. He’s on the hip-hop side.’” But in the same interview, he admitted to mellowing over the years: “It was a new interpretation of what metal music could be.”

Chino Moreno, Deftones

No one thinks of Deftones as a nu metal band these days, but they were right there at the birth of the scene, much to singer Chino Moreno‘s annoyance. He told BangerTV in 2010: “A lot of the press put us in the category and our first instinct was to push it away. When they called it nu metal, I was like, ‘Well, if you’re putting the word “new” in it, it’s gonna be old in a couple of years.’”

Amy Lee (Evanescence)

Evanescence were nu metal’s most reluctant band, what with their record label twisting their arm to have a man rapping on Bring Me To Life. In 2021, singer Amy Lee told Rolling Stone: “The fact that [rapping] was on Bring Me To Life, people heard that first single and it’s like, ‘OK, you fit into that same category as Papa Roach, Linkin Park, Korn and whoever it is.’ I didn’t like that title very much, but I don’t like any title.”

David Draiman (Disturbed)

OK, David Draiman doesn’t out-and-out hate his band being called nu metal, he’s just kinda baffled by it. "The nu metal thing I never got because we never rap, we’ve never had a turntable,” he told Music Connection. “All of the elements that are parts of being a nu metal band were never part of what we did. But we came up at the same time as those guys were enjoying a tremendous amount of success so we got slapped with that label."

Brandon Boyd, Incubus

In a recent interview with Metal Hammer, Incubus singer Brandon Boyd revealed that his band being called nu metal “hurt [his] feelings”. “I thought it was terrible,” he said when asked about the legacy of the genre. “I know a lot of people love it, but being called ‘nu metal’ kinda hurt my feelings. If we made one record that fits into that genre, so be it, but I’ve never heard that in our music myself.”

Mark Hunter (Chimaira)

Chimaira frontman Mark Hunter claimed his band coined the term New Wave Of American Heavy Metal – and did it partially in response to their debut album getting the nu metal tag. He said: “We were working on [Chimaira’s second album] The Impossibility Of Reason at the time and transitioning from the ‘nu metal’ of Pass Out Of Existence. We loved Morbid Angel, Deicide and Suffocation, so being labelled ‘nu metal’ stung a little bit.”

Sully Erna (Godsmack)

Not only does Godsmack’s singer/guitarist think that his band aren’t nu metal, he reckons that the label made life harder for the them. He once told Nevada radio station Rock 104.5: “Our biggest struggle over the years was we got lumped into that nu metal category when we got signed, because the Korns and Limp Bizkits and all them were blowing up. And we were never that, though.”

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira 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.