Time for a cameo-laden nu-metal classic and an awful lot of red baseball caps: it’s Limp Bizkit’s gleefully angry, happily profane anthem Break Stuff.
Here they are, Limp Bizkit – Fred Durst, Wes Borland, John Otto, DJ Lethal and Sam Rivers, wearing really big trousers in a California skatepark. Even at this early stage it’s clear that, no offence to them, we can mostly ignore Otto, Lethal and Rivers. The stars of this video are Durst’s effortless attitude and Borland’s effortful weirdness.
Lots of Bizkit fans of various ages and shapes show up lip-syncing to the song. It’s a lot of fun. There’s a wee kid who says the F-word. Gold dust. But why’s DJ Lethal in front of the camera? Who’s manning the decks for goodness’ sake?
Snoop! Man, he’s towering over Durst. According to The Internet, Snoop is 6’ 4”, while Durst is 5’ 7½”. This really looks like there’s at least a foot between them. Mysterious. Maybe Fred Durst doesn’t have any shoes on.
The thing that Fred Durst is doing with his arms here, if we’re totally honest, probably shouldn’t have made the edit. He looks like your uncle all pissed up trying to be cool by telling you about a breakdancer he walked past in town.
Dr Dre! Do you think that, in futuristic 2016, given the different ways the last 15 years have treated them, Fred Durst could still ring up Dr Dre and get him to be in a video? Dre’s now worth close to three quarters of a billion dollars. You could drop a ton in Pizza Express and not get a pang of anxiety.
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You know the painting American Gothic by Grant Wood? If Wood hadn’t have bothered painting two old people looking miserable, this shot of Wes Borland and his ceramic rabbit Lucy would have been a fine alternative.
Eminem! And the kid Durst was just holding was Hailie, his daughter! Eminem and Durst later had a massive feud, caused by some silly comments made in interviews that snowballed out of proportion. It’s a shame, as they were pals. They could have grown old together and ended up in a convalescent home together awkwardly reminiscing about the times they’d insult each other using the power of the media.
The all-knowing Internet believes that comedian and Curb Your Enthusiasm star Richard Lewis makes an appearance around now. His performance in Robin Hood: Men in Tights as Prince John is completely amazing. “I have a mole?” But we’ve watched this so many times, it could easily be an middle-aged man in aviator shades and a big jacket. Could be Lou Reed if you squint really hard.
Jonathan Davis from Korn, everyone! In a really interesting jacket! Any time Jonathan Davis comes up in conversation, it’s fun to remember that once Barack Obama made a joke about not being in Korn during a Medal Of Honor award ceremony.
Pauly Shore isn’t the biggest of names anymore, but when this was filmed he was only a few years past his Encino Man/Son In Law/Bio-Dome prime. Wikipedia claims that Seth Green from the Austin Powers movies is in the video somewhere as well, but we’re damned if we can spot him.
The thing is, right, a chainsaw wouldn’t skin your ass raw. It would cut your ass. If Fred Durst was like a chainsaw, and directed himself at your ass, your ass wouldn’t be skinned raw, it would be cut. What Fred Durst is thinking of is a belt sander. He should be saying “I hope you know I’m like a belt sander / I’ll skin your ass, panda”. That’s how it would go if he were singing this song at a panda, anyway.
It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss it deal, but that’s Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers humping the equipment in just his pants. Not really, it’s Shore again, this time in some crisp white Y-fronts and acting like a giddy goat. It must be quite exciting being on set.
An instrument-swapping montage is a giant laugh at the best of times, and this one is completely owned by Wes Borland pretending to DJ. Wes Borland is a total dude. He reached Peak Weird just a year later when his super-nerdy side project Big Dumb Face released its debut (and only) album, Duke Lion Fights The Terror. It’s silly and fun and didn’t sell that well.
This young lady is now known as famous supermodel model Lily Aldridge, but at the time of filming she was just a fifteen-year-old. It’s easy to imagine that despite her career highlights after this – the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, the Victoria’s Secret show, Vogue covers – she always tries to put the Break Stuff video at the top of her CV. Because come on, who wouldn’t?
A high-five with an airborne skater (Hey, let’s all go and play Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2) and a mic not so much dropped as lightly tossed, and that’s it. In under three minutes, Limp Bizkit have broken stuff, skinned asses raw, felt like a freight train and suggested we keep our distance. Unimpeachable classic. Great job everybody, well done. That’s a rap.
What did we learn from Break Stuff?
While we didn’t come away from the video thinking we’d been speaking to Noam Chomsky for ages, there’s plenty to take away from this cameo-heavy nu-metal classic. The thing that stands out the most is that next to Snoop Dogg, Fred Durst doesn’t look very tall. Plus, Jonathan Davis looks like he’s wearing a gawdy tracksuit jacket that should be on the shoulders of a wealthy, middle-aged woman embarking on her annual cruise. It was a different time.