Taproot Vocalist Looks Back on Sending Demos to Fred Durst and Opening for System of a Down
Every band has their own unique story of when they started out, it just so happens that Taproot’s story includes one very angry Fred Durst and a very helpful System of a Down. While the band was celebrating 13 years of their first major label debut ‘Gift’ with a gig in New York City, we got to speak with frontman Stephen Richards, who recollected the earlier days of Taproot.
Richards took us way back when he recalled, “Mike [DeWolf] and I saw Korn with Limp Bizkit before Limp Bizkit was actually releasing a record, so we had the drop on that. We were fans, we loved it and we knew their record was coming out and where we grew up it was in Ann Arbor, college town.”
He goes on to talk about how they got the Limp Bizkit record in advance. “After students reviewed a record for their local paper, they’d go sell it for beer money so we got the record two weeks before it came out and they had an address asking for demos. We sent out our demo two weeks before everyone else did and he really liked it.”
The vocalist explains the close friendship he once had with Durst. “Every time they’d come through town we’d hang out and he was really good to us, I’d sing with him onstage and stuff. We were itching to go and he was getting really busy. He was cool though, I went to L.A. and stayed with him and got to sit through Interscope meetings about their second record coming out at the time.”
Richards states, “He got mad at us when he heard we were playing for other people. We wanted Fred to work out but we weren’t going to say no to everyone else who came knockin’ on the door and that’s when we met our long time management who represented System of a Down.”
He goes on to elaborate about opportunities that opened up for Taproot with System of a Down. “We got a show in Grand Rapids Michigan and opened up a show for them. The liaison that was there liked us and so we went to L.A., played for Rick Rubin. When Fred heard, he left a scary, stupid message on my mom’s answering machine about how we’d be blackballed from the industry and if I ever showed up to one of his shows he’d kick my ass.”
Richards concludes about Durst and Limp Bizkit as a whole, “I heard it first and snagged the tape, of course we leaked it just for fun. At the end of the day as they’ve dwindled, I’m actually still a really big fan of their music.”