There’s been a bit of revisionist history around nü-metal in recent years. Although wildly popular with those who watched TRL and occasionally shopped at Hot Topic, the movement was generally reviled by those who professed to take heavy metal and hard rock seriously.
Lemmy Kilmister was never one to mince words. When asked by Ear Candy in June of 2000 if he felt there were fewer good bands at the moment than in Motörhead’s heyday, he said: “That’s right & fucking people like Limp Bizkit, I don’t understand it. I don’t understand their success.”
The frontman’s ire wasn’t reserved for Limp Bizkit alone. Regarding Slipknot, he continued: “What the fuck is this, its just rubbish! You’re just garage attendants with fucking gas masks on. And I mean I don’t mind kids having their own thing, I’m all for it. When you’re 17, you want a 17-year-old band to play for you, you don’t want these old fuckers like me.
“I understand that but Slipknot is just crap! And I know crap when I hear it, been listening to it all my life you know? And that’s crap, believe me & it’s a good example of crap. A lot of these new bands have a riff and no song. I was brought up to admire songs. A good well crafted song. Like the Beatles were 5 years into their career and they were doing ‘Yesterday’.”
It’s hard to tell if Lemmy was bitter or genuinely disliked the music of the day or both. Asked by Hot Press why Motörhead didn’t manage to get bigger in the United States during the ‘90s, Kilmister mused: “We’re not pretty enough and the music’s too brutal for them. Everything there is fad-driven. Limp fucking Bizkit and Tool and all that. It’s just fucking hopeless. If that’s the future of rock ‘n’ roll, it’s suicide for me.”
Lemmy was a little more forgiving when it came to Marilyn Manson, but not by much. “All mouth and no tights,” he lamented. “The show’s great but that last record of his was hopeless. Fair play to him for getting up people’s noses. But he needs to come up with a few decent tunes.”