While scrolling the never-ending abyss that is Twitter, I came across an exchange with Ballyhoo!’s Howi Spangler confirming that he had once auditioned to play guitar for Limp Bizkit back in 2002. Here’s what Howi tells The Pier…
Limp Bizkit was a rap rock group that formed in 1995 out of Jacksonville, FL. The band consists of Fred Durst (lead vocals), Sam Rivers (bass, backing vocals), John Otto (drums, percussion), DJ Lethal (turntables), and Wes Borland (guitars, backing vocals).
By the early 2000’s, Limp Bizkit was a well known band having put out their first three albums with mainstream songs like “Nookie,” “Break Stuff” and their cover hit of George Michaels’ “Faith.”
In 2001, their guitarist, Wes Borland, left the band. In response, Limp Bizkit held a publicity stunt in January-February of 2002 where they partnered with Guitar Center in search of a new guitarist through open, public auditions.
At the time, news of this peaked the interest of Ballyhoo!’s Howi Spangler who had a friend who knew Limp Bizkit’s tour manager and suggested that Howi go and try out.
Howi recalls the experience, telling The Pier: “Each person had about 60 seconds in one of the rooms with one of their staff. I waited in a pretty long line for a couple hours. I was ‘in the know’ because of my friend who brought me so I knew that Fred had this ‘No Guitar Solos’ rule and wasn’t looking for shredders (which I was not). There was an amp setup outside for players to warm up with and a lot dudes were just shredding it up, so I figured my chances of getting to the final jam session with the band would be greater. If nothing else, it would’ve been cool to meet the guys and maybe play some songs with them.”
Ballyhoo! didn’t have a van or much guidance on booking out of town gigs. In a weird place, and a year after Ballyhoo!’s first album was released, Howi was encouraged to go and try out.
“I had no real intention of trying to be in another band, it was more for the experience and story. I’m glad I did it,” Howi shares. “I went in and met a guy named Jordan. I put my guitar in drop D and started playing this riff I came up with. Even had a delay pedal hooked up. I was nervous and fucked it up so badly. I was out of my element. Just not my style of playing. Before I knew it, my 60 seconds were up and any thoughts of becoming the next guitar player for Limp Bizkit were put to bed. Ha Ha… I did get to meet and chat with the band for a little bit at the jam session. Nice guys. John took me over and showed me his drum kit. Fred was in and out pretty quickly. He wasn’t happy with their finalist. Just gave a big thumbs down and stormed off. I’m sure it was a frustrating time for him, though.”
Howi is a big fan of Limp Bizkit and when discussing his favorite songs, he tells The Pier: “‘Pollution’ from the first album is great. I love the riff in ‘The One’ from Chocolate Starfish. And ‘The Truth’ from The Unquestionable Truth is a bad ass song. The riffs are huge and heavy. Fred sounds raw as fuck.
Can we expect Ballyhoo! to cover Limp Bizkit in the near future? “Probably not. I don’t know if I could do them justice.”
We love these stories and PLEASE, no one create any memes with Howi cropped into the line-up of Limp Bizkit! Thankfully, Howi never joined Limp Bizkit and 16 years later, Ballyhoo! is celebrating the release of their 7th studio album, Detonate, that dropped 9/28/18 on all major streaming platforms.
Watch: Ballyhoo! – “Detonate”
Watch: Limp Bizkit – “Fait” (George Michaels Cover)