How have rock fads shifted during recent years? The career turns of Puddle of Mudd and its original benefactor, Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst, are excellent barometers. Today Durst would probably leap at the chance to humiliate himself on some bottom-scraping reality show, but back in 2001, he was popular enough to have his own vanity label, Flawless Records. The Puddlers were among his first signees, and their initial release for the Limp one, the neo-grungey Come Clean, went triple platinum despite (or perhaps because of) its almost total lack of originality. This trick didn't work twice, however, and when 2003's Life on Display tanked, the downward spiral began. Last year, the biggest news frontman Wesley Reid Scantlin made involved being publicly wasted; he was arrested at a Toledo, Ohio, gig he was too soused to complete. Given all that, Scantlin and crew are lucky to be playing the Gothic, especially since the flamboyant opening act, El Vez, may be a bigger current draw than the Mudd men, whose signature single, "She Hates Me," now cuts both ways. If you live by the trends, you die by them, too.
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