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Limp Bizkit Narrows Guitar Search Hopefuls

Limp Bizkit’s nationwide search for a new guitarist has come to a close, and the hard rock group has invited several of its favorite picks from the auditions to continue jamming, in hopes that seeds for a new album will soon be planted.

“We are so excited to bring several of the people we jammed with on the tour back to L.A. to see what could possibly become of it,” says frontman Fred Durst on the group’s official Web site. “You just never know. I am sure that this will be our best album yet.”

Durst, a VP at Interscope and the head of the Flawless imprint, also said he plans to sign two or three bands whose demos he heard through the talent search, and has not yet finished listening to all the tapes presented him. He closed the post by thanking fans for being supportive since last year’s departure of guitarist Wes Borland left the group in flux.

Limp Bizkit’s latest release, “New Old Songs (Re-Mixed)” (Interscope) debuted at No. 26 on The Billboard 200 last December. Its most recent studio album, “Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water,” has been certified for U.S. shipments of 7 million copies by the Recording Industry Association of America. A live version of the track “N 2 Gether Now” with rapper Method Man can be found on the compilation “Live and Unreleased from Farmclub.com,” due tomorrow (Feb. 26) from Interscope.

Meanwhile, Durst has offered to testify through a video link at the Australian inquest into a young fan’s death at a Limp Bizkit concert in January 2001, but said he’s too busy to attend in person, a band spokesperson said today (Feb. 25). Glebe Coroner’s Court is examining the death of 15-year-old Jessica Michalik, who suffered a heart attack as the crowd surged during Limp Bizkit’s set at the January 2001 Big Day Out concert in Sydney. She died five days later.

According to the spokesperson, a number of managers from Limp Bizkit’s touring group had made written statements and could testify in person, but Durst was too busy to travel to Sydney. Coroner Jacqueline Milledge welcomed his offer. Last year, she repeatedly asked Durst to testify about what he saw during the attempted rescue of Michalik and others involved in the crush.

But counsel for the promoter of the event, Mark Dean, said video evidence was not good enough because witnesses were not bound by perjury laws. He said statements from the band’s witnesses contained “scandalous” claims, including criticism of security staff that were disputed. Milledge is expected to decide tomorrow whether to accept written statements or allow Durst to testify from the United States.

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