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Ann Arbor, MI's own Taproot sent their demo to Limp Bizkit's frontman/business entrepreneur Fred Durst in 1998, not ever thinking Durst would call them back personally. To the band's surprise, Durst replied, promising the alt-punk metal quartet the world. But Durst apparently took too long to deliver the goods, for Taproot — whose lineup comprised frontman Stephen Richards, guitarist Michael DeWolf, bassist Philip Lipscomb, and drummer Jarrod Montague — landed a deal with Atlantic Records instead. Durst felt betrayed and vented his frustration to various media outlets, but an unfazed Taproot focused on their debut, Gift, which arrived in June 2000 and unveiled the band's tough thrash sound.
Thanks to support from Ozzy Osbourne's son Jack, Taproot scored a spot on the second stage on the 2000 Ozzfest tour. Two years later, Rolling Stone hailed Taproot as "the next contenders for the new-metal crown." The band then spent seven months in Los Angeles recording the fierce, introspective sophomore album Welcome, which earned accolades from such publications as Vanity Fair. The album eventually peaked at number 17 on the Billboard 200. Blue-Sky Research appeared in August 2005; produced by Toby Wright (who also helmed the group's previous album), it also included three songs co-written with Billy Corgan. A split with Atlantic Records followed, and Taproot opted to independently issue their next record. Our Long Road Home arrived in 2008, having been recorded in the band's native Ann Arbor with producer Tim Patalan. After signing to Victory Records, the band set to work recording new material. In 2010 they released their fifth album, Plead the Fifth, on Victory, followed by The Episodes in 2012.