An Interview with Wes Borland
Black Light Burns
June 29, 2007
Wes Borland is best known as the guitarist from Limp Bizkit who wore the strange costumes, & in my opinion, he was the only thing that made that band relevant, because the band essentially became a parody & more about backwards baseball caps & selling cd’s than music, which is what led to the departure of Wes Borland from the band & it leads us up to the current day where Wes Borland is currently promoting his newest musical venture, Black Light Burns.
Black Light Burns isn’t over hyped, it’s not being heavily promoted, it’s just exactly what it is, & the band is touring across the USA currently in support of it’s debut “Cruel Melody” cd. Wes takes over the lead vocal duties on this project, & live, he is a cross between Marilyn Manson & The Crow..he’s dressed up kinda gothic, & he controls the stage with a passion & fury, & he’s got a backing band that just kicks ass! I had the opportunity to conduct an in-person interview with Wes prior to his show on 6/29/07, & Wes is a very mellow, very polite, kind guy, & the interview was conducted in the back lounge of his bus. As I walked through his bus, the first thing I saw was a vintage picture of Ronnie James Dio hang up & in the back lounge area, there were various guitar pedals, gear, & guitars, & Wes had told me he was playing & working on stuff. Anyways, here’s what Wes had to say:
Rock N Roll Experience: How’s the tour been so far?
Wes Borland: It’s been interesting & pretty good...there’s been a thing going on where people are like, are still figuring out what this is, so the shows started really small & seem to get bigger & bigger every day & every night people say, God, I had no idea this was going on until today.
Rock N Roll Experience: I know radio here in Maryland isn’t pushing Black Light Burns at all
Wes Borland: Radio had actually, in alot of places, pushed the hell out of it..it’s always a gamble, you never know how it’s gonna be, but we still give 150% every night
Rock N Roll Experience: Are you doing any covers in your set?
Wes Borland: No, not yet, but we do have a cover that we haven't played...we are gonna do “Art of Self Defense” by The Jesus Lizard & “Rid of Me” by PJ Harvey..they are the one’s we’ve rehearsed.
Rock N Roll Experience: Do you like singing better, or playing guitar?
Wes Borland: They are both kinda the same thing, it’s just a different...like anything, if you give me anything, I tend to like figure out some way to use it & I kinda feel like they are 2 different outlets, but they come from the same source. It just depends..I would say I kinda like singing better because you can include more personality into it & I can get a little more volatile than guitar playing, which is sorta...it seems more interesting & more liberating in a way
Rock N Roll Experience: What happened with Limp Bizkit..you rejoined the band, put out another cd together & nothing really happened.
Wes Borland: Pretty much, after I took off in 2001 I kinda did a bunch of different things for a while & ended up frustrated & a little disappointed because nothing was really meeting my expectations as far as projects I was working on & the people I was working with & a bunch of my friends had said, Why don’t you go back & give it one more shot with those guys & maybe you guys can get over it & you’ve matured, you hated being in that band, but maybe that’s where you’re supposed to be & I fought that for a long time, but eventually I just needed to go & see what the tone was there & it seemed good on paper, everybody seemed really excited & wanted to make a record, but it was a departure from the kinda mockery that Bizkit had become of itself on the 2nd & 3rd album, where I wanted to make a record that was kinda good with them instead of just making shit, which I had felt we made for a long time, & all the grudges cam back & everybody was sorta back to their old ways & everybody disappeared & they didn’t wanna tour & there was substance abuse problems & Fred still had the problem of, he was still really passive aggressive & a Huge prick, so I ended up not being able to communicate with him at all & yeah..I got to go back & sorta make sure that there would never again be any sorta what if question in my head
Rock N Roll Experience: So Limp Bizkit is over & done for good now?
Wes Borland: Forever & Ever. I will never have anything to do with that guy (Fred Durst) again!
Rock N Roll Experience: When you say that guy, you mean Fred Durst?
Wes Borland: Fred..Fred..the other guys I would work with again in a heartbeat...I’m still in communication with all of them.
Rock N Roll Experience: What are they up to now?
Wes Borland: John Otto is playing drums with Scooter Ward, the singer from Cold & that is going on with Ross Robinson’s label, which we are on & Sam River’s produces bands in Jacksonville, Florida, & has a recording studio & just kinda hangs out down there & the DJ is in LA & has produced a bunch of things & just keeps busy & does remixes & works on different records
Rock N Roll Experience: I remember when I first heard “Counterfeit” from Limp Bizkit & it blew me away & it seemed like as the band went on it got boring & old
Wes Borland: Sure..yeah, I mean the first record..the thing that happened was the first record was an actual album & after some success, all these little voices came in, like people from the label & the business side of it was saying, you can make money if you make another song like this, or go in this direction or that direction, or..I think that every band has a choice at that point after they’ve gained some success to either listen to those voices or just say, you know what, we did something that you liked before so just trust us that we are going to naturally do something again that you’ll find interesting & I think the problem with us was that Fred didn’t wanna be the singer in a band, in reality, he wanted to be an executive, like that was his dream to be like a shitty suit basically, & be in some kinda power position & I think that he immediately grabbed onto all of those voices that came in & actually became one himself & wanted to push push push the band in a direction that was manufacturing songs to be... to ring with MTV in the right way & to ring with radio in the right way & it’s kinda disgusting & the great thing about doing what I’m doing now is that, although I have no expectations for any kind of success with this project, all I wanted to do was write the best record I was possibly capable of writing & put together a tour that matched the feelings & tone of the record & the plan was to just work constantly & just to build something again that never would fall under the same kinda evil spells that Limp fell under
Rock N Roll Experience: What is that thing behind your head? (I am referring to a weird creature he had hanging in the back lounge of the tour bus & there’s a picture of Wes with it in this review!)
Wes Borland: This was made by a girl, a fan that follows me around to every show that she can get to, & last year when I was playing with From First To Last & this year, & she’s just like a really awesome fan named Claire & this is actually, she made a doll of one of the characters from one of my paintings & brought it to me & it’s got a removable heart that comes in & out of it’s chest, because the painting is sorta like this guy, but there are several hearts flying through a hole in his body in the painting
Rock N Roll Experience: “You did some work with the singer from the band Mellowdrone, right?”
Wes Borland: No, we worked on eating some sushi together one time & then we drove around for a long time on several occasions, playing each other music, & he was sorta like an outside ear to this album, like just a as friend...we haven't written together.
Rock N Roll Experience: Is that your wife on the main cover of the CD?
Wes Borland: No, I’m not married, that’s my girlfriend...she poses for all of my pictures, like she’s my model for all of my paintings that I use & that’s sorta like the literal interpretation of the line from the song “Cruel Melody”, the first line of that song. That is Cruel Melody #1 & Cruel Melody #2 is the other cover that goes over top of that, because that was..it actually turned out to be a better painting & it was sorta done at the 11th hour because, for a long time, i was going to the label saying, ok, is this artwork going to be ok? There’s a nude woman on the cover, is that gonna be ok? They were like, it shouldn’t be a problem, it shouldn’t be a problem, & it WAS a problem, so I had like one night to do a painting & Cruel Melody #2, a genius name I know..sarcasm implied there..uhmm, I did that in 2 hours & 34 minutes or something like that because I had to come up with something to basically cover the record.
Rock N Roll Experience: Were there any left over songs that didn’t make the record?
Wes Borland: Yeah..there are bonus tracks, & there’s some unfinished stuff, there’s like 4 songs there were just like..ahhh, this isn’t the right direction, or not that it wasn’t the right direction, but this song doesn’t wanna be finished right now because it’s just not happening.
Rock N Roll Experience: Did Fred Durst get pissed off when you would dress up & onstage, because I always thought he’d get pissed if anyone took the attention away from him.
Wes Borland: No, I think it’s kinda hard to take the attention away from him because he’s always trying to stick his face in every single camera because his face is like a camera magnet or something like that & he just instantly wants to go & annoy you through any outlet that he possibly can.
Rock N Roll Experience: Would you ever consider joining a super group like Audioslave or Velvet Revolver?
Wes Borland: No....those always seem a little, I don’t know..not really interesting to me because...people have their own, like at that point, it seems like your own thing & it would be so compromised by other people’s egos that you’d end up with some kinda bland...but that’s maybe just what I think it would be, unless it was just like a perfect locking in thing & made total sense. Anything is possible, but I don’t know..I think that Audioslave was not...it wasn’t those people at their best, it was like a bunch of really awesome people..there was cool elements to it, but you can tell there’s sorta something that didn’t work there to where they just sorta vanilla’d out a little bit together.
Rock N Roll Experience: Did you step up your personal security at all since you’re playing small clubs, because you’re a big star to play these small places
Wes Borland: No, there’s no security, we walk around by ourselves, I walk around by myself & obviously the people who come to the shows know I am here, but no, I don’t go out anywhere & get swarmed or anything like that. If anything’s gonna happen, I mean crazy things happen everywhere & when anything happens to a public figure it’s a big deal, everybody talks about it, but if the crazy people wanna get you, they are gonna get you & you can’[t walk around with a bullet proof vest & a football helmet & a machine gun all the time waiting for them to jump you, because you’re gonna look ridiculous