Wes Borland - Limp Bizkit / Danny Elfman
Wes Borland. Paradoxically, one of the most visible guitarists in metal since the late nineties and at the same time one of the most overlooked. Behind his iconic and ever-evolving roster of stage personas is a multi-faceted artist with a unique approach to his works, both sonic and visual. Wes’s inventive riffing and often unorthodox techniques cast a wide shadow over the contemporary guitar landscape. Droning loop-like clean phrases, selective muting, impossibly heavy breaks, and aggressive application of the tremolo arm are all hallmarks of the Borland sound. Wes played a huge role in the continued normalization of seven-strings in the post-Korn world and in the other direction is famous for his use of four-string guitars. For his six-string needs Wes has long employed PRS Customs, Standards, Floyds and more recently a one-off revision of his bass-guitar hybrid. Wes is currently out on the Road with Limp Bizkit on the Still Sucks Tour and will be performing alongside the legendary Danny Elfman at Coachella in April.
FIVE MINUTES WITH WES
PRS: Limp Bizkit just kicked off the 2022 Still Sucks Tour
with an appearance at the Vive Latino festival in Mexico City. What was it like performing some of the new songs live for the first time?
WES: Absolutely fantastic. I’m so thrilled to be able to finally add new material to our set. I mean, we already switch our set around every night and make changes and additions to it while we’re in the middle of shows, but to actually add new material (not covers, or deep cuts off of older albums that we haven’t played in a long time for example: we recently knocked the dust off of ‘Nobody Loves Me’ from our first album) has been a treat for me personally. The older songs are so hardwired into my brain that it’s nice to kind of wake up the mental muscles that are in charge of handling new data.
PRS: What’s next for the band after this tour wraps up, is there a follow up to Still Sucks in the works?
WES: Now that Still Sucks has kind of cleared our pipes, I feel that the comradery and creativity within the group is at an all-time high. I wouldn’t be surprised if a new album is in the works shortly after our 2022 touring concludes. Anything is possible.
PRS: You will be performing with Danny Elfman during his sets at Coachella this summer. How did that opportunity come about, and what has it been like immersing yourself into Danny’s characteristically eccentric music?
WES: Robin Finck, the guitarist from Nine Inch Nails, has been a friend of mine for a long time and he played on Danny’s new solo album ‘Big Mess’. He called me one night a few months ago and told me he was unable to perform in the band for Coachella and asked if I was available to take his place to which I replied: 100% YES. I’ve been a huge fan of Danny’s since I was 15 years old, so for me, this is the opportunity of a lifetime and an absolute dream come true. It is EXACTLY where I want to be. I have been told that I am myself a maker of eccentric music, so being in Danny’s world feels like I’m right at home. I love the new album, I love the Boingo songs, I get to play The Simpsons. It’s the best.
PRS: You recently auctioned off a series of original skull paintings, will there be further opportunities to own pieces of your artwork in the future?
WES: The next step for me as a painter will be to have a full-fledged gallery show. I have a series of very large paintings that I’ve been working on for the past 5 years that will be a huge part of that event. The skull paintings were mainly just small studies for me to get warmed up again and to give some folks that had been asking to purchase my art a fair way to have the opportunity to do so. The paintings were all listed for $1 on eBay, but the winning bids ended up being quite a bit more. Those auctions for me were also a bit of a test to better understand what my perceived value as a painter might be.
PRS: Are there updates you can offer us regarding any of your other musical projects?
WES: I generally like to release one album a year. Last year it was Limp Bizkit - Still Sucks and album three from Big dumb Face - Christmas in the Cave of Dagoth. The year before it was my third “solo” release: The Astral Hand (“solo” as in I’m just releasing under my own name, but almost all of this stuff outside of Bizkit is solo) and two albums of material from my failed project with my brother Scott ‘Eat The Day’. I also put out a Goatslayer album that year which is a silly thing that I used to do with a few friends for fun. Goatslayer has 23 albums, some of which are listenable. We may be condensing them into a Greatest Hits soon that will probably be 3 hours long. Nobody is going to want to hear it.
PRS: Last year, we built an updated four string guitar-bass hybrid for you. What sets this one apart from the previous version, and does it make an appearance on Still Sucks?
WES: The new four string is probably the most amazing instrument I’ve ever played. Having a locking tremolo system has very much expanded what I’m attempting with that whole thing. That idea. To have the classic A A D G or F# F# B E tuning that I’ve been using for so long paired with all of the whammy bar riffing I do is on another level for me. The guitar is way past prototype in my opinion. I think it’s finally reached the form it was always wanting to be in my head. I couldn’t be happier with it. It actually did end up on the album last minute, but not in a way that showed off its capabilities. I used it on a melodic EBow lead on the bridge of the INXS cover Don’t Change.