Wes Borland on Opening for Himself With Black Light Burns, Skateboarding With Lil Wayne + More
Wes Borland has always been the entity within Limp Bizkit that elevated the band to a higher plane. He was the reserved, bookish yin to Fred Durst‘s mookish, street-talkin’ yang and that dynamic helped propel Limp Bizkit to platinum-plus sized status in the late ’90s and early ’00s. It’s also probably what helped them secure a new record deal with Cash Money, home to megastars like Lil Wayne, after a long career with Interscope.
Borland also does his thing in Black Light Burns, who’ve just released The Moment You Realize You’re Going to Fall, their second album. BLB will be touring with the Bizkit shortly, so Borland, essentially, will opening for himself. It’s a different sound for him, one that LB fans may or may not like regardless of his status in the band they love.
Noisecreep’s Amy Sciarretto had the distinct pleasure of bending Borland’s ear for 20 minutes and he is certainly an odd and entertaining creature who obviously “gets” it.
First things first. Will Bizkit fans like Black Light or will they run for the hills, to borrow an Iron Maiden title, screaming, crying and covering their eyes and ears?
Some Limp Bizkit fans will be into it. There are some are closet listeners and some fucking hate Limp Bizkit, but we’re a polarizing band. We appeal to all different levels of intelligence. There is no accounting for taste; people like all different kinds of things. In regards to Limp Bizkit, Rivers Cuomo from Weezer is a fan, and the dudes in Coldplay have been very nice in press, so it depends on someone’s personal taste. All that being said, all of this is the bias of me knowing that Limp Bizkit is one of the most hated bands of all time, so let me walk through this minefield carefully, it depends.
With Black Light, a lot of people do give it a chance think, ‘Wow, I hate Bizkit, and like this.’ Bizkit fans think it is weird, but..
Listen to Black Light Burn’s ‘Scream Hallelujah’
So how is your relationship with Fred these days?
Our relationship is better now than ever.
And Black Light – this is your thing, whereas Bizkit is his?
I have a lot more involvement [in Bizkit] than most people would think. People think I am very involved and I am. People looking from the outside in, making assumptions or opinions…I spoke to a writer who said it like this. Bizkit is what you do on a Saturday night: Bar hopping, drinking with friends. Black Light is your concentrated emotional vomitting of your soul. But for me, both are important. I love doing Bizkit shows; they are wild and dark, and sometimes take a turn for the quirky and eccentric. With Black Light, we tell dry inside jokes that no one understands, fall on deaf ears. With Bizkit, I always have a good time. We do funny things, bring people on stage, replace the band with audience members for an entire song.
Do you keep them entirely separate?
Well, Black Light is going to open for Limp Bizkit later this year.
How do you feel about opening for yourself?
When Fred asked if we’d open, I said, “I’ve been waiting for three years for you to ask.” There will be a band in middle, so I will get an hour and 15 to catch my breath and change, and then play again.
How would you react if you got booed or do you have to be in the moment?
I dunno. I’d be like, ‘You guys know I’m the guitar player…right?’ They won’t believe me. I don’t get fishooked by that stuff. One time a fan incited him to punch me and I poured his beer over his head.
Can you share a writing or recording story from the album?
“Dead Flag Blues” is a song that I really love by Godspeed You! Black Emperor. And it is not really a song, as much as it is a demonstration of sound. It’s an old man talking about the end of the world over a sad violin. I was trying how to take that element and make a pop song out of that.
That’s not easy!
No! That always affected me. Barkmarket, Dave Sardy’s band, they had the same thing. But it was the 1996 Apple, standard computer voice speaking a poem over backward screaming guitars. Those two songs affected my writing and lyrics for years.
I wanted my own song like these songs. One that makes sense but doesn’t make sense. That’s where “Torch From the Sky” comes from. It’s like an Irish drinking song, with a very affected voice, singing a song, but telling a story. I feel like I finally accomplished what I wanted on this record. That song is influenced by those two songs, but in same category. It’s a sound that I’ve pursued for years. I wanted not to rip them off, but to borrow the feeling.
It’s reminiscent of shanty songs, but sung in drunk ecstasy during the worst of times, making light of awful things. It almost is spoken word over noise.
Listen to ‘Torch from the Sky’ from Black Light Burns
Will Durst ever cameo on Blacklight?
I dunno. Anything is possible.
What about Lil Wayne? Limp Bizkit did a song with him…
That song is going to come out, and there may be more than one Lil Wayne-based song. It’s a neat operation over there. It’s interesting. I went down there and got the opportunity to work and meet those guys, in the studio. They’re fucking really nice and they have an entire studio building on lock down. All artists are operating in all rooms, and it’s so casual. Like they’ll be like, ‘Want to come over and put a guitar on this song?’ It’s like ‘Duh, of course that works.’
I got to skateboard at Lil Wayne’s. He has a skate park on the roof of his house. I cracked both my elbows, and he was like, ‘Man, Wes, you’re bailing a lot.’