Interview with Wes Borland (guitarist) of
Limp Bizkit by Andrew Rackauskas 10/5/97 5:00 P.M. The Palace Hollywood, CA
After endless touring, Limp Bizkit would seem to be poised for some chill time. However, that would be far from the case. Limp Bizkit has been out on the road with the likes of Primus and the Deftones and is currently headlining it's "Ladies Night in Cambodia" tour with Sevendust and Clutch. Before their last gig on their tour with Faith No More, Wes Borland (guitarist) of Limp Bizkit had a chat with Spinal Column regarding Limp Bizkit's origin, their future plans, and George Michael of all people.
WB= Wes Borland
SC= Spinal Column
SC: October 5th, 5:00, Los Angeles, CA. Sitting here with Wes from Limp Bizkit and just wondering how the tour was going?
WB: Today is the last day, and it's gone really good so far. The Faith No More crowd is a little weird here and there. They're kind of eclectic and into Faith No More. That's it.
SC: Has the reaction been really positive?
WB: Yeah, positive in most places. We won't talk about any negative response (laughing)!
SC: You're going to go on tour next with Primus, how does that sound for you?
WB: I've been a fan of Primus since I've been like fourteen years old. For a long long time. We're really excited about it. Les called. Les Claypool called Fred's (Durtz) house and talked to Fred for a while. He really wanted us to do it, because we were a little sketchy about it at first. We're thinking Faith No More's crowd's a little weird, Primus' crowd is a lot weirder. I've been into Primus for a long time, and they've always been one of my favorite bands. So hopefully there's some people like me, who are into what we're doing as well.
SC: You have a new single out for "Counterfeit" with a number of remixes...
WB: It's out now. It's not in stores. It was given to radio stations and we've been selling it at the shows.
SC: Is it eventually going to be available in stores?
WB: Probably so. It's just kind of a test run right now. We're seeing what the response is just selling it to the fans on the road.
SC: Who did some of the remixes?
WB: A guy named Josh Abraham and Fieldy from Korn did one. And Lethal, DJ Lethal did the other two.
SC: How has it been with the addition of DJ Lethal to the band?
WB: Oh, really good. Really really excellent. He's almost like another guitar player. I don't work well with other guitar players. But him being a dj, he can do stuff that I can work well with. I think that playing wise, we really compliment each other in the songs. One of the goals on the record that we were trying to strive for was to have there be certain parts of the record where you couldn't tell what was the dj and what was the guitar. I think that we achieved that in some way. There are parts on the records where people come up to me all the time going, "Is that guitar or is that...?" We'll put a ton of effects on our stuff.
SC: How does that transfer to your live show?
WB: Oh yeah, there's nothing on the record we can't do live. And it's interesting because there's so much...a lot of the stuff we did on the record was really spontaneous. So there's parts in the songs where we can really open it up and have fun with it live, and improv, and do different stuff. So it never gets boring to keep playing the songs live. But we try to jazz up the songs. We did the record last November and December, so it's been a year. So we're already wanting to, you know...
SC: Are you guys songwriting while you've been on the road?
SC: Are you playing a lot of different stuff that's not on the album?
WB: We do some cover stuff that's not on the record. Just really stupid cover stuff that's kind of fun.
SC: Kind of like "Faith"?
SC: I would have to say that that has to be one of the coolest covers. The first time I listened to the album I was like, "Wait a minute here , oh my God, is that George Michael's "Faith"? That is super heavy." It's outstanding.
WB: On the next tour we're going to be doing a couple different covers. Hopefully, we're going to try to do "Father Figure" by George Michael just to throw in another cover. I don't know if we'll ever record it, but we're going to do it just for fun. We used to do a cover of "Straight Up" by Paula Abdul and we're going to bring that one back...so I get to play keyboards.
SC: How was working with Ross Robinson?
WB: Excellent. Ross is such a great producer. He's so easy to work with. He's a vacuum cleaner for emotion. He just sucks it out of you...and brings it out and puts it on tape. He brought stuff out in all of us that we didn't really even know was in there, but it was. That's more than a producer. He's a really good motivator/instigator. He really just pulls out melody and fear and love, aggression. He'd take us and put us in that zone to the point what we're recording on tape is beyond reality. It's beyond how we really feel. It's the emotion intensified. We really did some excellent recording. I mean, it was a blast making the record.
SC: I'm seeing a tremendous resurgence, at least on the ground level, of very heavy bands. Obviously with Korn probably breaking away ground for a number of bands and the Deftones gaining a resurgence of popularity... What's your feeling on the resurgence of really heavy music that's not getting any airplay, yet seems to be garnishing a tremendous following?
WB: Yeah, I think that a lot of what has happened as far as Korn and Rage Against the Machine and The Deftones and a lot of other bands in our genre has been kind of a word of mouth and a letting go of the normal way of doing things. Which is make a video, get a single out on the radio. We've not had a lot of help from radio. We've had nothing on MTV. I think M2 has maybe played our video twice. The Box has played it, but The Box is only regional. And Canada's Much Music has done a little bit with it. But, for the most part, by chance you might catch it being played. It's not a regular thing. I think Rage Against the Machine has gotten a lot of airplay and a lot of club play. And they kind of used both mechanisms to make their fan base grow. Rage Against the Machine did so much for everybody. Them getting singles on the radio and having their videos on MTV or whatever...a year ago their videos were being played like all the time, all day. "People of the Sun" was just like non-stop. And I think what that did was open up the mainstream a little bit to recognizing heavy music as a real form of music and something that can be marketed. It's never really been there. People have dressed heavy, and taken pop and tried to make it heavy, and done all this stuff. But since 120 Minutes really doesn't play that much stuff anymore, and Headbanger's Ball got shot down...
SC: And that almost became too pigeonholed and focused on real old school
heavy metal which became limiting, and almost a parody of itself eventually.
WB: So, now things are opening up a little. I think heavy music is really coming around a lot. I think a lot of people are opening up their minds and ears to it. Especially because I think that bands like us and Korn and Deftones have made heavy music a little more audible. I mean people can understand it more because we throw in a little bit of hip-hop, or we throw in some mellower stuff, or jazz. Which is stuff we've been into forever. My favorite band is the Future Sound of London. I love The Cure. Portishead is amazing. Most the stuff I listen to is mellower stuff. But yet I grew up on Death and Slayer and Megadeth and Metallica and Bad Brains, and all those bands like that. The whole crossover theory, or whatever you want to call it, with a lot of these bands combining styles of music now I think is what's making everyone open up a little bit to heavier music. There's something they can identify with in it, yet it brings the heavy music in. Then they can identify with that as well.
SC: Absolutely, I agree. I think that's kind of where a lot of heavy metal's life demised. I think it went too much with mythological imagery and a lot of that< stuff.
WB: Oh, yeah.
SC: How was the tour in Europe, where did you hit?
WB: It was great. We did Scotland and England, everything in the U.K.. Then we did Italy, France, Switzerland, Holland, and a couple others. We pretty much went everywhere all over Europe. We just had a great response. Some of the people, like in Scotland, were starting fires and stuff. Unreal. Those guys...you can take the biggest, nastiest, gnarliest person in the States, like a big huge punk 300 pound motherfucker...and he would just be dwarfed by the intensity of the guys over there. There were people who had those spike implants in their head. It won't be long before it's cool to cut your fingers off or something like that. It's unreal. Like little girls with scarification, branded tattoos and stuff. A little intense.
SC: I've read where DJ Lethal is actually working on a solo project. Will you guys be on that as well?
WB: Yeah, we're going to be doing some work on that. Some of the guys in Korn. Everybody's going to be involved in it. He's going to try to get like so many cameos that you can list them a to z. A lot of people are going to be involved on the record.
SC: How was the Florida scene when you guys first started out? Was it pretty accommodating for what you were doing?
WB: Not really. Not in our town. There was like two scenes going on in our town in Jacksonville. Which one of the scenes was super almost Sonic Youth-y type of Sebadoh, really indie-rock scene. Where all the guitars are going through 200 effects pedals. Wall of noise type of bands. They all wore thrift store clothes and their hair...they looked really thin and sad. It was that scene, and there was another scene that was super heavy metal. Like ridiculous heavy metal. And there was a punk scene kind of tied to the heavy metal scene that all those bands played together. We just kind of were accepted by both. Because we got tired of this separation of the two different scenes. Nobody played with any bands in that scene. All the other people stayed away. We were like, "Nobody's doing any kind of crossover stuff." They're just sticking to what they want to play in those two different categories. And when we came around, I guess we were kind of different than anything anyone had really seen there before there. There were some people into Korn and stuff, but we kind of were a mix of a lot of different styles. We built a scene that didn't exist before there. We were just really proud that we had done it and we couldn't believe it. And then it was...we wrote the song "Counterfeit" actually about what happened after that. Because we...all these bands started changing like from the other two scenes and started becoming rap-rock bands. And we were just like, "What is happening here?" They saw this little thing we built, or whatever, and they went and they were like, "Oh, let's get baggy pants and dress like kind of hip-hoppy and, you know, play heavy metal and rap." And then we went, "Holy shit! What's going on here?" Like five or six bands just popped up out of nowhere that became these, you know, groups that were trying to sound like us. It was ridiculous. That's where the song "Counterfeit" came from.
I got this interview from http://www.spinalcolumn.com/xray/limp.html