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Wes Borland

Wes Borland
Borland performing with Limp Bizkit at Rock am Ring 2013.
Background information
Birth name Wesley Louden Borland
Born (1975-02-07) February 7, 1975
Richmond, Virginia, United States
Origin Jacksonville, Florida, United States
Genres Nu metal, industrial metal, alternative metal
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, artist, oil painter and sculptor
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass, piano, keyboards, drums, violin, cello, percussion, programming
Years active 1995–present
Labels Independent, Cash Money, Flip, Interscope, Geffen, Mojo
Associated acts Limp Bizkit, Black Light Burns, Queen Kwong, Big Dumb Face, From First to Last, Marilyn Manson, The Damning Well, X Japan, Goatslayer, Eat the Day
Website .com.theborlandgallerywww
Notable instruments
Jackson Warrior
Jackson Randy Rhoads
Yamaha CV820 WB
Ibanez RG7 CST
PRS Standard 24

Wesley Louden "Wes" Borland (born February 7, 1975) is an American rock musician and artist. He is best known as the current guitarist and backing vocalist of the nu metal band Limp Bizkit and as the lead vocalist of the industrial rock band Black Light Burns.

He gained popularity when Limp Bizkit achieved mainstream success in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He formed a band called Big Dumb Face with his brother Scott in 1998. Borland left Limp Bizkit in 2001 and started many side projects such as Eat the Day and The Damning Well. After rejoining Limp Bizkit in 2004, Borland founded Black Light Burns, with whom he has released three studio albums and a covers album. Limp Bizkit went on hiatus following the release of their album The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1) (2005). But, they reunited in 2009, and recorded their sixth studio album, Gold Cobra (2011).

Borland is known for his sonic experimentation and elaborate visual appearance, which has included face and body paint, masks and uniforms. He has drawn album covers and created artwork for many of his music projects as well as oil paintings. Borland was voted #37 in Total Guitar's Top 100 Guitarists of All Time.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Limp Bizkit and mainstream success (1994–2002) 2.1
    • Departure from Limp Bizkit, side projects, brief return to Limp Bizkit and Black Light Burns formation (2002–2009) 2.2
    • Limp Bizkit reunion and current events (2009–present) 2.3
  • Personal life 3
  • Equipment 4
  • Style 5
  • Discography 6
  • Filmography 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life

Originally from Richmond, Virginia, United States, Borland grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. He initially took an interest in becoming a drummer, but because his parents didn't take to the idea of bringing percussive instruments into their household, Borland began taking guitar lessons from a member of his parents' Presbyterian church.[1] Borland's musical interests were at odds with the local music trends which leaned largely toward country music. He recalled, "I would bring in something, and my teacher would go, 'I've never heard of the Damned. Don't you want to play some Merle Haggard?'"[1]

Borland's brother,

  • Black Light Burns

External links

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  7. ^ Seymour, Craig (October 26, 2000). High 'Rollin. Entertainment Weekly. Accessed May 21, 2008.
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List of films and TV shows appeared in
Year Title Role Notes
2012 Oddities (TV series) Himself Episode: "Holly-Odd"


Other appearances
Black Light Burns
Big Dumb Face
Limp Bizkit


Borland is also known for performing in costumes and body paint during concerts, appearing in bunny and kung fu suits,[2] and painted as a skeleton and what he describes as a "burnt match". Describing the character, he stated, "I go onstage wearing almost nothing. I have underwear and my boots on, and I paint my whole head black—from the neck up—and I have the black contacts. All you can see is these glowing teeth."[2][32] Borland's black contacts were customized for him by a company noted for making contacts for the science fiction TV series Babylon 5.[32]

Borland writes songs by forming them in rough outlines and filling in the details later. According to Borland, "I'm good at creating ideas while using a guitar in a new way, but it takes me a long time. I can't just come up with stuff fast and rip it up. I think about constructing songs, and even riffs, in the same way as a painting, putting on a little bit at a time. They're sketchy at first, and then I know what I want, and I fit notes into places."[1]

Borland's playing is still identifiable in Black Light Burns, but by his own admission, he strives to go for a cleaner type of sound in Black Light Burns, where the heaviness comes from his bass playing, instead of in Limp Bizkit where he seeks a more metal oriented sound. He plays keyboards and textures more overtly as tools to layer Black Light Burns' sound where in Limp Bizkit the layers are considered by the full band more.

Wes Borland is known for his visual performance style, and often performs wearing costumes or body paint.

Borland's guitar playing is experimental and nontraditional, and he is noted for his creative use of six and seven-string guitars.[32] Three Dollar Bill, Yall features him playing without a guitar pick, performing with two hands, one playing melodic notes, and the other playing chord progressions.[2] The song "Stuck" uses a sustain pedal in the first bar, and muted riffs in the second bar.[33] His guitar playing has made use of octave shapes, and choppy, eighth-note rhythms, sometimes accompanied by muting his strings with his left hand, creating a percussive sound.[33] Borland has also made use of unevenly accented syncopated sixteenth notes to create a disorienting effect, and hypnotic, droning licks.[33] Borland uses a locking tremolo system quite extensively to "dive bomb" notes in the middle of guitar parts, as heard in songs like Limp Bizkit's "Hot Dog" and "Get a Life". He said that he got the idea to dive notes down an octave then have them come back up from trombone players.

"Shotgun", from Limp Bizkit's album Gold Cobra, highlights Borland's unique playing style in this solo.

Problems playing this file? See .


Borland uses Ernie Ball .011-.052 gauge nickel-wound strings, where the G string is wound. For Limp Bizkit's first three albums, Borland used Mesa-Boogie Dual and Triple Rectifier amps. In 2000, Borland would use the Mesa Boogie heads in conjunction with a Diezel VH4. In the Mid 2000's, on the recording of Cruel Melody and The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1), Borland's main amp was the Diezel VH4. Starting with the 2008 recording of The Moment You Realize You're Going to Fall Borland played mainly Orange Amps (specifically the Thunderverb 100 models) since touring in support of Cruel Melody began and has continued to use them since then, also on Gold Cobra. Currently, Borland plays EVH Amps and cabinets for his heavier tones. The mainstay of Borland's amp setup has been a Roland JC-120 combo amplifier to generate his particularly exceptional clean tones.

Borland tunes his guitars to C# standard tuning (C# F# B E G# C#) and to Drop B tuning (B F# B E G# C#). He also tunes his 4-string baritone guitars to a variant of this tuning with a low F# string, which is a bass string (F# F# B E). During the late 1990s when Borland played 7-string guitars, he played them like one would play a 6-string guitar by tuning the highest string to C# as well, while maintaning standard C# tuning all the way to the seventh string. This technique was later used by Stephen Carpenter of Deftones so he could play the songs he originally recorded on a six-string without losing the feel of a seven-string, as Limp Bizkit and the Deftones had toured together in the mid 90's.

Other guitars Borland has been seen with before are a 1976 Fender Starcaster a stock ESP LTD V-401DX (used on the Limp Bizkit reunion tour for playing songs on Results May Vary) and Mayones Regius Pro 6, Legend and Setius GTM 6 Baritone guitars.

Borland was endorsed by Jackson shortly before the release of Gold Cobra, and owned several Rhoads guitars, which he used on Limp Bizkit shows. He now plays a custom white Warrior model with black bevels, and a Gun Metal Grey Warrior, along with a white Randy Rhoads guitar. He does not currently have a signature model with Jackson. Additionally, Borland also uses a Fender Bass VI, tuned to one octave below E standard tuning. He uses this on "The Story" on The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1), and again on "90.2.10", "Walking Away", and "Back Porch" on the Gold Cobra record.

In 2005, Yamaha approached Borland about a new signature guitar, which was almost 100% designed by Borland. The model CV820WB was released that same year. It is a semi-hollow body guitar with a large body and new Yamaha high-output split field humbuckers, made exclusively for that guitar. It also comes with the new Yamaha Quick Change finger-clamp locking tremolo system, which rids the user of having to cut the ball ends off of the strings, which is very unusual for a locking tremolo. This was Borland's main guitar for the recording of Black Light Burns' Cruel Melody and the touring behind it, as well as most of the touring Limp Bizkit did before the recording of Gold Cobra. Despite its innovative characteristics, it wasn't a popular guitar, per se, and was discontinued in mid-2011, when Borland switched to Jackson Guitars, more or less beginning with the recording of Gold Cobra.

During the recording for Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water, Borland switched to 6-string guitars. The entire album was recorded using a Master Guitars Cremona semi-hollow body guitar, which is visible in the video for My Generation. However, Borland did not tour with this guitar and instead used Paul Reed Smith guitars, one of which is a Standard 24 in a Platinum Metallic finish, a Custom 24 in a Black Slate finish, and a 4-string baritone. After the tour, they were not seen again. In a recent Facebook photo posted by Fred Durst, Borland is shown playing the Cremona again in 2012 for studio purposes.

Borland used Ibanez seven-string guitars exclusively from 1997 until 1999. However, he stated that he played a 6-string guitar on the entire Three Dollar Bill, Yall record. Shortly after embarking on a tour with Korn, Ibanez got a hold of Borland and gave him a number of seven-string Universe guitars, essentially for free, which he continued to use extensively. During the touring in support of Significant Other, Borland used two custom Ibanez RG seven-strings with the electronic setup of an Ibanez AX7521 (two volume knobs and two tone knobs rather than one volume and one tone). Nothing is certain about the type of pickups that he used, however, he did use EMG pickups at one point, stating in an interview with GuitarCenter that he was moving from "passive to active pickups". Borland also endorsed the rare Ibanez RG7 CST guitar, which is made from superior/high-quality materials and is also equipped with an L.R. Baggs designed piezo system on a locking tremolo. He is currently one of two American owners of one. Additionally, Borland used a vintage Ibanez Musician MC150PW, which was modified to be fitted with 4-strings, which he used on songs such as "Nookie", "Full Nelson", and "The One". This guitar can be seen in the music video for "Nookie." Ibanez then made him a custom baritone 4-string AX that would be used to replace the Musician. This was eventually replaced by a custom-made Master Guitars "Cremona" 4-string, which he uses to this day.


In April 1998 Wes married his long-time girlfriend Heather McMillen, but later divorced in 2001. His second marriage was with Anna Borland in March 2009[29] but they divorced in 2013.[30] He is currently in a relationship with Carré Callaway, lead singer of Queen Kwong.[31]

Personal life

Borland collaborated with Riot Games to develop Hybrid Worlds, the theme song for the League of Legends Season 3 World Championships. Borland performed live for the event on October 4, 2013, along with The Crystal Method.[28] He is currently hard at work with the guys in Limp Bizkit on their seventh studio album Stampede of the Disco Elephants.

In 2012, Black Light Burns began performing after their brief hiatus and released their second studio album The Moment You Realize You're Going to Fall and a concept "album", Lotus Island, in January 2013. In the same year, during the Black Light Burns tour, Borland stated that he would never do a solo project. "If I would do a solo project I would put my name on the record. But that will never happen."[27]

Borland also designed the album artwork for Fear and the Nervous System's 2011 eponymous debut album. Borland has also gone onto a remixing career with his distribution of alternative versions of songs by metal bands. Most recently, The Word Alive has had their song "The Hounds of Anubis" remixed by Borland.[26] He also played guitar in the soundtrack of Resident Evil: Afterlife by Tomandandy.

In 2009, the original lineup of Limp Bizkit reunited and began touring, which resulted in a second Black Light Burns record being put on the backburner. Borland left Manson's employ in May of the same year, claiming his reasons for leaving included rejoining his old band and having creative differences with Manson, citing "It's the Marilyn Manson show over there." [20] Limp Bizkit recorded a new album, which Borland named Gold Cobra.[21] Released on June 28, 2011. It received mixed reviews,[22] with multiple reviewers praising Borland's guitar playing.[23][24] It peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard 200.[25]

Limp Bizkit reunion and current events (2009–present)

On August 2008, at the ETP Conference, it was announced that Borland joined Marilyn Manson as a guitarist.[19] In the winter of 2008, Borland helped in the recording of The Color of Violence's 2009 album Youthanize as a bassist.

Black Light Burns released its début album, Cruel Melody in the spring of 2007 to critical acclaim. It featured Borland on the vocals and guitars. Allmusic writer Greg Prato wrote, "For many, Borland was the only Limp Bizkit member who was taken seriously. As evidenced by Cruel Melody, he is now officially allowed to follow whichever musical path he so desires.".[17] In 2008, Borland, along with Richard Fortus and Sugizo, supported Japanese metal band X Japan at their sold out reunion concerts at the Tokyo Dome.[18]

In March 2001, Big Dumb Face released its début album, Duke Lion Fights the Terror!!. Borland stated that the band's music is "really silly and idiotic and bizarre. [...] It's nothing but stupid [...] just all these retarded songs."[4] In the fall of 2001, Borland left Limp Bizkit[8] citing creative differences with the band,[9] and also disbanded Big Dumb Face.[10] He started a side project called Eat the Day, with Scott Borland, but it was eventually set aside.[11] After the 'failure' of another project, The Damning Well, in 2003,[12] Borland began writing a solo record with its members Danny Lohner and Josh Freese, with Josh Eustis and Jonathan Bates contributing. This record served as the precursor to Black Light Burns. In August 2004, Borland rejoined Limp Bizkit and recorded another album, The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1) in 2005.[13][14] Following the release of the band's Greatest Hitz album, the band went on hiatus after arguments broke out on MySpace between Borland and frontman Fred Durst,[15] with Borland stating,"As of right now, none of my future plans include Limp Bizkit."[16] In 2005, Borland formed Black Light Burns. Borland stated that this was now his main project, and anything else he did, including Limp Bizkit, was a side project.[15] Borland toured with From First To Last[15] roughly since early 2006. He announced planned for a fall 2006 tour that never went through due to Black Light Burns needing to find a new record label after Borland left Geffen Records. Borland had discussed plans to write and perform on the next From First To Last album, but he left the band when Black Light Burns' busy schedule started to pick up, leaving no room to work with From First to Last.

Borland as the frontman for Black Light Burns in 2009.

Departure from Limp Bizkit, side projects, brief return to Limp Bizkit and Black Light Burns formation (2002–2009)

Significant Other saw Limp Bizkit reaching a new level of commercial success. The album climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard 200, selling 643,874 copies in its first week of release.[5] In 2000, Durst announced that the band's third studio album would be titled Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water. The press thought that Durst was joking about this title.[6] The album title is intended to sound like a fictional band; the phrase "Chocolate Starfish" referred to Durst himself, as he had frequently been called an asshole.[6] Borland contributed the other half of the album's title when the band was standing around at a truck stop, looking at bottles of flavored water, and Borland joked that the truck stop didn't have hot dog or meat-flavored water.[6] It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 1.05 million copies in its first week,[7] and was the 18th best-selling album of the 2000s in the US.

Although the album was met with minimal response, touring consistently increased Limp Bizkit's success, and the third single from Three Dollar Bill, Yall, "Faith", became a radio hit, leading to a slot on Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne.[3] In 1998, Borland formed a side project, Big Dumb Face with his brother, influenced by Ween and Mr. Bungle.[4]

Borland joined Faith" and Paula Abdul's "Straight Up"; the band also gave energetic live performances in which Borland appeared in bizarre costumes.[2] Borland's theatrical rock style was the primary attraction for many concert attendees.[2] After DJ Lethal joined the band as a turntablist, Borland left Limp Bizkit after a disagreement with Durst.[2] However, Borland rejoined after the band signed with Mojo, a subsidiary of MCA Records.[2] After a dispute with Mojo, Limp Bizkit signed with Flip, a subsidiary of Interscope Records, and recorded their debut, Three Dollar Bill, Yall, which featured an abrasive, angry sound that Limp Bizkit used to attract listeners to their music.[2]

Limp Bizkit and mainstream success (1994–2002)



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