Wes Borland is an American guitarist and backing vocalist for Limp Bizkit. Earlier this year, Borland announced a partnership with Analogr to auction his most-prized gear throughout years of touring and recording. This includes his first Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier amplifier used in the recording of Bizkit’s debut album Three Dollar Bill, Y’all. Other auction items included his Yamaha CV820WB, considered Borland’s signature guitar based on a Fender Starcaster and described as having a “weird offset look.”
Of course, Wes Borland is no stranger to weird looks. Our past bio on guitarist Buckethead is an example of artists who indulge in donning outlandish on-stage looks. While Buckethead is famed for his white mask and KFC bucket, Wes Borland prefers to switch things up — as long as things remain as strange, dark, and otherworldly as possible.
Who is Wes Borland?
Born on February 7, 1975, Wes Borland gained popularity when Limp Bizkit rose to mainstream success in the late 90s and early 00s. While Bizkit was a chance for Borland to show off his rap and heavy metal guitar skills, he also had various other side projects. In 1998, he formed the experimental metal band Big Dumb Face with his brother Scott. He left Limp Bizkit in 2001 before rejoining the band in 2004. After rejoining, Borland also founded the alternative and industrial rock band Black Light Burns. Early this year, the band played their first show of 2023 in Munich, Germany, where Borland debuted a new on-stage look featuring a custom-made metal armor worn over a black suit. The 24-song show was a success as the band played some well-loved classics as well as a few songs from their 2021 release, Still Sucks, including a live debut of the song “Barnacle.”
What Are Wes Borland and Limp Bizkit’s Best Songs?
After their Munich show back in March, Limp Bizkit played Germany’s huge Rock Am Ring festival early in June. While a relatively shorter set at eleven songs, the metal band brought back some of their best tracks like “Hot Dog,” “Rollin’,” “My Generation,” “Livin’ It Up,” “My Way,” and more. However, one memorable standout was the band’s cover of The Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes” — a full-hearted power ballad that had 100,000 people in attendance singing along emotionally. As of writing, the cover is one of Limp Bizkit’s most streamed songs, garnering over 340 million streams on the music streaming platform Spotify.
Why Does Wes Borland Wear Black Contact Lenses?
Borland relies on dark imagery as part of his signature on-stage look, most famously wearing black contact lenses. These lenses cover most of one’s sclera, giving a person an otherworldly, dramatic appeal. In the world of metal music, black contacts can give off demonic, devilish vibes or big-eyed aliens and blood-thirsty vampires, which suits the group’s vibe. It also makes practical sense why Borland would opt to wear contact lenses, as they — when compared to glasses — don’t change the aesthetics of his face and are a direct extension of his eyes. Rather than going for absurd (but potentially obstructive) glasses, contact lenses are also useful because they don’t steam up and can be worn for up to 16 hours per day, perfect for strenuous Limp Bizkit gigs. Even with his latest metallic armor look on stage, Borland can be seen retaining his iconic black lenses, giving the odd and medieval look a demonic spin worthy of Bizkit’s music.
What Makes Borland a Good Guitarist?
In an interview on downsizing his ‘ridiculous gear collection’, Borland highlights how years of recording and engineering have led him to a huge learning experience about what works best for him. This is evident, particularly in the development of his riff writing technique, which resulted from being unable to afford effects pedals when he first started playing. Later in his career, Borland realized nobody else was doing it like him — using the whammy bar like a trombone or bringing notes up and down to create a suction that works with the drums. Today, Borland is considered one of the Top 100 Guitarists of All Time.