Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit Compares "Gold Cobra" to "Jaws" Reminisces about Family Values Tour
Mon, 19 Sep 2011 07:05:49
Limp Bizkit returned in 2011 with a real vengeance. Their new album, Gold Cobra, sees the band at their most intense and infectious. Hearkening back to the heaviness of their breakout debut, Three Dollar Bill Y'All, Gold Cobra has no shortage of rap rock assault and battery. However, the band rekindle that fire via a more technical and intricate instrumental execution. This is the Limp Bizkit you know and love but they're more vicious than ever and Gold Cobra's bite is infinitely sharper.
This Saturday the band makes their return to the stage in the United States at Southern California's Epicenter Festival, and it's bound to be a show for the books.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com, Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland opened up about Gold Cobra, talked movies, remembered The Family Values tour, and discussed the future of Black Light Burns.
Gold Cobra captures the spirit of Three Dollar Bill Y'All with evolved instrumentation. Would you say that's the case?
We didn't have a lot of intent on doing that while making it, but things naturally sort of want to go in that direction. After we started the process of writing and recording the record, I tried to be sensitive to that lack of guitar experimentation on record two, three, and so on. I tried to put some more juice into the record guitar-wise.
Do you feel like you had room to push the envelope with your playing this time?
The experimentation is controlled experimentation. I'm limiting the amount of stuff that I'm using so I know what I'm doing with the equipment I am utilizing instead of bringing in a bunch of new things that I was bought, rented, or was given that I don't really know how to use. I tried to rely on what I have and make the most out of it. That's it!
Did you always want to solo more on a Bizkit record?
It's something that I wanted to do, but it also just felt right for the song at the time. Fred and I are really developing a friendship here that we never had before. There's an openness in the writing where we're really accepting of what the other one does. He was so encouraging during the making of the record like, "Yeah, let's put a guitar solo there!" It was a really open cool thing. I didn't have to fight to get anywhere. It was all positive. The songs just cracked themselves open and made room to have a part like there during the writing process which was neat.
Do you feel like this was always how this band was supposed to sound? Does everyone have room to shine?
I think so. It took a year and a half to make the record. The only mistake we made was telling people it was going to come out sooner than it was. We thought we were going to be done sooner than we were. We wrote the record in several sessions so we had time to listen to the stuff and actually let the band grow during the time we were making the record. We could go back in and make changes. We'd say, "Wow, it'd be really neat to do a song like this!" Living with the record gave it more time to become what it was. It's not how we should've always sounded, but I think that we're finally starting to take advantage of the potential we've achieved as musicians in and outside of Limp Bizkit and bringing it all together to make it work on Gold Cobra.
What's the story behind "Killer In You"?
That was a beat Lethal had made. He sampled a snippet of me screwing around on guitar in the studio awhile before we wrote the song and put it over the beat. It's a wild metal-sounding riff. He brought it in and everyone said, "Wow, we should really let that one out of the cage, grow, and put some more parts on it." We started working on it, and the sister song to that is "Bring It Back" because it has the programmed beat and more metal riff. Then, it has the bigger open chorus that's more of a full band experience. We were really trying to push that hip hop metal thing in a place where the guitar and the beat are more polarized than they've ever been. The knobs on each area got kicked up to super metal riff and super hip hop beat.
Given that you had so much time to work on the album, is it more cohesive?
Fred is obsessed with the order of the record. I'm much more of a fly-by-night person. He really takes the time. While the record was being mixed, I would pop in and out, but he was there every day all day long. He really put a lot of care into the way it was sequenced and how everything was put together.
What are you influenced by outside of music? Where else do you cull inspiration from?
I'm a really big fan of weirdo movies and a lot of Japanese horror and some Japanese sci-fi. I also try to pay to attention different opera costume designers. Even the set designers on big opera productions are inspiring. I go to the L.A. opera a lot. I'm trying to soak in as much art as possible. I love Matthew Barney. I love Takashi Miike. A lot of Björk's visual ideas are really inspiring. I'm always open. What can I rip off and combine with different things to somehow make it my own? My sensor is always on.
If Gold Cobra were a movie or a combination of movies, what would it be?
We were thinking of Gold Cobra as a horror movie. That's where the album cover came from. As far as the art goes, I was thinking of Frank Frazetta-type of images with the giant snakes and monsters with scantily clad really sexy girls under a guy with a sword. It's that Conan-looking Frazetta art. That's where a lot of the inspiration for the art came. I put it through my retard filter and it came out like it did on the album. If I had to compare Gold Cobra to a movie, I guess it would be Jaws [Laughs].
Who's the shark?
We're collectively the shark and we like to swim with bow-legged women [Laughs].
Do you look back at the original Family Values Tour as a milestone?
It definitely was. I remember I'd seen Rammstein a couple years before at a festival in Europe. It might've been in 1996. That was the first tour we ever did. I didn't really know who they were, but I remember seeing the burning coat on stage and being in shock at how cool it was. Realizing we were going to be on tour with them was unreal. That was an awesome tour. Now that we've come back together and are doing things, people will send me stuff on Twitter and go like, "Look at this from way back when." It'll be an interview or something and I have no memory of it. I don't remember a lot of that stuff. I wasn't drunk or on drugs. It's such a whirlwind to be on a tour like that. In '98, I was 22- or 23-years-old. At that age, it's so crazy. I don't remember a lot of it, but I remember the feeling of it. It felt huge, and it felt amazing.
Is there another Black Light Burns record on the way?
There's one done in the can, but my priority right now is Bizkit. As soon as the Bizkit album year or years is done, we're actually writing another record while we're touring. Whenever we get a break, there's a movie that Fred really wants to make called Pawnshop Chronicles that he's going to take some time off to do. I'm hoping that during the time, while he's making the film, I can release the Black Light record and do a U.S. band tour with a couple of cool bands. It's definitely a labor of love.
Have you heard Gold Cobra?