LOS ANGELES — The more time Wes Borland spent in Limp Bizkit, the more things around him turned black.
First his wardrobe — draping cloaks that brought to mind one of his favorite characters, Darth Vader. Then his eyes — gripping contacts that, next to his flaring nostrils, made him look like a guitar-toting monster. His heart was the next to go.
“Bells start going off, like, ’This is what it feels like to sell out,'” Borland recalled. “I’m enjoying all the perks of [Limp Bizkit], but I feel my heart is going black, because this is not what I’m called to do. The little voice inside my head says, ’You should be somewhere else. You should take the risk. You should let it go.’
“I think they’ll be better now that I’m gone,” he adds. “I think I held them back from being their best, because I was so against all the things that were going on.”
Borland, reclining in a fancy office chair in his home studio and staring at walls lined with packaged “Stars Wars” figures and his own eerie graffiti, talked at ease last week in his first interview since he left Limp Bizkit four months ago (see “Limp Bizkit And Wes Borland Part Ways “). With Greg Isabelle, friend and drummer of his new band, Eat the Day, at his side, Borland explained exactly what inspired him to leave one of the world’s biggest rock bands, take singing lessons and start up his own group.
“I could have probably gone on and still played the part of the guitar player of Limp Bizkit, but musically I was kind of bored. If I was to continue, it would have been about the money and not about the true music, and I don’t want to lie to myself, or to them or to fans of Limp Bizkit,” Borland explained.
“I think I had a good run,” he continued. “I was with that band for five or six years, we did a lot of really neat things and I had a great time. I went there and did the whole fame and money thing, and it’s just not as important as making the music that I want to make. It’s just time to move on for me.”
Borland said his bandmates in Limp Bizkit gradually became more like work friends than real friends, which meant being in the band had become a job. He wanted none of that, especially when his brother and best friends were making music without him.
Since the night he called Fred Durst, DJ Lethal, Sam Rivers and John Otto one by one and told them he was leaving Limp Bizkit, Borland has not talked to anyone from the band. “The original statement said the split was amicable, and I would say that it is, but that doesn’t mean that we can, like, hang out. It’s gonna take a lot of time to heal. There’s definitely not any bad feelings, but it’s not like we’re going to have lunch anytime soon.”
After the split, Borland took apart his guitar pedal rigs and slowly let his parts in “Nookie,” “Rollin’ ” and the rest of the Limp Bizkit catalog escape from his head. He needs new gear and mental energy for Eat the Day, the band he has since formed with his brother, guitarist/bassist Scott Borland, Isabelle and sound engineer Kyle Weeks — the same Speedo-wearing band he took on the road to promote his quirky solo project Big Dumb Face (see “Ex-Bizkit Borland Digs In With His New Band, Eat The Day” ).
Borland would like to make very clear, however, that Eat the Day is not Big Dumb Face or anything close to it.
“Big Dumb Face was sort of an experiment in extreme stupidity, and I guess part of me wanted to see how much I could get away with as far as like, ’OK, I’m in this big rock band, let me put out a record of complete garbage to see what people do and how hard I get bashed and maybe [gain] a little cult following,’ ” Borland explained. “If you’ve ever been drunk or done a drug and had an idea while you were under the influence that you thought would be good then, but then you sober up later, [Big Dumb Face] was holding onto that idea all the way through!”
Borland said Big Dumb Face got all of the humor out of him, and he is ready to make a serious album with Eat the Day — so serious that he and his brother are learning to sing properly. (They want to avoid having an official frontman.)
“We both always wrote lyrics and wanted to sing, so we’ve been doing vocal lessons twice a week for the last four months,” Borland said. “I don’t feel like singing should be taken lightly. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it’s coming along.”
Borland’s contributions on guitar and bass are similar to the big chunky riffs he provided to Limp Bizkit. Meanwhile, his brother adds a more classically trained, chord-heavy sound to the mix.
“The two of them compliment each other perfectly,” Isabelle said. “One picks up where the other one leaves off. They are natural together, like only brothers can be. It’s pretty cool.”
Eat the Day have written 18 tracks since October. They are presenting a demo to Interscope Records later this month and hope to rent a house together and record an album in early spring. They had originally planned to have Ross Robinson (Limp Bizkit, Slipknot) produce, but later decided to do it themselves. “What he does for bands is he gives bands a lot of fire and a lot of fury, but I think we’ve located where our energy is and where our message is from,” Borland said.
By late summer, Eat the Day plan to release their debut and promote it with a tour. The band’s live show will be a rock experiment of sorts, with engineer Weeks taking the stage with the rest of the guys. “He will be taking things that everyone else in the band is playing and running them through effects and spitting them back out, and really just giving everything interesting textures,” Borland explained.
The name Eat the Day came from an old music file on one of Borland’s keyboards. “It is not an intentional ’Seize the day!’ type of thing, but it kind of worked in with the whole [concept of] me taking control of my life,” Borland said. “It is a very ’live in the moment’ type of name, and it kind of reminds me of a horror movie too, like an old 70’s film, like ’Dawn of the Dead’ or … ’Eat the Day!’ ”
As for Goatslayer, Borland’s other project, those recordings have been laid to rest. “Big Dumb Face was a very professional version of Goatslayer,” he said. “It’s just really, really, really dumb. But we’re ready to be big boys now and get on with the big boy band.”