Originally posted on thevine.com.au
The other day I read this thing about how the latter half of Aaron North’s [The Icarus Line, NIN] composite genius-insanity went totally unnoticed in the shadow of the former, until it was too late. It has been troubling me ever since. How many of these born performers are hanging on by a shred?
It also made this conversation with Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland (above, uh you know the one) eerier and eerier. All I did was ask him how he was going like a normal and polite human and sometimes that’s all you gotta be. Easy to forget there’s a man underneath the monkey.
“I’m well, thanks,” Wes says. He sounds out of breath. “I just got back from mountain biking.”
You are the last person I can picture biking mountains.
Actually I guess you’re kinda ripped.
I try to stay fit, man. I’m getting’ old, I gotta keep up with it. It’s mostly about my level of patience with other people and… I might just have borderline personality disorder, so I have to keep it together, man. Run the evil outta myself, I guess, so that I’m tolerable to be around. You know, not like all irritable and about to spew evil at everyone for no reason.
Well I am finding you to be quite the pleasant character.
That’s ‘cos I just rode my bike, man! I gotta do it every day or I go insane.
You serious about the BPD thing?
Little bit, yeah.
Have you been diagnosed?
No, but I’m working on it. I’m working on getting to the bottom of what’s been goin’ on my whole life. I just started seeing a therapist, so. I had to talk a little bit. Anyway. On to more important things.
Mental health is very important.
Exercise is the key, man. Exercise is they key.
I like to moderate my latent sociopathy with Converge.
Oh yeah? I guess if you’re in a moshpit where you’re headbanging vigorously for 30 minutes, that will make a difference. Listening to it may just make you more agitated. It doesn’t work for me anymore. Listening to it doesn’t do the trick. If I’m playing it and playing shows, I don’t have to mountain bike every day. It’s gotta be kinetic. I have to get it outta my system somehow.
What was your catalyst for going, “Hey maybe I got a screw loose”?
I’ve always sorta thought I had a screw loose. I think after adolescence and after my twenties, I kept not knowing why I was angry all the time. I think it’s part of the reason I quit the band for a while, part of the reason I’ve had trouble with relationships and just different things.
I don’t like people, yet I’m really compassionate towards people. I started wondering, like, “There’s something wrong with my filter that I look at the world through.” I don’t wanna go on meds or anything, ‘cos that makes your dick not work and also makes your creativity go away.
You know, that same emotional petroleum fire might also be fuelling said creativity.
Right, but I have to find ways to do something about it so that I’m not just… usually people get over their, like, anger at the world and that immaturity thing. That never went away for me. I can’t figure out a reason why it’s there. I’m coming to the conclusion there’s something wrong with me.
Is the way you react to some situations way more intense than is warranted?
Oh yeah, all the time. All the time. It takes very little to set me off, and I don’t know what will. That’s why I’ve had trouble working with Fred [Durst, Limp Bizkit frontman] in the past, ‘cos he’s got his own bag of junk to deal with. Lately I guess maturity has kicked in to some extent. Over the last few years, his and mine’s relationship has been great.
Is he a jerk like everyone on the internet who seems to know him very deeply and personally says?
No, he’s as much a jerk as a I am. Half the people I know will tell me I’m a jerk, and half of ‘em will go, “No you’re not, you’re fine.” It depends on the day. Usually my closest friends are the ones that suffer, as they do. Publicly I usually keep it under wraps. It’s been an interesting year. I’m almost… I decided to take a year off of drinking, off of alcohol.
Was this some kinda personal test?
It was a personal test, yeah. I’m almost at the end of it, of the year of not drinking. It’s not been difficult, so I don’t know.
I think that I just don’t like reality in a lot of ways. A year ago I’d been drinking too much for my own judgment. I was like, “Wow I’m really comfortable with drinking a lot and my tolerance is really high.” I wasn’t blacking out or anything like that, I just noticed I had become uncomfortably too comfortable with it: “Whoa, I’m doing this all the time. Like, all the time.”
It was amazing, the clarity when I stopped, like, “Ohhh yeah. OK. This is better.”
Do you feel like you’re repressing something maybe?
Um, I don’t know. I don’t think so. I don’t know of anything that’s happened to me. I’ve even thought about it like, “Did I get abused or beat up? Or sexually abused? Did something weird happen to me? Is my dad my real dad?” None of that happened. I’ve tried to uncover stuff like that and no, I had a totally normal… I guess not totally normal, but a very un-agitated upbringing. I wasn’t in a house of turmoil or anything like that.
You ARE in Limp Bizkit.
People give you guys so much shit.
That’s all just surface bullshit. Where would we be if people weren’t constantly giving us shit for who we are? That’s just something that, through the years, has become relevant but non-toxic to us, in a way. It’s there and we know it’s there, but it’s to the point now.
We’ve [recently] gotten good reviews in Vice magazine, for some reason. Yeah. Our New York show got a glowing review in Vice: “They’re so uncool that it’s cool now!” We did it, and that’s punk, and they were calling us punk rock and stuff. I think it’s funny.
Over the years, the naysayers want so bad to keep stabbing us in the face. Somehow they’re still hypnotised by stabbing us in the face. They love it. They want it. There’s still something about us that people… if we were completely irrelevant, they’d just leave us alone, not even touch us anymore. We’re doing something right, I guess, to elicit that behaviour.
You ever thought about exactly why?
Nu-metal wasn’t that long ago, but it sort of was. Time itself has changed a lot in the last 40 or 50 years. Time is totally different, and it moves at a pace that doesn’t match up with people’s lives. A personal timeline doesn’t match up with like, a public or ‘limelight’ timeline. People still like the bands they liked, even though it may go out of fashion publicly. It was 1996 when our band was formed. That is 17 years ago, I guess.
I’ve been in the music business non-stop. I feel like a veteran, but I also feel like I’ve got a lot more to give to it. Maybe in a changing way, but it’s still something I’m interested in and I definitely haven’t cooled off with my admiration for new acts and new bands, and my excitement about change and, in some ways, things staying the same. People are still moved by lives shows and by albums, and that’s fascinating to me. I don’t really like recording them, but I like playing live.
Speaking of admiration, I love that From First To Last record, Heroine, that you played bass on and that also featured Skrillex on vocals before he was Skrillex.
Yeah, it was definitely interesting doing that. You could tell Sonny [Moore, yes Skrillex has a real human name] was a special kid, and he was really going to do something. I could never have imagined that it would be what it is at the time, but he definitely didn’t fit in with that band, with that environment. There was a weird power-struggle between him and the guitarists.
I sort of can’t believe you haven’t shown up on any of his wub yet.
We’ve talked about it. We talked about it when we were both out in Australia last year, but it’s at that time where he’s just too big right now. I can’t even get near him to do anything in a professional sense. Definitely one day when he’s ready and I’m ready.
Toby McCasker (@jane_tobes)