The Many Faces Of Wes Borland

The eccentric Limp Bizkit guitarist isn’t shy about trying out brand new looks onstage, so we thought we’d take a look at ten of his best and bonkers outfits in recent years. We love you, Wes. Don’t ever change.

Back in the late ‘90s, before the Bizkit stormed the world with their starfish made of chocolate and water that tasted of hotdogs, Wes was finding his feet as a true visual artist. Here at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in California, glimmers of insanity were beginning to show through his dead, jet black eyes.

Fast-forward ten years and Wes has morphed from an assuming guitarist with black contacts and a penchant for white body paint into this creature that took to the stage in Milan, Italy 2009. Strapping a glitter ball to your face is a strong look for any man, but coupled with startling red lipstick, a colourful ribcage and targets on each shoulder – it’s hard to look away.

Following in the footsteps of Picasso, Wes Borland too had a blue period. Well, very briefly at Sonisphere in 2009. Here we see the Bizkit man harnessing the power of Daz washing powder with his bright white suit and spreading the blood of Smurfs across his chops.

We’re not sure what happened in the 12 months beforehand, but Borland took a turn to the dark side in 2010 as Limp Bizkit performed at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City. Resurrecting the glitter ball from the much-loved lipstick era, the outfit is much for ghoulish and menacing and a complete juxtaposition to the majority of Bizkit’s output.

By the time Reading festival rolls round in 2010 the darkness has truly taken hold of Wes and his inner demons have transformed the guitarist into the Wicked Witch Of The West – only slightly less green. Although he does have a bloody tree growing out of his head which could be the root of all this evil (sorry).

Back at Sonisphere, this time in 2011, and Borland’s former white-painted self is beginning to shine through – either that or he’s been dip-dyed eyes first into emulsion. The dark side is still prevailing, but perhaps the symbol on his chest could spell change? Or it’s a garden fork with a line through it…

We spoke too soon. Gone is the white paint and chest symbol, but now we welcome the Mysterons to Wes’ face at the Epicenter festival in 2011. Or he’s got his hands on those snazzy night-vision goggles from Jurassic Park? We’re not sure. But it’s nice to see the glitter ball make a welcome return.

Wait a minute – Wes has had his suit drycleaned and found some summer gear in the process for Soundwave festival 2012 in Sydney. He’s making those shades look pretty badass and the drawn-on ‘tache makes us feel better about not being able to grow one.

In May of the same year, Bizkit headlined London’s Brixton O2 Academy and Wes has changed his look yet again – this time bringing some red pants into the mix (and thrusting his stuff at the camera…). He’s also sporting a fetching mask from a masquerade ball he apparently escaped from down the road.

Two years later, Limp Bizkit headlined the same venue and this time we have no idea what’s going on. Whether a spiritual trip to Hawaii took place we’re not sure, but Wes has embraced flower power, plastic lobsters and a ukelele. The sunglasses also make a comeback despite being indoors in February. It doesn’t matter though, ‘cause Borland can realistically make anything look fucking cool.

Q&A: Why Wes Borland's turned to the prog side

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.