Wes Borland: 10 albums that changed my life

Wes Borland
(Image credit: Neilson Barnard \/ Getty)

Anyone who knows anything about Wes Borland knows he’s not your conventional musician. Sure, he’s a member one of nu metal’s biggest bands, but he’s also exercised his artistic and progressive tendencies with his Black Light Burns, Queen Kwong and Big Dumb Face projects. It’s small wonder then that his musical history isn’t strictly metal. From Portishead and The Cure to Metallica and Carcass, these are the records that made Wes Borland who he is…

The first album I bought was…

Various Artists – Miami Vice: Official Soundtrack (1985)

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“I think I was in third grade. When the pilot of Miami Vice came out, there’s a moment in the first episode ever when In The Air Tonight comes on when he’s driving his Ferrari and there are all the shots of the wheels and it’s going by… as a kid it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen.”

My favourite album of all time is…

Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)

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“Well the oldest album that I listen to the most, that is something that I constantly reference, especially for studio work, is Dark Side Of The Moon (opens in new tab), just because of the influence that had on albums like NIN (opens in new tab)’s The Downward Spiral (opens in new tab) and the whole idea of making a record that connects and flows instead of just being a sequence of songs.”

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A kid asks me what metal is. I’d hand him a copy of…

Metallica – Kill ‘Em All (1983)

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Kill ’Em All (opens in new tab) was the album that got me into metal and bumped me out of hardcore and punk rock because it changed from fast, aggressive music to fast, riff-based music.”

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The best album to have sex to is…

The Cure – Disintegration (1989)

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Disintegration (opens in new tab) by The Cure (opens in new tab) is the sex album in my life. When I hear that album, I’m like, ‘I really wanna have sex to that.’ And I have.”

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I break the speed limit to…

Carcass – Descanting The Insalubrious (1991)

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“They’re one of the bands that I’ve held on to. I don’t listen to much metal any more but Carcass (opens in new tab) and Death (opens in new tab) have stuck with me through the years. I saw them in the House Of Blues and people don’t usually move for LA shows but that place was insane.”

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The album I paint to…

Fever Ray – Fever Ray (2009)

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“It can’t be anything with vocals or it has to be in a language that I don’t understand. As soon as vocals come in, it can be intrusive because a logical part of my brain will start lighting up and I’ll feel like I’m being pulled away from the painting. The only band that does have vocals that I can paint to is Fever Ray – Karen Anderson from The Knife’s other band.”

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The album that should not be is…

Metallica – Load (1996)

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“I was heartbroken over the Load (opens in new tab) album. I think it’s a big disappointment for most people. It just was not Metallica (opens in new tab) any more. The Black Album (opens in new tab) was commercialised Metallica but it still felt like Metallica. The riffs were still there and they still looked like Metallica and then all of a sudden…”

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The best album artwork is…

Roxy Music – Country Life (1974)

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“I really like some of the Godspeed You! Black Emperor covers because they’re so dark but the best album artwork is Roxy Music (opens in new tab)Country Life. There are timeless hot chicks on the cover that’s been done so many times. That’s me thinking with my dick.”

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The album that broke my heart is…

Portishead – Portishead (1997)

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Portishead would be my heartbreak album. That feeling of melancholy at its best, to the point where you almost love being depressed. Self-indulgent in your melancholy.”

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The album I want to be remembered for is…

Black Light Burns – The Moment You Realize You’re Going To Fall (2012)

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“I really like The Moment You Realise You’re Going To Fall. I feel like I really worked hard on that album for a long period of time and I really feel like that’s the Black Light sound and I feel like it separated people who are fans of the band from people who really get it and, as of right now, that’s the album I want to be remembered for. But I don’t think we’ve made the record yet that will be our OK Computer!”

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Published in Metal Hammer #243