Buckethead

Gibson / Ibanez / Jackson / ESP / Steinberger <- All brands for sale by Ed!

BucketHeadThe Buckethead backstory begins with a kid named Brian Carroll growing up in a Southern California suburb not far from Disneyland. He's a shy kid and spends a lot of time in his room, which is filled with comic books, video games, martial-arts movie memorabilia, slasher-flick stuff, all the usual youth-culture detritus. He also spends a whole lot of time at Disneyland.

As a teenager, Brian takes up the guitar, plonking away under the sway of such metal masters as Angus Young of AC/DC; the late Randy Rhoads, of the Ozzy Osbourne band; and Swedish overdrive virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen. Like the latter two, Carroll incorporates a considerable amount of classical-music consciousness into his burgeoning style. He reads a lot of music theory. He starts getting really, really good.

Unlike his idols, however, Carroll is anything but flamboyant. Mane-tossing guitar-god moves are not something he'll ever be comfortable attempting. In fact, in an ideal world, there'd be somebody else he could one day take up onstage with him and hide behind. Some sort of alter ego.

Nobody much liked the 1988 fright flick "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers." After 10 years, this slasher franchise was pretty much played out. (Even though it's still with us today!) But Brian Carroll was inspired by the film. He went right out after seeing it and bought a Michael Myers-like white mask. Then, that night, as he was eating from a bucketful of take-out fried chicken, another inspiration struck. He described it in a 1996 interview with Guitar Player magazine: "I was eating it, and I put the mask on and then the bucket on my head. I went to the mirror. I just said, 'Buckethead. That's Buckethead right there.' It was just one of those things. After that, I wanted to be that thing all the time."

Unlike the editors of Guitar Player (for which Bucket once wrote a column called "Psychobuddy"), you needn't be conversant with minor 9th intervals or quadratonal arpeggios to be knocked sideways by Buckethead's war-of-the-worlds guitar eruptions. His star-burst chord clusters and eye-frazzling eight-finger solos aren't like much else you'll be hearing on this planet anytime soon.

Of course there are all kinds of aspiring guitar wizards out there (although probably none within pick-flicking distance of this guy). But what sets Carroll decisively apart from the pack is the outré "Buckethead" persona he's so painstakingly created. This character, with its vaguely sinister mask, soberly upended KFC bucket, and absurdly detailed chicken fetish, is pure American surrealism. Buckethead is a star of a strange new kind: not the projection of a preening personality, as is usually the case, but a mirror, a screen, a somehow lovable cipher. As a musical presence, he seems almost (one of Carroll's favorite words) disembodied.

Although most people are probably experiencing Buckethead for the first time in his current stint with the new Guns N' Roses, the man has been putting out solo albums for the last 10 years. Some, like the 1999 Monsters and Robots, are pure "post-metal psycho-shred," as one writer put it. Others, like the just-released Electric Tears, are serenely ambient. Buckethead also records under the name Death Cube K (an anagram); the 1994 Dreamatorium is a good one.

In addition to this solo output, Buckethead has also recorded and performed with a wild array of other musicians, from P-Funk all-stars Bootsy Collins and Bernie Worrell to Iggy Pop, Primus, avant-fusion bassist Bill Laswell and the late Miles Davis Quintet drummer Tony Williams. He's played on three albums by "The Lord of the Rings" star Viggo Mortensen, one by the painter Julian Schnabel, and some movie soundtracks and scores, too ("The Last Action Hero," "Mortal Kombat," "Beverly Hills Ninja"). He longs to do an all-Disney album. ("When You Wish Upon a Star" is one of his favorite tunes.) (source:Written by Kurt Loder ,MTV.com)
 

Musical Stylings: An accomplished multi-instrumentalist best known for his virtuosic command of the electric guitar, Buckethead is one of the instrument's most recognizable contemporary innovators, his rapid-fire riffing, near-robotic fretwork, and idiosyncratic lead lines combining elements of Yngwie Malmsteen, Adrian Belew, Slayer's Kerry King, P-Funk's Eddie Hazel, and avant-improv artist John Zorn's Scud-attack sax abuse.

 

Buckethead, Bootsy Collins and Ed with the USA Made Bootsy Collins Bass
autographed by Buckethead, Bootsy Collins and George Clinton.

 

Buckethead signing the Bootsy Collins Bass

 

Buckethead is one of the most bizarre and enigmatic figures in American underground and experimental music since Parliament-Funkadelic birthed their bevy of cosmic characters in the mid-'70s. An accomplished multi-instrumentalist best known for his virtuosic command of the electric guitar, Buckethead is one of the instrument's most recognizable contemporary innovators, his rapid-fire riffing, near-robotic fretwork, and idiosyncratic lead lines combining elements of Yngwie Malmsteen, Adrian Belew, Slayer's Kerry King, P-Funk's Eddie Hazel, and avant-improv artist John Zorn's Scud-attack sax abuse. His first group, the San Francisco-based metal-funk combine the Deli Creeps, was a regional success, but disbanded before they could release anything. Buckethead's solo career has been more productive, thanks mostly to the motivation of Zorn and Bill Laswell, the latter of whom Buckethead has also recorded and toured with in Praxis. Laswell has also produced a number of Buckethead's solo albums (including Dreamatorium and Day of the Robot) and included him on more than a dozen one-off recordings with the likes of Hakim Bey, Bootsy Collins, Anton Fier, Jonas Hellborg, and Bernie Worrell. In addition to releases including 1998's Colma, Buckethead has also contributed soundtrack material to such films as Last Action Hero and Street Fighter. Buckethead returned in 1999 with Monsters and Robots, after which he joined Guns n' Roses. ~ Sean Cooper, All Music Guide
 

All Celebrity Tribute Pages