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Apr 01, 2019
Monday, Apr 1, 2019
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988–94: Early solo career and Praxis
In 1988 after leaving the band Class-X, Carroll entered a song called "Brazos" into a Guitar Player magazine contest. It was a runner-up, with editors writing:
An astonishingly skilled guitarist and bassist, he demonstrates post-Paul Gilbert speed and accuracy filtered through very kinky harmonic sensibilities. His psychotronic, demonic edge is very, very far removed from the clichés of classical metal and rock. A real talent to watch, also known as "Buckethead."
In the same year, the magazine's editor, Jas Obrecht, came to know of Buckethead when Carroll and his parents left a demo recording at the magazine's reception desk for Obrecht. Impressed with this demo, he rushed into the restaurant where Buckethead and his parents were having lunch and encouraged him to make the most of his talent. They soon became friends. In 1989 a song called "Soowee" by Buckethead got honorable mention in another song contest. In 1991, Buckethead moved into Obrecht's basement. The song "Brazos" was eventually released on the 1991 demo tape of his band Deli Creeps, titled "Tribal Rites," and again as bonus material in Buckethead's Secret Recipe DVD in 2006. Luke Sacco was his teacher.
In 1991 Buckethead contributed to Derek Bailey's Company project alongside, among others, John Zorn and Alexander Bălănescu, resulting in a triple album called Company 91.
After his first two demo tapes, called Giant Robot and Bucketheadland Blueprints, Buckethead released Bucketheadland on John Zorn's Japanese Avant record label in 1992. Though available only as a pricey import, the record received positive reviews and earned some attention. At about this time, Buckethead fell into the orbit of prolific bassist/producer Bill Laswell, himself an occasional Zorn collaborator; Buckethead (as a performer, producer, or composer) was introduced to Laswell with the help of Limbomaniacs drummer Bryan "Brain" Mantia, who gave Laswell a video of Buckethead playing in his room. Buckethead soon became Laswell's second staple guitar player, besides Nicky Skopelitis.
In 1992, Buckethead, with Bill Laswell, Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins, and Bryan "Brain" Mantia, formed the supergroup Praxis. Their first album, Transmutation (Mutatis Mutandis), released the same year, was well received. The project was Bill Laswell's concept, and has since involved other guests such as Serj Tankian of System of a Down, among many others. Buckethead participated in every release except the initial 1984 release and Mold (1998).
In 1993, Buckethead auditioned to play for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The band eventually ended up with Arik Marshall, and later Dave Navarro. After some legal complications with Sony Music Entertainment, Buckethead decided to release his 1994 album Dreamatorium under the name of Death Cube K (an anagram).
Death Cube K is a separate entity that looks like a photographic negative version of Buckethead with a black chrome mask, like Darth Vader. This apparition haunts Buckethead and appears in his nightmares.
Buckethead released a second studio album that year, Giant Robot, which features many guest appearances by artists such as Iggy Pop and Bill Moseley. The name of the album came from the Japanese series Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot, of which Buckethead is a fan. He also released two other albums with Praxis, their second and third studio efforts: Sacrifist and Metatron.
1995–99: Collaboration work, movie soundtracks and Praxis
In 1995, Buckethead did not release any solo albums but collaborated with several artists like Jonas Hellborg and Michael Shrieve (Octave of the Holy Innocents). He also contributed to several movie soundtracks, such as Johnny Mnemonic and Mortal Kombat.
Later, in 1996, Buckethead released his solo album The Day of the Robot with the help of English producer DJ Ninj and Laswell, plus another album with Brain and keyboardist Pete Scaturro on the small Japanese label NTT Records, called Giant Robot. Both albums were printed only in small quantities and are collectors' items now. A second demo tape by the Deli Creeps was also recorded.
Also in 1996 several Sega Saturn television ads featuring a screaming mask-like face pressing through the blue orb of the Saturn logo was released, with music by Buckethead.
In 1997, Buckethead began working on the album Buckethead Plays Disney, but the album has not yet been released. According to his Web page:
This highly anticipated album, once listed in an Avant catalog, has yet to be completed. It is Buckethead's most precious personal project, so he won't record or release it until he knows he is ready.
Also in 1997, Buckethead continued to contribute to movie soundtracks, appearing on Beverly Hills Ninja and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, the sequel to Mortal Kombat.
Further releases were Arcana's second and final studio album Arc of the Testimony in which he played with noted drummer Tony Williams and the one-off project Pieces, with Brain. Two live albums by Praxis, called Transmutation Live and Live in Poland (featuring recordings from European concerts) were also issued.
Death Cube K released an album that year called Disembodied.
In 1998, Buckethead released Colma, an album dedicated to his mother, who at the time was suffering from colon cancer. The same year saw a compilation album by Praxis called Collection.
In 1999, Buckethead released his fifth album, a collaboration with Les Claypool from the band Primus, titled Monsters and Robots — currently the best-selling album of his career. This album includes the song "The Ballad of Buckethead," for which his first music video ever was made. Buckethead began three new projects that year, the first being the band Cornbugs, a collaboration with actor Bill Moseley, drummer Pinchface, and later keyboardist Travis Dickerson. Another project, Cobra Strike with an album called The 13th Scroll, featured Pinchface, Bryan "Brain" Mantia, DJ Disk, and Bill Laswell. Buckethead also began a collaboration with actor Viggo Mortensen, whom he first met through a recording project called Myth: Dreams of the World in 1996. Together they released One Man's Meat, One Less Thing to Worry About, and The Other Parade. Buckethead contributed to the 1999 album Devil Dub by the San Francisco Bay Area band Ben Wa consisting of "Dr. Ware" and "House"(Limbomaniacs, Tommy Guerrero, Buckethead's Giant Robot, MCM & the Monster).
Brian Patrick Carroll was born on May 13, 1969 to Tom (died 2014) and Nancy Carroll (died 2013) and is the youngest of five siblings along with Lynn, Lisa, Lori, and John. His father was the Athletic Director at Damien High School from 1973 until his retirement in 2013.
Carroll grew up in a Southern California suburb not far from Disneyland. In his youth, he was an introverted child and spent most of his time in his room, which was filled with comic books, games, martial-arts movie memorabilia, and toys. He also spent a lot of time at Disneyland.
Carroll began playing guitar at the age of 12. He learned how to play from an elderly man who lived down the road, who died before Carroll moved. He had been quoted as saying, however, that he did not become serious until a year later when he moved from Huntington Beach, California to Claremont. His playing began improving by taking private lessons from various teachers at a local music store. His early teachers included Max McGuire, Johnny Fortune, Mark Hammond, Pebber Brown and Paul Gilbert. Buckethead played a tribute to all his early teachers when the Deli Creeps played a show at Styles Music's 25th anniversary. He then began making demo recordings of both his playing as well as his writing styles, which would later be released in 2007–2008.
The Buckethead persona came to be when Carroll saw the 1988 horror movie Halloween 4 and was inspired by the film. He went out right after seeing it and bought a Michael Myers-like white mask. The bucket idea came later that night while eating Kentucky Fried Chicken:
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.
— Buckethead, 1996, Guitar Player Magazine 
In October 2017, Carroll gave a rare out-of-character interview discussing all ranges of his life, the Buckethead character, his parents' deaths, his health issues, and how he copes with overcoming fear. During the podcast, he revealed he has been diagnosed with the potentially life-threatening condition of heart arrhythmia. He stated he had a cardiac ablation performed and uses medicine to control the issue.[13
Brian Patrick Carroll (born May 13, 1969), known professionally as Buckethead, is an American multi-instrumentalist musician who has received critical acclaim for his electric guitar playing, and is considered one of today's most innovative guitarists. His music spans many genres, including progressive metal, funk, blues, bluegrass, ambient, and avant-garde music. He performs primarily as a solo artist, though he has collaborated extensively with a wide variety of high-profile artists such as Bill Laswell, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, Iggy Pop, Les Claypool, Serj Tankian, Bill Moseley, Mike Patton, Viggo Mortensen, That 1 Guy, Bassnectar, and was a member of Guns N' Roses from 2000 to 2004. He has released 306 studio albums, four special releases, and one EP. He has also performed on more than 50 other albums by other artists.
When performing, Buckethead wears a KFC bucket on his head, emblazoned with an orange bumper sticker reading FUNERAL in block letters, and an expressionless plain white mask inspired by Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. At one point, he changed to a plain white bucket without a KFC logo, but subsequently reverted to his trademark KFC bucket. He also incorporates nunchaku and robot dancing into his stage performances.
Buckethead has been voted number 8 on a list in GuitarOne magazine of the "Top 10 Fastest Guitar Shredders of All Time" as well as being included in Guitar World's lists of the "25 all-time weirdest guitarists" and the "50 fastest guitarists of all time". Buckethead has written and performed music for major motion pictures, including Saw II, Ghosts of Mars, Beverly Hills Ninja, Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Last Action Hero, and contributed lead guitar to the track "Firebird" featured on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie soundtrack.
Mysterious guitarist Buckethead will start 2019 with a U.S. tour. Buckethead’s tour is currently scheduled to span March 1 – April 15.
The jaunt begins at 191 E. Toole in Tucson, Arizona on March 1 and at BLK Live in Scottsdale, Arizona on March 2. Buckethead then heads to Texas for shows in San Antonio, Dallas and Houston before a gig in New Orleans on March 11 and a trip to Florida that includes stops in Tallahassee, Gainesville, Ybor City, Lake Buena Vista, Fort Lauderdale and Ponte Vedra Beach. Next up are performances in North Myrtle Beach on March 22, Charlotte on March 23, Atlanta on March 24 and Athens on March 25. The month of March ends for the guitarist with dates in Birmingham, Nashville and Chattanooga.
Buckethead kicks off April in Virginia with stops in Roanoke, Norfolk and Richmond. From there, the guitarist brings the tour to Silver Spring (Maryland), Baltimore, Philadelphia, Asbury Park and New York City. An appearance in Boston will take place at The Wilbur on April 15. Tickets for most shows go on sale this Friday, December 21.
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