Buckethead: Map


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Not to be confused with dance musician Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez, alias "Bucketheads".

Brian Patrick Carroll, better known as Buckethead, is an American musician and songwriter. He has released 28 solo albums and performed on over 50 more. His music spans such diverse areas as progressive metal, thrash metal, funk, electronica, jazz, bluegrass, and avant-garde music.

When performing in his theatrical persona, Buckethead used to wear a KFC bucket on his head, emblazoned with an orange bumper sticker that read "funeral" in capital black block letters, and an expressionless plain white costume mask. More recently, he has switched to a plain white bucket no longer bearing the KFC logo. He also incorporates nunchaku, robot dancing, and toy trading into his stage performances. Buckethead's persona represents a character who was "raised by chickens" and has made it his "mission in life to alert the world to the ongoing chicken holocaust in fast-food joints around the globe."

Although a multi-instrumentalist, Buckethead is best known for his electric guitar playing. He has been voted number 8 on a list in GuitarOne magazine of the "Top 20 Greatest Guitar Shredders of All Time" as well as been included in Guitar World's lists of the "25 all-time weirdest guitarists" also known for being in the "50 fastest guitarists of all time list".

Buckethead performs primarily as a solo artist. 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, Mike Patton, Viggo Mortensen, and was a member of Guns N' Roses from 2000 to 2004. Buckethead has also 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 the soundtrack of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie.


Early life

Brian Carroll began playing guitar at the age of twelve. He has been quoted as saying, however, that he did not begin playing seriously until the following summer, when he moved from Huntington Beach, Californiamarker to Claremont, Californiamarker. His playing began improving with lessons from several various teachers including Pebber Brown, Johnny Fortune, Max McGuire and Mark Hammond. Later on he also was instructed by Paul Gilbert and Shawn Lane. He began making demo recordings of both his playing as well as his writing styles.

1988–1994: Early solo career and Praxis

In 1988, Carroll entered a song called "Brazos" into a Guitar Player magazine contest. It was a runner-up:

In the same year, the magazine's editor, Jas Obrecht, came to know of Buckethead when Brian 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 1991, Buckethead moved into Obrecht's basement (this is also where the "Buckethead in the Basement" footage for the Young Buckethead DVD was filmed). 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.

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 , 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 did participate in all releases except the initial 1984 release and Mold (1998).

1994–1995: Death Cube K and Giant Robot

In 1994, Buckethead released an album called Dreamatorium under the name of Death Cube K (an anagram of "Buckethead"). The name was created by Tom "Doc" Darter to circumvent legal complications with Sony Music Entertainment. About his style, the official FAQ says,

Science fiction author William Gibson later borrowed "Death Cube K" as the name of a bar in his novel Idoru (1996). Gibson explained the reference in an interview for Addicted to Noise:

Also in 1994, Buckethead released his second studio album, 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.

According to Anthony Kiedis' autobiography, Scar Tissue, Buckethead once auditioned to play guitar for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, shortly after John Frusciante left the band, without having heard any of their songs. The band's bassist Flea noted that:

1995–1998: 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.

In 1997, Buckethead began working on the album Buckethead Plays Disney, but the album has not yet been released. According to his Web page:

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 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 was sick during this time with colon cancer. The same year saw a compilation album by Praxis called Collection.

1999–2004: New projects, Guns N' Roses, and public recognition

In 1999, Buckethead released his fifth album, a collaboration with Les Claypool from the band Primus, entitled 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 performing in Neumos, Seattle in 2008.

Also in this year, he started three new projects, 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 recorded with actor Viggo Mortensen, who 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. Those releases are quite rare now, but a compilation album called This, That, and The Other was issued in 2004 to compensate for this. A reworked version of Live in Poland by Praxis, called Warszawa, plus the soundtrack of the movie Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, also came out this year. Furthermore Buckethead offered fans to buy special half hour long "personalized recordings" for a price of $50 each. Buyers could choose content out of several categories.

A third Death Cube K release followed, entitled Tunnel, this time without Laswell but featuring Travis Dickerson instead.In 2000, Buckethead released the second and last album by Cobra Strike, called Cobra Strike II - Y, Y+B, X+Y.

Buckethead achieved a higher public profile as lead guitarist for Guns N' Roses from 2000 to 2004. He recorded the often delayed album Chinese Democracy with the band and appeared live on stage in 2001 and 2002, including Rock in Rio 3, MTV's Video Music Awards and parts of the Chinese Democracy Tour.

Despite being a member of GN'R, Buckethead released his sixth studio album, called Somewhere Over the Slaughterhouse in 2001, and also his only EP, called KFC Skin Piles. He also released two albums with his band Cornbugs, Cemetery Pinch and How Now Brown Cow. He joined two new projects, the first being Thanatopsis, with Dickerson, releasing a self-titled debut album; the other one with Laswell and Japanese producer Shin Terai, released as Unison.

In 2002, Buckethead released three studio albums: Funnel Weaver, a collection of 49 short tracks, Bermuda Triangle, and finally, Electric Tears, a calming album that is similar to his earlier release, Colma.When Laswell was not able to play with Praxis at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts festival, Les Claypool asked to jam with Brain, Bernie Worrell, and Buckethead, forming a new supergroup called Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains. The jamband experiment was successful enough to do some further live dates.

Later, in 2003, marking the release of his tenth studio album, Buckethead released the sequel to his debut Bucketheadland, simply called Bucketheadland 2. Together with actor Viggo Mortensen, he did Pandemoniumfromamerica, and with Thanatopsis, their second release, called Axiology.

In March 2004 Buckethead left Guns N' Roses, according to his manager, due to "Guns' inability to complete an album or tour".

Guns N' Roses' response after Buckethead's departure was as follows:

Since that time, his cult following in the underground music communities has steadily increased. He frequently performs at festivals and in clubs nationwide and often tours as the feature performer.

The year 2004 saw the release of three new studio albums: Island of Lost Minds, which was his first tour-only album being later re-released by TDRS Music Population Override, a blues rock tour de force with Dickerson; and The Cuckoo Clocks of Hell, considered his heaviest effort to date. The latter includes "Spokes for the Wheel of Torment," for which Syd Garon and Eric Henry made a music video based on the famous triptychs by Hieronymus Bosch. Buckethead also recorded the final two albums by the Cornbugs, Brain Circus and Donkey Town as well as another release with Viggo Mortensen called Please Tomorrow and a second with Shin Terai, entitled Heaven & Hell. C2B3 also released their only album, The Big Eyeball in the Sky, and toured it in North America.

In an interview with Revolver, Ozzy Osbourne stated that he had offered to have Buckethead play guitar in his band at Ozzfest. Ozzy quickly changed his mind after meeting with him, and realizing that Buckethead would not remove his costume in order to be accepted by Ozzy, said:

2005–2006: Buckethead & Friends

In 2005, Buckethead released an album as "Buckethead & Friends," called Enter the Chicken, through Serj Tankian's record label, Serjical Strike. The album features Tankian himself, Maximum Bob (of the Deli Creeps), Death by Stereo singer Efrem Shulz, Bad Acid Trip, and others. It is marked by its leaning toward more traditional song structures while still featuring typical Buckethead guitar skills. "We Are One" was released as a single and also appeared on the soundtrack of Masters of Horror. "Three Fingers" was used for the soundtrack of the horror movie Saw II. The final track, "Nottingham Lace," was first made public via his home page and soon became a concert staple and one of his most popular songs. Buckethead also released two further solo albums in 2005, Kaleidoscalp and Inbred Mountain — the latter being the first album as a solo artist released on the label TDRS Music. Both albums originally were sold exclusively at concerts and only later got an official release through the label's website.

Also the same year, Buckethead released his first DVD, Secret Recipe, originally sold only on tour; the only places for other fans (those who either didn't go to a show or who lived abroad) to obtain it were auction sites such as eBay. Eventually, Travis Dickerson held a raffle for copies of the DVD on his website. Those who wanted to "win" a copy had to enter their name and e-mail address. When entries were closed, he picked 200 names at random from those who entered, and they were allowed to buy a copy of the DVD from his website. In March 2006, the DVD was finally made widely available.

Also, Buckethead released albums with other bands: with Cornbugs, he released two compilation albums, called Rest Home for Robots and Skeleton Farm; he also released (with the band Deli Creeps) their first and only album, called Dawn of the Deli Creeps. Buckethead also released self-titled album Gorgone with studio project Gorgone. This album was recorded from one of the recording sessions from the album Population Override that Buckethead released on 2004. The guitarist also released an album with the actor Viggo Mortensen called Intelligence Failure, and with the band Praxis, released a live album called Zurich.

In 2006, the highlight of the year was the cross-console video game Guitar Hero II, featuring Buckethead's song "Jordan" as an unlockable bonus track. Although the song has been performed live in the past, the video game version is the only known studio recording of the song. Also, the live version almost always contains just the verse and chorus of "Jordan"; then goes into another song, usually "Post Office Buddy"; then returns to the verse and chorus of "Jordan." However, the Guitar Hero II version contains a special solo created specifically for the game. Since late 2007, Buckethead has been known to perform the Guitar Hero version of "Jordan" within his concerts, including the solo.

Also the same year, Buckethead released two DVDs, entitled Young Buckethead Vol. 1 and Young Buckethead Vol. 2, featuring rare footage from 1990 and 1991. The DVD also contains three complete Deli Creeps shows, a sound check, backstage footage, and solo footage of just Buckethead. He also released the albums The Elephant Man's Alarm Clock and Crime Slunk Scene, both sold on his tours but later sold on the TDRS Music website. The last album has the song "Soothsayer (Dedicated to Aunt Suzie)"; this song (along with "Jordan" and "Nottingham Lace") is one of his most popular songs and is often played live.

In the same year, Buckethead released his final compilation album with the band Cornbugs, called Celebrity Psychos. He also released an album with producer, keyboardist, and owner of the label TDRS Music, Travis Dickerson, called Chicken Noodles, which was inspired by the track "Cruel Reality of Nature," from the album Population Override. He also released an album with the band Thanatopsis, called Anatomize.

2007–present: Continued Solo Work and Signature Guitar

In 2007, Buckethead released an unprecedented amount of new material. In February, a box set entitled In Search of The, containing 13 albums of original material, was released. It was handcrafted, numbered, and monogrammed by Buckethead and contained over nine hours of music. A regular solo album, called Pepper's Ghost, was released in March. A disc of acoustic improvisations called Acoustic Shards was also released, becoming the twentieth studio album that the artist had released so far in his solo career. In midyear, he reissued his demo tape Bucketheadland Blueprints, with two alternative album covers: a special edition with a hand-drawn cover made by him, or a standard edition with the original cover art. In October, he released his final two albums of the year, called Decoding the Tomb of Bansheebot and Cyborg Slunks. The latter again came in both a hand-drawn limited edition and (some weeks later) as a normal CD.

As Death Cube K, Buckethead released two albums in 2007: an album called DCK, limited to 400 hand-numbered copies and released in August; and in December, the 5-CD box set Monolith, which consisted of one unbroken track per CD.

During 2007, Buckethead also collaborated and appeared on numerous albums with other artists. The sequel to Chicken Noodles (a collaboration with Travis Dickerson), simply called Chicken Noodles II, was issued by TDRS in December. A live record by Praxis, entitled Tennessee 2004; the third album with Shin Terai, called Lightyears; and another album with drummer Bryan Mantia, called Kevin's Noodle House, were also released through the year.

Buckethead also created five paintings, each limited to 100 reproductions each and sold through TDRS.

That same year, it was revealed that Buckethead joined a project by the name of Science Faxtion, a band featuring bassist Bootsy Collins and drummer Bryan "Brain" Mantia, with Greg Hampton supplying lead vocals. Their first album, called Living on Another Frequency, was delayed several times and was finally released in November of 2008.

On January 1, 2008, the band Praxis released the long-awaited album Profanation in Japan. The album had actually been recorded in 2005, but had to be put on hold when the original label went bankrupt.

The year 2008 started with the label Avabella (where he released Acoustic Shards) releasing From the Coop, consisting of the demos Buckethead gave to Jas Obrecht back in 1988. This CD also included the first ever "official" biography of/by the artist. Later that same year, he released the album called Albino Slug, again a tour-only CD until official release on December of the same year. Along with this album, he appeared on the album The Dragons of Eden, with Dickerson and Mantia, and in collaboration with That 1 Guy as the Frankenstein Brothers, an album called Bolt on Neck was released. That 1 Guy and Buckethead toured together through fall 2008, playing songs from this album.

Buckethead also appeared in the documentary American Music: Off the Record, in which he appears only playing. Serj Tankian's label, Serjical Strike, reissued the album Enter the Chicken with an extra song and also hinted towards another album possibly released in the near future. Furthermore, Buckethead contributed to one track of actor Viggo Mortensen's album At All, and with Travis Dickerson and filmmaker Alix Lambert on the album Running After Deer.

Buckethead appeared with Bootsy Collins in Cincinnatimarker, Ohiomarker, to promote the vote for the United States presidential election, 2008 for the organization Rock the Vote.He also joined Collins on Fallen Soldiers Memorial, an album with proceeds going to the National Fallen Heroes Foundation.

More than four years after his departure from the band Guns N' Roses, Chinese Democracy was made available. Buckethead appears on all but two songs and was given writing credits on "Shackler's Revenge" (which appeared in the popular video game Rock Band 2); "Scraped"; and "Sorry," which features guest singer Sebastian Bach. The album features eleven of Buckethead's guitar solos.

On December 30, Buckethead released two new tracks via his website to honor the 24th birthday of basketball player LeBron James. These tracks were later made available on the Slaughterhouse on the Prairie album, which was released on January 30, 2009 through TDRS Music. A Real Diamond in the Rough followed in May 2009, as well as Forensic Follies in June 2009.

Buckethead has recorded and released a song entitled "The Homing Beacon" on his website, along with a drawing of Michael Jackson to serve as a tribute to the late singer. The song is currently available for download on the website.

Recently, Buckethead has recorded a new album titled Needle in a Slunk Stack which will be made available officially for purchase on the 9th of October, though it can be ordered now on the TDRS website.

The long-awaited Death Cube K album Torn from Black Space was released In October of 2009.

On November 13, Gibson announced the release of a Buckethead signature Les Paul.


Buckethead cites a wide variety of musical influences, including Michael Jackson, Paul Gilbert, Shawn Lane, Yngwie Malmsteen, Bootsy Collins, Eddie Hazel, and Angus Young, as well as the many artists he has collaborated with over the years. In addition to his musical influences, Buckethead cites a diverse range of non-musical influences including athletes Michael Jordan and LeBron James, and numerous science fiction and horror TV shows and movies including Giant Robo.

Current projects

  • A Pleasant Fiction, the 2004 album by Meridiem featuring Buckethead will be re-issued in March 2009.
  • A special three-disc version of the movie Flesh For the Beast, featuring the soundtrack by Buckethead will be released in May 2009.
  • Buckethead played at the 2009 Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival in June.
  • Bootsy Collins stated that Buckethead will collaborate in a new group called "The Z-Class"; their first album is scheduled for release in April 2009.
  • Serj Tankian stated in an interview that a follow-up to Enter the Chicken is planned.
  • [755616] "The Homing Beacon", a song for Michael Jackson 2009
  • The newest 2009 Bucketheadland CD "A Needle in a Slunk Stack" has been released by TDRS Music on 9/24/09







Studio albums

Buckethead's bands

Note: As well as being a solo artist since 1992, Buckethead often releases albums as Death Cube K. He has used this name as an alias since 1994 (he used it most recently in 2009).



With artists




  1. Staff Craziest Costumed Acts: No. 17, Spinner, Oct 19, 2007, Accessed Jan 6, 2009
  2. Karevoll, Richard, A Closer Look at Buckethead, The Echo Times, March 3, 2008, Accessed Jan 6, 2009
  3. Cooper, Sean, Buckethead Biography, AllMusic, Accessed Jan 06, 2009
  4. Guitar World, February 2003
  5. 50 fastest guitarists of all time, Guitar World, November 2008
  6. Buckethead Biography, dddddNME, Accessed Jan 6, 2009
  7. http://youngbuckethead.com/ young buckethead page in the section "about"
  8. http://www.tedkurland.com/pbuild/linkbuilder.cfm?selection=doc.271 Bill Laswell talking about Praxis and when he met Buckethead
  9. http://www.bucketheadland.com/faq/index.html#anchor6301 in the lower part were it says " Acknowledgments"
  10. Buckethead
  11. FAQ 2.0
  12. http://www.specialrealms.com/VM/interviewarchive75.html
  13. http://www.bucketheadland.com/faq/faq2/FAQ_2_0.html#60
  14. MTV news on "Buckethead in, Freese out"
  15. Buckethead's Hand Puppet Says Goodbye To Guns N' Roses
  16. Metroactive Music | Buckethead
  17. Buckethead @ Bingebuddies.Com - Binge Goodies
  18. Leroy, Dan, Buckethead Knows Chicken, Rolling Stone, Oct 13, 2005, Accessed Jan 6, 2009
  19. Guitar Hero's Marcus Henderson: The Guitar World Interview, Guitar World, June 20, 2007, Accessed September 25, 2008
  20. Monolith
  21. Chicken Noodles 2
  22. Buckethead Painting
  23. American Music: Off the Record (2008)
  24. Bootsy and Buckethead on Rock the Vote add
  25. http://www.bootsycollins.com/newsfull.php?newsId=119
  26. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/fantasy/01/15/thursday.clicks/index.html
  27. http://bucketheadland.com/home_for_hemorrage.html
  28. http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/Les-Paul/Gibson-USA/Buckethead-Signature-Les-Paul.aspx
  29. http://www.voiceprint.co.uk/web/Release/PGVP001CD/
  30. Flesh For The Beast: Version 1.5 (3 Disc Buckethead Edition)
  31. http://www.wakarusa.com/2009/lineup.asp?a=513&y=2009
  32. http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=53098110
  33. Serj Tankian interview for Our Worlds At War, January 2008
  34. UberProAudio - Buckethead Guitar Gear Rig and Equipment Retrive:2009-04-19
  35. FAQ, Bucketheadland, Accessed Jan 6, 2008
  36. The Coolest Guitars in Rock, GigWise, July 31, 2008, Accessed Jan 6, 2009
  37. http://www.bucketheadland.com/bucketheadscoop/doubleneck1.jpg Bucketheadland, Accessed Jan 6, 2009
  38. Noodles, Travis Dickerson Music, Accessed Jan 6, 2009
  39. http://www.bucketheadland.com/faq/faq2/FAQ_2_0.html#20

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