Since picking up the guitar at age 12, Brian Patrick Carroll has been voted one of the 20 Greatest Guitar Shredders of All Time (GuitarOne), one of the Top 25 Weirdest Guitarists (Guitar World) and among the Top 50 Fastest Guitarists of All Time (ask anyone).
If you don’t recognize the name, it’s because he doesn’t use it. And you wouldn’t recognize his face because he doesn’t show it. That is the mystique of the blistering guitarist known as Buckethead.
Almost from the beginning, Buckethead has sported the KFC headwear that earned him his nom du Rock (he recently switched to a plain white bucket, ostensibly ending his publicity campaign against the Colonel’s chicken slaughter) as well as the plastic theatrical mask that renders expressionless one of music’s most impassioned players.
He’s played with a dizzying range of musicians — including Bootsy Collins, Bill Laswell, Iggy Pop, Les Claypool, Mike Patton and Serj Tankian — as well as actors Viggo Mortensen and Bill Moseley. He was a member of Guns ’N Roses for four years, had a number of his own bands (Deli Creeps, Death Cube K, Thanatopsis, Cornbugs and Cobra Strike, among others) and recorded more than 25 albums under the Buckethead banner.
This year saw the release of a trio of recordings: Slaughterhouse on the Prairie, A Real Diamond in the Rough and Forensic Follies. For the past five years, he’s released at least two and as many as four albums per year.
As an addendum to his résumé, Buckethead once auditioned for the Red Hot Chili Peppers (they loved his playing but wanted someone with more groove) and Ozzy Osbourne (who wouldn’t hire him because he wouldn’t remove his bucket and mask). Axl Rose claimed Buckethead was “erratic in both behavior and commitment” after he left Guns ’N Roses in 2004.
Let’s see, Buckethead has released or collaborated on close to 40 albums in the five years since his GNR departure so, for those keeping score, that’s 40 for Buckethead and Chinese Democracy for Axl Rose. Who’s erratic now?
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