Buckethead – Biography, Guitarist, Guns n Roses, Bootsy Collins

Buckethead, real name Brian Carroll, was born May 13th, 1969. He is a very accomplished guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, and recording artist. As of 2010, Buckethead has released 29 solo albums, 4 special releases, and an EP. In addition, he has performed on more than 50 albums by other artists including Iggy Pop, Primus’ Les Claypool, Serj Tankian, Faith No More’s Mike Patton, and Bootsy Collins. He was also a member of the popular hard rock band Guns N’ Roses from 2000 to 2004, playing on their album, “Chinese Democracy.” His 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.”

Buckethead began playing guitar at the age of twelve. He took lessons from a number of teachers at Styles Music in Huntington Beach, California during high school, and later from Racer X / Mr. Big guitarist Paul Gilbert. After a stint in an unsuccessful band called Class-X, he entered a song called “Brazos” in a contest held by Guitar Player magazine. The song finished in second, but the magazine’s editor Jas Obrecht took notice, and the two became friends. The following year, Carroll’s song “Sowee” received honorable mention in another song contest.

Carroll would move into Obrecht’s basement in 1991, and home footage filmed during that time would later be used on the “Young Buckethead” DVD released in 2006 on Obrecht’s label, Avabella. “Brazos” would eventually be released after Carroll formed the band Deli Creeps. The song was included on the band’s 1991 demo titled, “Tribal Rites.”

After a pair of demos, Buckethead would release his first full-length solo studio album, “Bucketheadland,” in 1992 on John Zorn’s Japanese Avant record label. Around the same time, he would be introduced to prolific bassist / producer Bill Laswell, and the two would go on to form Praxis with Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, and Bryan “Brain” Mantia. The supergroup’s first album, “Transmutation (Mutatis Mutandis),” was released the same year. Buckethead would go on to participate on all of Praxis’ releases except for the “1984” EP and “Mold.” Over the years, the band would also bring in contributing artists such as System of a Down’s Serj Tankian, Iggy Pop, and Primus’ Les Claypool.

In 1994, he released the album “Dreamatorium” under the name Death Cube K, which is an anagram for Buckethead. He would also release his second Buckethead album, “Giant Robot” that year. In 1999, Carroll would collaborate with Primus bass player Les Claypool on the album “Monsters and Robots,” by far his most successful album to date. The album featured the song, “The Ballad of Buckethead,” the first song for which Carroll ever made a music video.

Buckethead joined Guns N’ Roses in 2000 and participated in that band’s “Chinese Democracy” album, which would not be released until four years after he left the band in 2004. He toured with Guns N’ Roses throughout 2001 and 2002, all the while recording and releasing material in a number of different projects. Since 2000, Buckethead has released no fewer than two albums per year under different names and as part of different bands.