The man, the mask, the bucket?
For fans of killer guitar solos, robot dance moves, and KFC, the Clyde Theater promises an exciting event on Wednesday, May 1, with the mysterious and mute multi-instrumentalist Buckethead.
Identifiable by dark curls, a Michael Myers mask, and an inverted chicken bucket, Buckethead’s initial appearance offers no indication of the powerhouse behind the façade.
His performances demonstrate an incredible musical talent through lightning-fast riffs and brilliant yet eerie melodies.
Seamlessly transitioning between motionless performance and robotic dance moves, his concerts create an uncanny connection with the crowd. With no glitz or glamor beyond a multi-colored light show, Buckethead entrances audiences by making his skill look so effortless, so relaxed, and quite simply so cool.
A moniker for Brian Patrick Carroll, the Southern California native began playing guitar in his youth. An introverted child, he immersed himself in his passions for comic books, games, and horror movies; later, these hobbies helped influence his sound, though he also credits Michael Jackson, Shawn Lane, Paul Gilbert, and Jimi Hendrix.
Defining Buckethead’s genre is a challenge due to the span of influences and sounds that his music encompasses — to suggest that he is simply classic rock, simply metal, or simply anything minimizes the complexity of his style.
The Birth of Buckethead
It wasn’t until after he began performing that the persona of Buckethead was born. In a 2017 interview with the Coming Alive podcast, Carroll explains how Buckethead was created.
“It wasn’t something I really thought about,” Carroll said. “I was eating — it was actually a different chicken company, I don’t really know what it was — I was eating it and I thought that I had that mask, kind of like Michael Myers. It had a similar quality, but it wasn’t exactly the same size. I just put it on my head, and I looked in the mirror. And I was like, ‘That’s Buckethead.’”
Whatever the genesis of such a character, it inevitably adds an aloof and unnerving allure to his music.
Buckethead has established himself as a musician to be reckoned with.
Having released an astonishing 307 albums over the last 25 years, it is no surprise that the musician has collaborated with the likes of Viggo Mortensen, Praxis, Brain, Bootsy Collins, and Les Claypool — even Ozzy Osbourne indicated interest in Buckethead’s participation in Ozzfest.
Most notably, however, was his on and off stint with Guns N’ Roses in the early 2000s. It was after his departure from the band that his notoriety in the underground music community began to grow.
The Man behind the mask
With a rich and varying portfolio of collaborations and projects, his dedication to the craft cannot be questioned. Whereas Buckethead the musician is customarily silent, Brian Carroll has recently come forward to reveal a more vulnerable side, disclosing information about his health.
Diagnosed with a heart condition, the performer does not dwell on the negative aspects of such a diagnosis. Instead, he records, tours, and performs, despite the physical challenges his condition creates.
“They suggested I had a thing called an ablation where they go in and freeze your heart,” Carroll said. “I mean, the day after I had that procedure, I recorded a record with my friend. ... I don’t want to sit around and mope. I could be gone tomorrow. Anybody could be gone, but that was a heavy experience. I want to play right now, and I want to play that experience.”
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