Buckethead performing live, 1999
Buckethead performing live, 1999
Background information
Birth name Brian Patrick Carroll
Also known as Buckethead, Death Cube K
Born May 13, 1969 (age 52)
Genre(s) Avant-garde music, Ambient, instrumental rock, progressive metal and various others
Occupation(s) Musician, Songwriter, Painter
Years active 1988—Present
Label(s) TDRSmusic and others
Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains, Praxis, Deli Creeps, Science Faxtion, Cornbugs, Guns N' Roses, When It Ends
Website Bucketheadland
Notable instrument(s)
Gibson: Les Paul
Jackson: Y2KV
Ibanez: X Series - Rocket Roller II
Fender: Heartfield - Talon II

Brian Patrick Carroll (born May 13, 1969), better known by his stage name Buckethead, is a virtuoso guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who has worked within several genres of music. He has released 325 studio albums, five DVD’s, four special releases, three music videos, and one EP.

Buckethead is famously known for wearing an expressionless plain white mask on his face, and a bucket on his head.

Although a multi-instrumentalist (playing bass guitar, banjo, keyboards, ukulele, organ, violin, clarinet, saxophone, recorder, drums, gong, and piano), Buckethead is best known for his electric guitar playing, characterized by diverse playing styles spanning thrash guitar, fingerpicking, and slap guitar. Guitar One voted him number 8 on a list of the "Top 10 Greatest Guitar Shredders of All Time".[1] Buckethead makes extreme use of tritones in his music which sound dissonant and give the impression of robotic and unnatural sounds.[2]

Although Buckethead now works primarily as a solo artist touring the United States solo or with a trio, he has had a wide variety of high profile collaborations with such artists as Les Claypool, Tony Williams, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, Iggy Pop, Serj Tankian, Guns N' Roses, Saul Williams, Mike Patton, Viggo Mortensen and with Bill Laswell on Praxis.

Buckethead also has a career writing and performing music for major motion pictures. Some of the films he has worked on include: Saw II, Ghosts of Mars, Beverly Hills Ninja, Mortal Kombat, Last Action Hero and the soundtrack of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie.


Early days (1988 - 1992)[]

As a teenager in 1988, Buckethead entered a song called "Brazos" into a Guitar Player Magazine contest; it was a runner up, This is what was said about him:

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, he's still a teenager. Also known as "Buckethead."

The song was released on the 1991 demo tape of his band Deli Creeps, titled "Tribal Rites". In the same year the editor of Guitar Player Magazine, Jas Obrecht came to know of Buckethead when his parents and him left a demo in the reception that later Obrecht received. Impressed with his demo recording he rushed into the restaurant where Buckethead and his parents were having lunch and encouraged him to make the most of his talent[3], they soon became friends. In 1991 Buckethead moved into Obrecht's basement (this is also where most of the footage for the Young Buckethead DVDs was filmed).

After the 2 demo tapes, Buckethead released Bucketheadland on John Zorn's Avant record label in 1992. Though available only as a pricey Japanese 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); as either a performer, producer or composer, Buckethead was introduced to Laswell with the help of the drummer Bryan "Brain" Mantia who give Laswell a video of Buckethead playing in his room[4]. Laswell was involved in many of the albums listed in the discography below, and Buckethead made many more appearances on albums by Laswell's collaborators.

In 1992 Buckethead, with Bill Laswell, Bernie Worrell and Brain, formed the supergroup, Praxis. Their first album Transmutation (Mutatis Mutandis), released in 1992, 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 and Les Claypool of Primus, among others. Buckethead did not participate in all the albums.

Death Cube K (1994 - 1995)[]

Death Cube K is an anagram of "Buckethead" he created by Tom "Doc" Darter to circumvent legal complications with Sony Records. About his style, Buckethead answers in his FAQ:

Many believe, however, that 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."[5]

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:

Death Cube K is actually the title of an album. I'm sorry I can't remember the name of the group but Bill Laswell who I don't really know but out of the kindness of his heart occasionally sends me big hunks of his output, groups that come out on his label. And Death Cube K was the title of some vicious ambient group that he had produced. And when I saw it, I thought: a Franz Kafka theme bar in Tokyo.

Also in 1994, Buckethead released his second studio album entitled 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 which Buckethead is a fan of [6].

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 told that:

When he finished the band applauded raucously. He was "sweet and normal," but they wanted someone "...who could also kick a groove" [7].

Collaborations - Colma (1995 - 1998)[]

In 1995, Buckethead didn't release any solo albums but between 1995 and 1998 he collaborated with several artists like Jonas Hellborg and Michael Shrieve in the album Octave of the Holy Innocents and Bill Laswell in Ambient Compendium. Also during that time Buckethead collaborated in several movie soundtracks like Johnny Mnemonic, Mortal Kombat.

Later in 1996, Buckethead released a solo album called Day of the Robot with the collaboration of DJ Ninj and another album in a small label called NTT Records, called Giant Robot with the collaboration of Brain, both are out of print.

In 1997 Buckethead began work on an album titled Buckethead Play Disney, but the album has never 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. [8]

Also in the same year Buckethead continued to collaborate on Movie Soundtracks like Beverly Hills Ninja and the sequel of Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, also in this year Buckethead joined praxis and released 2 albums Transmutation Live and Live in Poland.

Death Cube K released an album that year called Disembodied.

Buckethead in 1998 released Colma, an album dedicated to his mother who was sick during this time[9]

Monsters and Robots - Guns N' Roses time (1998 - 2004)[]

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[10].


Buckethead performing live

Also this year Buckethead started three new projects, the first is called Cornbugs with Bill Moseley, Pinchface, and Travis Dickerson, they released their first album called Spot the Psycho. Another project is called Cobra Strike with Pinchface, Brain, DJ Disk, and Bill Laswell, they released the album 13th Scroll. The last project was with the actor Viggo Mortensen and released three albums called One Man's Meat , One Less Thing to Worry About and The Other Parade.

Death Cube K also released an album this year, called Tunnel.

Buckethead achieved a higher public profile as a member of Guns N' Roses from 2000 to 2004. However, the band only toured in 2001 and 2002 during this era. Guns N' Roses response to Buckethead's departure was:

During his tenure with the band, Buckethead has been inconsistent and erratic in both his behavior and his commitment, despite being under contract, creating uncertainty and confusion and making it virtually impossible to move forward with recording, rehearsals, and live plans with confidence. His transient lifestyle has made it near impossible for even his closest friends to have nearly any form of communications with him whatsoever.

Despite this, Buckethead's guitar parts were found intact on leaked Chinese Democracy tracks "I.R.S.", "There Was a Time", "Better" and "Madagascar." However, it is uncertain if they will be present on the final product. In March 2008 Axl Rose confirmed that Buckethead will be featured on Chinese Democracy.[11]

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. [12] [13] [14]

During the time Buckethead was with Guns N' Roses he released several solo albums as well as more colaborations with Cornbugs, Viggo Mortensen, Cobra Strike, Praxis, and started a new project with Les Claypool, Brain and Bernie Worrell called Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains, releasing their only album The Big Eyball in the Sky.

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 when Buckethead refused to go on stage without his disguise:

I tried out that Buckethead guy. I met with him and asked him to work with me but only if he got rid of the fucking bucket. So I came back a bit later and he's wearing this green fucking Martian's-hat thing! I said, 'Look, just be yourself'. He told me his name was Brian, so I said that's what I'd call him. He says, 'No one calls me Brian except my mother'. So I said, 'Pretend I'm your mum then!'. I haven't even got out of the room and I'm already playing fucking mind games with the guy. What happens if one day he's gone and there's a note saying, 'I've been beamed up'? Don't get me wrong, he's a great player. He plays like a motherfucker.

Enter the Chicken - Young Buckethead (2005 - 2006)[]

In 2005, Buckethead released an album as Buckethead & Friends called Enter The Chicken. Released by Serj Tankian's label Serjical Strike, the album features Tankian, Maximum Bob, Death By Stereo singer Efrem Shulz and others. The album is marked by its leaning towards more traditional song structure, while still featuring Buckethead's guitar skills.

In 2005 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 live abroad) to obtain it were auction sites such as eBay. Bootleg copies were also sold on eBay for a short period of time. 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 email 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.

Released in November 2006, the cross-console video game Guitar Hero II features 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 Post Office Buddy, and returns to the verse and chorus of Jordan. However, the Guitar Hero II version contains a special solo specifically for the game.

In late 2006 Buckethead released a two-volume DVD entitled Young Buckethead 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. All the artwork was drawn by Buckethead himself.

27 albums (2007)[]


In Search of The box set

In February tdrsmusic.com announced the release of a new Buckethead CD, entitled Pepper's Ghost which was released on the 1st of March. In February tdrsmusic.com began shipping In Search of The, a 13-CD set of original music that is said to be handcrafted, numbered, and monogrammed by Buckethead and which contains over 9 hours of music. In May the label Avabella released Acoustic Shards, acoustic recordings made in 1991. In August, Buckethead released a reissue of the demo tape Bucketheadland Blueprints with either a hand-drawn cover made by him or as a standard CD. Finally, in October he released 2 new albums:Decoding the Tomb of Bansheebot and Cyborg Slunks and in mid December a standard CD was being printed.

Death Cube K also had releases. In August 400 limited-edition, hand-numbered albums were released as DCK and also in mid December he released, under this anagram, a 5 CD box set called Monolith[15], which consists of 1 unbroken track per CD of about 45 minutes each.

Also in 2007, Buckethead released albums with other artists; the sequel to the Buckethead and Travis Dickerson's Chicken Noodles was released in mid-December 2007, entitled Chicken Noodles II. [16]. He also released an album with Praxis entitled Tennessee 2004, a live recording made in Tennessee in the year 2004. Buckethead also released an album with Shin Terai called Light Years, and Kevin's Noodle House, featuring drummer Bryan Mantia.

In July of 2007, it was revealed that Buckethead is working on a project by the name Science Faxtion, a band featuring bassist Bootsy Collins and drummer Brain. Greg Hampton will supply lead vocals.

Buckethead also released 5 paintings with 100 reproductions each that were sold by his label TDRSmusic.com [17]

2008 projects[]

On January 1st, 2008 Praxis released the long awaited album Profanation (Preparation for a Coming Darkness).[18]

According to IMDB, Buckethead appears as himself in American Music: Off the Record, released January 10th.[19]

In March Jas Obrecht released From The Coop, containing demo recordings from 1988.

Buckethead contributed to At All by Viggo Mortensen.

A re-issue of the album Enter The Chicken (2005) was released in April with an extra song called Shen Chi.[20]

In July Travis Dickerson announced an album called Running After Deer featuring Alix Lambert, D.J. Bonebrake, Paul Eckman, Samuel Stewart, himself and Buckethead for August 15th. [21]

In July it was announced that the song "Soothsayer (dedicated to Aunt Suzie)" from the album Crime Slunk Scene (2006) would be available to play in the video game Guitar Hero III along with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai in the pack entitled "Guitar Hero III Guitar Virtuoso Track Pack"[22]

The first album of Science Faxtion was released in March 2009.

Serj Tankian has stated that his label Serjical Strike is making a new Buckethead album; there is no date specified for this release. [23]

On Sep 17 2008, Buckethead released his 24th solo album Albino Slug


Buckethead released 3 albums so far in this year.Slaughterhouse on the Prairie was released on Jan 30. A Real Diamond in the Rough was released on May 1.


Main article: Buckethead discography

Buckethead's bands[]

Main article: Buckethead's bands


Main article: Buckethead's equipment

Buckethead related websites[]

Main article: Buckethead related websites


  1. http://www.randyciak.com/guitar/top_shredders_of_all_time.htm
  2. http://www.randyciak.com/guitar/top_shredders_of_all_time.htm
  3. http://youngbuckethead.com/ young buckethead page in the section "about"
  4. http://www.tedkurland.com/pbuild/linkbuilder.cfm?selection=doc.271 Bill Laswell taking about Praxis and when he met Buckethead
  5. http://www.bucketheadland.com/faq/index.html#anchor1786800
  6. http://www.bucketheadland.com/faq/index.html#anchor6301 in the lower part were it says " Acknowledgments"
  7. http://www.bucketheadland.com/faq/faq2/FAQ_2_0.html#57
  8. http://www.bucketheadland.com/faq/faq2/FAQ_2_0.html#34
  9. http://www.citypaper.net/articles/111199/feat.20q.shtml
  10. http://www.bucketheadland.com/faq/faq2/FAQ_2_0.html#18
  11. http://web.gunsnroses.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080326&content_id=a1&vkey=news&fext=.jsp
  12. http://www.metroactive.com/papers/sonoma/03.13.03/buckethead-0311.html
  13. http://www.bingebuddies.com/Promo_index.htm
  14. http://www.bingebuddies.com/BINGEART_index.htm
  15. http://travisdickersonmusic.com/store/monolith.html
  16. http://travisdickersonmusic.com/store/chicken_noodles2.html
  17. http://travisdickersonmusic.com/store/Buckethaed_paintings.html
  18. http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=COCB-53688
  19. http://imdb.com/title/tt0887710/
  20. http://soadfans.com/Article580.htm
  21. http://tdrsmusic.com/running_after-deer.html
  22. Guitar Virtuoso Track Pack confirmed for GH3 - Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock for Xbox 360 News - VideoGamer.com
  23. http://soadfans.com/Article580.htm