From Jerry Hahn over Pat Metheny to Buckethead

Well, sometimes you just never know where you going to end up when you write a CD critique. Yesterday, I when I had just finalized my write up on Jerry Hahn’s Time Changes Jazz CD, I thought I should check in on Pat Metheny. Not that know him personally, but I saw him a couple of times in Europe so I wanted to find out what he’s up to these days. I went on his website and there is a section called ‘Pat Metheny recommends’. One name that was listed there stood out to me: Buckethead.

I remember that over the past few years I came across that name a few times, but I never bothered looking up what it actually meant, so I wasn’t sure whether it’s the name of a person or band. But yesterday that changed and I am very glad it did. I went on youtube and I found this:

Total shock! I mean how brilliant is this? I’m totally blown away by the sound and Buckethead’s playing. Well, yes, there is this ‘bucket’ and the mask thing which I don’t really get. I was curious and headed over to the almighty wikipedia and Bucketheadland to educate myself on that mysterious guy. The wikipedia article is actually pretty good and will give you a some background on how Brian Carroll started out and got to where he is now. One thing that stood out to me was that Buckethead has released 36 studio albums already! In addition to that he collaborated with many other solo artists and bands, most notably probably Guns ‘n’ Roses.

And then there is a lot of cryptic info on his website ‘Bucketheadland’. In the section ‘The Buckethead Story’ a writer by the name Ronald L. Whiterspoon tells the story of Buckethead in a fairy tale type of fashion. Really bizarre, you should read it for yourself. Well, my personal interpretation – and just to be clear, I might be totally off with my speculation – is, that Brian was an outsider. His peers at school didn’t ‘get’ him so he continued to stay rather isolated, focusing on playing the guitar, horror movies and science fiction. He practiced like a lunatic and got really good. People appreciated his talent, however, because of his shyness he decided to wear a bucket on his head and a mask. There you go, my modest attempt on why Buckethead is Buckethead and not Brian Carroll.

That actually reminds me of Ozzy’s encounter with him. Apparently, he must have auditioned for Ozzy at some point. Buckethead told Ozzy that his real name was Brian Carroll but only his mom calls him that. Ozzy’s response: “Pretend I’m your mom, then!” Priceless, isn’t it?

Anyway, there’s some good material of Brian Carroll Buckethead out on youtube. And of course, there are plenty of hater comments as usual. Here is my take: let the guy wear whatever he wants, who cares. Focus on his music and his guitar playing and you will learn a lot and have a good time. I will absolutely familiarize myself with his work, I just have to figure out were to start. Again, keep in mind, he has 36 albums out there.


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