The Career of Musical Virtuoso Buckethead Essay Sample

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A strange man dawning a plain white, expressionless mask and a KFC bucket with a bumper sticker labeled “FUNERAL” in big black bold letters. That is all a person sees when looking at a photo of the man for the first time, without hearing even a single piece of his music. What they don’t know about the man is that he has become one of the top, most hard working performers in the music industry of the last 25 – 30 years. Buckethead has performed on more than 90 albums, both solo and in collaboration with many other artists.

Buckethead was born Brian Patrick Carroll in 1969. Brian began playing the guitar at the age of twelve. He had stated in an interview with Guitar Magazine in 1996, “I did not become serious until the following summer when I moved to Claremont from Huntington Beach, CA. My playing improved with lessons from various teachers, most notably, Paul Gilbert, with whom I studied for over a year.” [1] (Guitar Magazine 1996)

Brian’s solo career (as Buckethead) officially began in 1988 when he entered a song called “Brazos” into a contest for Guitar Player magazine. The song was was placed in second, but received high praise among the editors: “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, also known as ‘Buckethead.’ ” [2] (Guitar Player magazine 1988) In 1989, he entered a second contest a year later with a song called “Soowee” and came out with the same result.

Later that year, Buckethead formed his very own band called the Deli Creeps and played lead guitar for the group. But the band proved to be unsuccessful throughout the ‘90s as they’ve recorded two demo tapes, but could not find a record label to sign with. However, in 2005, they were able to release their first and only album, Dawn of the Deli Creeps. Other musical projects that Buckethead was involved with include Praxis and various movie soundtracks.

Brian’s solo career also continued throughout the ‘90s, not just as Buckethead, but also as another character, Death Cube K. “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.” [3] (“Buckethead FAQ v 1.0″) Brian has only released six albums as Death Cube K. And after releasing two solo demo tapes, Buckethead released his very first official studio album in 1992 entitled Bucketheadland, a second album in 1994 called Giant Robot, and third in 1998 Colma, dedicated to his mother who was sick with colon cancer at the time.

By the time the New Millenia came around, Buckethead became a nation-wide sensation in the underground music scene. In 1999, Buckethead collaborated with world renowned bassist Les Claypool to record Buckethead’s currently best selling album to date, Monster and Robots. In the year 2000, Brian Carroll received the chance of a lifetime to play guitar for one of the most famous bands in the world, Guns n’ Roses. Of course, he still kept the mask and the bucket as he is a very shy one. Buckethead toured and recorded with the band for their often-delayed album Chinese Democracy. During the time that he was with Guns n’ Roses, he kept the momentum going with his own career by still releasing solo albums and working with his other side projects.

Four years after joining them, Brian sparked a little bit of controversy with Guns n’ Roses, especially with Axl, by leaving the band “because of Guns’ inability to complete an album or tour.” [4] ( “Buckethead’s Hand Puppet Says Goodbye To Guns N’ Roses”) Since that time, Buckethead’s popularity in the independent scene grew steadily. It grew even more so when the popular 2006 video game Guitar Hero II launched, with Buckethead’s “Jordan” being a playable song.

Forty-seven studio albums, four special releases, one extended play and fifty-plus recordings with other artists. Brian Carroll continues to inspire today’s youth with the Buckethead character by constantly releasing new albums every single year. There is no end in sight for the ever expanding musical career of Buckethead.

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