Buckethead performing live in 2012.
|Birth name||Brian Patrick Carroll|
|Also known as||Buckethead|
|Born||May 13, 1969|
|Genres||Heavy metal, progressive metal, funk metal, avant-garde metal, instrumental rock, experimental rock, experimental metal|
|Instruments||Guitar, bass guitar, banjo, ukelele, piano, keyboard, drums|
|Labels||TDRS Music, Hatboxghost Music, Bucketheadland, Avant, Day Eight Music, Sony Music Entertainment, CyberOctave, Sub Meta, Metastation, City Hall, Stray, Gonervill, Catalyst Entertainment, Ion, Disembodied, Tzadik, Avabella Productions, Serjical Strike|
|Associated acts||Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains, Guns N' Roses, Praxis, Serj Tankian, Deli Creeps, Science Faxtion, Cornbugs, El Stew, Arcana, Thanatopsis, Primus, Bill Laswell, Bootsy Collins, Viggo Mortensen, Lawson Rollins|
|Gibson Les Paul Buckethead Signature
Jackson Roundhorn V
Brian Patrick Carroll (born May 13, 1969), better known by his stage name Buckethead, is an American guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who has worked within many genres of music. He has released 180 studio albums, four special releases and one EP. He has also performed on more than 50 other albums by other artists. His music spans such diverse areas as progressive metal, funk, blues, jazz, bluegrass, ambient, and avant-garde music.
Buckethead is famous for wearing a KFC bucket on his head, emblazoned with an orange bumper sticker reading FUNERAL in capital black block letters, and an expressionless plain white mask which, according to Buckethead, was inspired by his seeing Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. At one point, he changed to a plain white bucket that no longer bore the KFC logo, but subsequently reverted to his trademark KFC bucket. He also incorporates nunchaku and robot dancing into his stage performances.
As an instrumentalist, Buckethead has received critical acclaim for his electric guitar playing, and is considered one of today's more innovative guitarists. He has been voted number 8 on a list in GuitarOne magazine of the "Top 10 Fastest Guitar Shredders of All Time" as well as being included in Guitar World's lists of the "25 all-time weirdest guitarists" and the "50 fastest guitarists of all time". He performs primarily as a solo artist, though he has collaborated extensively with a wide variety of high-profile artists such as Bill Laswell, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, Iggy Pop, Les Claypool, Serj Tankian, Bill Moseley, Mike Patton, Viggo Mortensen, That 1 Guy, Bassnectar, and was a member of Guns N' Roses from 2000 to 2004. Buckethead has also written and performed music for major motion pictures, including: Saw II, Ghosts of Mars, Beverly Hills Ninja, Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Last Action Hero, and contributed lead guitar to the track "Firebird" featured on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie soundtrack.
- 1 Career
- 1.1 Early life
- 1.2 1988–94: Early solo career and Praxis
- 1.3 1995–98: Collaboration work, movie soundtracks and Praxis
- 1.4 1999–2006: New projects, Guns N' Roses, and public recognition
- 1.5 2005–06: Buckethead & Friends
- 1.6 2007–09: Continued solo work and Michael Jackson tribute
- 1.7 2010–12: Break for illness, and Buckethead Pikes
- 1.8 2013: 31 albums released
- 1.9 2014: 60 albums released
- 1.10 2015: 49 albums released
- 2 Influences
- 3 Equipment
- 4 Discography
- 5 Buckethead's bands
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Carroll was born on May 13, 1969 to Tom and Nancy Carroll and is one of five siblings along with Lynn, Lisa, Lori, and John. He grew up in a Southern California suburb not far from Disneyland. In his youth, he was a shy kid and spent most of his time in his room, which was filled with comic books, video games, martial-arts movie memorabilia, and toys. He also spent a lot of time at Disneyland.
Brian began playing guitar at the age of 12. He had been quoted as saying, however, that he did not become serious until a year later when he moved from Huntington Beach, CA to Claremont, CA. His playing began improving by taking private lessons from various teachers at a local music store, Styles Music. His early teachers included Max McGuire, Johnny Fortune, Mark Hammond, Pebber Brown and Paul Gilbert. Buckethead played a tribute to all his early teachers when the Deli Creeps played a show at Styles Music's 25th anniversary. He then began making demo recordings of both his playing as well as his writing styles, which would later be released in 2007-2008.
The Buckethead persona came to be when Carroll saw the 1988 fright flick Halloween 4 and was inspired by the film. He went right out after seeing it and bought a Michael Myers-like white mask. The bucket idea came later that night while eating Kentucky Fried Chicken:
I was eating it, and I put the mask on and then the bucket on my head. I went to the mirror. I just said, 'Buckethead. That's Buckethead right there.' It was just one of those things. After that, I wanted to be that thing all the time.
— Buckethead, 1996 Guitar Player Magazine 
1988–94: Early solo career and Praxis
In 1988 after leaving the band Class-X, Carroll entered a song called "Brazos" into a Guitar Player magazine contest. It was a runner-up, with editors raving:
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."
In the same year, the magazine's editor, Jas Obrecht, came to know of Buckethead when Carroll and his parents left a demo recording at the magazine's reception desk for Obrecht. Impressed with this demo, he rushed into the restaurant where Buckethead and his parents were having lunch and encouraged him to make the most of his talent. They soon became friends. In 1989 a song called "Soowee" by Buckethead got honorable mention in another song contest. In 1991, Buckethead moved into Obrecht's basement (this is also where the "Buckethead in the Basement" footage for the Young Buckethead DVD was filmed). The song "Brazos" was eventually released on the 1991 demo tape of his band Deli Creeps, titled "Tribal Rites," and again as bonus material in Buckethead's Secret Recipe DVD in 2006. Luke Sacco was his teacher.
After 1 his first two demo tapes, called Giant Robot and Bucketheadland Blueprints, Buckethead released Bucketheadland on John Zorn's Japanese Avant record label in 1992. Though available only as a pricey 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; Buckethead (as a performer, producer, or composer) was introduced to Laswell with the help of Limbomaniacs drummer Bryan "Brain" Mantia, who gave Laswell a video of Buckethead playing in his room. Buckethead soon became Laswell's second staple guitar player, besides Nicky Skopelitis.
In 1992, Buckethead, with Bill Laswell, Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins, and Bryan "Brain" Mantia, formed the supergroup Praxis. Their first album, Transmutation (Mutatis Mutandis), released the same year, 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, among many others. Buckethead did participate in all releases except the initial 1984 release and Mold (1998).
In 1994, Buckethead released an album called Dreamatorium under the name of Death Cube K (an anagram of "Buckethead"). The name was created by Tom "Doc" Darter to circumvent legal complications with Sony Music Entertainment. About his style, the official FAQ says,
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.
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, 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, of which Buckethead is a fan. He also released two other albums with Praxis, their second and third studio efforts: Sacrifist and Metatron.
1995–98: Collaboration work, movie soundtracks and Praxis
In 1995, Buckethead did not release any solo albums but collaborated with several artists like Jonas Hellborg and Michael Shrieve (Octave of the Holy Innocents). He also contributed to several movie soundtracks, such as Johnny Mnemonic and Mortal Kombat.
Later, in 1996, Buckethead released his solo album The Day of the Robot with the help of English producer DJ Ninj and Laswell, plus another album with Brain and keyboardist Pete Scaturro on the small Japanese label NTT Records, called Giant Robot. Both albums were printed only in small quantities and are collectors' items now. A second demo tape by the Deli Creeps was also recorded.
Also in 1996 several Sega Saturn television ads featuring a screaming mask-like face pressing through the blue orb of the Saturn logo was released, with music by Buckethead.
In 1997, Buckethead began working on the album Buckethead Plays Disney, but the album has not yet 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.
Further releases were Arcana's second and final studio album Arc of the Testimony and the one-off project Pieces, with Brain. Two live albums by Praxis, called Transmutation Live and Live in Poland (featuring recordings from European concerts) were also issued.
Death Cube K released an album that year called Disembodied.
1999–2006: New projects, Guns N' Roses, and public recognition
In 1999, Buckethead released his fifth album, a collaboration with Les Claypool from the band Primus, titled Monsters and Robots — currently the best-selling album of his career. This album includes the song "The Ballad of Buckethead," for which his first music video ever was made.
Also in this year, he started three new projects, the first being the band Cornbugs, a collaboration with actor Bill Moseley, drummer Pinchface, and later keyboardist Travis Dickerson. Another project, Cobra Strike with an album called The 13th Scroll, featured Pinchface, Bryan "Brain" Mantia, DJ Disk, and Bill Laswell. Buckethead also recorded with actor Viggo Mortensen, whom he first met through a recording project called Myth: Dreams of the World in 1996. Together they released One Man's Meat, One Less Thing to Worry About, and The Other Parade. Those releases are quite rare now, but a compilation album called This, That, and The Other was issued in 2004 to compensate for this. A reworked version of Live in Poland by Praxis, called Warszawa, plus the soundtrack of the movie Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, also came out this year. Furthermore Buckethead offered fans to buy special half-hour-long "personalized recordings" for a price of $50 each. Buyers could choose content out of several categories.
A third Death Cube K release followed, titled Tunnel, this time without Laswell but featuring Travis Dickerson instead. In 2000, Buckethead released the second and last album by Cobra Strike, called Cobra Strike II - Y, Y+B, X+Y.
Buckethead achieved a higher public profile as lead guitarist for Guns N' Roses from 2000 to 2004. He recorded the often-delayed album Chinese Democracy with the band and appeared live on stage in 2001 and 2002, including Rock in Rio 3, MTV's Video Music Awards, and parts of the Chinese Democracy Tour.
Despite being a member of GN'R, Buckethead released his sixth studio album, called Somewhere Over the Slaughterhouse in 2001, and also his only EP, called KFC Skin Piles. He also released two albums with his band Cornbugs, Cemetery Pinch and How Now Brown Cow. He joined two new projects, the first being Thanatopsis, with Dickerson, releasing a self-titled debut album; the other one with Laswell and Japanese producer Shin Terai, released as Unison.
In 2002, Buckethead released three studio albums: Funnel Weaver, a collection of 49 short tracks, Bermuda Triangle, and finally, Electric Tears, a calming album that is similar to his earlier release, Colma. When Laswell was not able to play with Praxis at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts festival, Les Claypool asked to jam with Brain, Bernie Worrell, and Buckethead, forming a new supergroup called Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains. The jamband experiment was successful enough to do some further live dates.
Later, in 2003, marking the release of his tenth studio album, Buckethead released the sequel of his debut Bucketheadland, simply called Bucketheadland 2. Together with actor Viggo Mortensen, he did Pandemoniumfromamerica, and with Thanatopsis, its second release, called Axiology.
In March 2004 Buckethead left Guns N' Roses, according to his manager, because of Guns' inability to complete an album or tour.
Guns N' Roses' response after Buckethead's departure was as follows:
The band has been put in an untenable position by guitarist Buckethead and his untimely departure. During his tenure with the band Buckethead has been inconsistent and erratic in both his behavior and 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 impossible for even his closest friends to have nearly any form of communication with him whatsoever. Last time I talked to Bucket, he called to tell me he had bought a bootleg DVD off EBay and how proud he was to be in Guns and how impressed he was with everyone's performance. Then, in February we got word from Brain that Bucket had called him and said he was back in Guns!? Apparently, according to Bucket he had been "Gone" but had turned himself around and was really excited to do Rio-Lisbon and a European tour. Somewhere in the following month things changed once again. According to those who have actually spoken with Buckethead it appears his plans were to secure a recording contract with Sanctuary Records which I encouraged my management to make available to him, quit GN'R and to use his involvement in the upcoming Guns release to immediately promote his individual efforts...Nice guy!
Axl Rose answers fans' questions on GN'R fan sites:
I have no issues with Bucket. It's hard to tell what was real or not in things we were told by Merck. He's more than welcome to tour with us in some form or other provided we're both interested at the time and come to some type of reasonable terms. Personally I have a blast w/Bucket on tour and get a big kick out of the guy. A lot of feelings were hurt on this side of the fence in how things went down and unfortunately others used our silence and the public's not knowing for their own purposes at both Bucket's and our expense.
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.
The year 2004 saw the release of three new studio albums: Island of Lost Minds, which was his first tour-only album being later re-released by TDRS Music Population Override, a blues-rock tour de force with Dickerson; and The Cuckoo Clocks of Hell, considered his heaviest effort to date. The latter includes "Spokes for the Wheel of Torment," for which Syd Garon and Eric Henry made a music video based on the famous triptychs by Hieronymus Bosch. Buckethead also recorded the final two albums by the Cornbugs, Brain Circus and Donkey Town as well as another release with Viggo Mortensen called Please Tomorrow and a second with Shin Terai, titled Heaven & Hell. C2B3 also released their only album, The Big Eyeball in the Sky, and toured it in North America.
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, and realizing that Buckethead would not remove his costume to be accepted by Ozzy, said:
2005–06: Buckethead & Friends
In 2005, Buckethead released an album as "Buckethead & Friends," called Enter the Chicken, through Serj Tankian's record label, Serjical Strike. The album features Tankian himself, Maximum Bob (of the Deli Creeps), Death by Stereo singer Efrem Shulz, Bad Acid Trip, and others. It is marked by its leaning toward more traditional song structures while still featuring typical Buckethead guitar skills. "We Are One" was released as a single and also appeared on the soundtrack of Masters of Horror. "Three Fingers" was used for the soundtrack of the horror movie Saw II. The final track, "Nottingham Lace," was first made public via his home page and soon became a concert staple and one of his most popular songs. Buckethead also released two further solo albums in 2005, Kaleidoscalp and Inbred Mountain — the latter being the first album as a solo artist released on the label TDRS Music. Both albums originally were sold exclusively at concerts and only later got an official release through the label's website.
Also the same year, 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 lived abroad) to obtain it were auction sites such as eBay. 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 e-mail 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.
Also, Buckethead released albums with other bands: with Cornbugs, he released two compilation albums, called Rest Home for Robots and Skeleton Farm; he also released (with the band Deli Creeps) their first and only album, called Dawn of the Deli Creeps. Buckethead also released self-titled album Gorgone with studio project Gorgone. This album was recorded from one of the recording sessions from the album Population Override that Buckethead released in 2004. The guitarist also released an album with the actor Viggo Mortensen called Intelligence Failure, and with the band Praxis, released a live album called Zurich.
Main guitar riff of "Jordan"
First two bars of "Jordan"
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In 2006, the highlight of the year was the cross-console video game Guitar Hero II, featuring 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 another song, usually "Post Office Buddy"; then returns to the verse and chorus of "Jordan." However, the Guitar Hero II version contains a special solo created specifically for the game. Since late 2007, Buckethead has been known to perform the Guitar Hero version of "Jordan" within his concerts, including the solo.
Also the same year, Buckethead released two DVDs, titled Young Buckethead Vol. 1 and Young Buckethead Vol. 2, 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. He also released the albums The Elephant Man's Alarm Clock and Crime Slunk Scene, both sold on his tours but later sold on the TDRS Music website. The last album has the song "Soothsayer (Dedicated to Aunt Suzie)"; this song (along with "Jordan" and "Nottingham Lace") is one of his most popular songs and is often played live.
In the same year, Buckethead released his final compilation album with the band Cornbugs, called Celebrity Psychos. He also released an album with producer, keyboardist, and owner of the label TDRS Music, Travis Dickerson, called Chicken Noodles, which was inspired by the track "Cruel Reality of Nature," from the album Population Override. He also released an album with the band Thanatopsis, called Anatomize.
2007–09: Continued solo work and Michael Jackson tribute
In 2007, Buckethead released an unprecedented amount of new material. In February, a box set titled In Search of The, containing 13 albums of original material, was released. It was handcrafted, numbered, and monogrammed by Buckethead and contained over nine hours of music. A regular solo album, called Pepper's Ghost, was released in March. A disc of acoustic improvisations called Acoustic Shards was also released, becoming the twentieth studio album that the artist had released so far in his solo career. In midyear, he reissued his demo tape Bucketheadland Blueprints, with two alternative album covers: a special edition with a hand-drawn cover made by him, or a standard edition with the original cover art. In October, he released his final two albums of the year, called Decoding the Tomb of Bansheebot and Cyborg Slunks. The latter again came in both a hand-drawn limited edition and (some weeks later) as a normal CD.
As Death Cube K, Buckethead released two albums in 2007: an album called DCK, limited to 400 hand-numbered copies and released in August; and in December, the 5-CD box set Monolith, which consisted of one unbroken track per CD.
During 2007, Buckethead also collaborated and appeared on numerous albums with other artists. The sequel to Chicken Noodles (a collaboration with Travis Dickerson), simply called Chicken Noodles II, was issued by TDRS in December. A live record by Praxis, titled Tennessee 2004; the third album with Shin Terai, called Lightyears; and another album with drummer Bryan Mantia, called Kevin's Noodle House, were also released through the year.
Buckethead also created five paintings, each limited to 100 reproductions each and sold through TDRS.
That same year, it was revealed that Buckethead joined a project by the name of Science Faxtion, a band featuring bassist Bootsy Collins and drummer Bryan "Brain" Mantia, with Greg Hampton supplying lead vocals. Their first album, called Living on Another Frequency, was delayed several times and was finally released in November 2008.
On January 1, 2008, the band Praxis released the long-awaited album Profanation (Preparation for a Coming Darkness) in Japan. The album had actually been recorded in 2005, but had to be put on hold when the original label went bankrupt.
2008 started with the release of From the Coop through the label Avabella (where he released Acoustic Shards), consisting of the demos Buckethead gave to Jas Obrecht back in 1988. This CD also included the first ever "official" biography of/by the artist. Later that same year, he announced the release of the album called Albino Slug (a tour-only CD until official release on December of the same year). Along with this album, he appeared on the album The Dragons of Eden, with Dickerson and Mantia, and in collaboration with That 1 Guy as the Frankenstein Brothers, an album called Bolt on Neck was released. That 1 Guy and Buckethead toured together through fall 2008, playing songs from this album.
Buckethead also appeared in the documentary American Music: Off the Record, in which he appears only playing. Serj Tankian's label, Serjical Strike, reissued the album Enter the Chicken with an extra song. Furthermore, Buckethead contributed to one track of actor Viggo Mortensen's album At All, and with Travis Dickerson and filmmaker Alix Lambert on the album Running After Deer.
Buckethead appeared with Bootsy Collins in Cincinnati, Ohio, to promote the vote for the United States presidential election, 2008 for the organization Rock the Vote. He also joined Collins on Fallen Soldiers Memorial, an album with proceeds going to the National Fallen Heroes Foundation.
More than four years after his departure from the band Guns N' Roses, Chinese Democracy was made available. Buckethead appears on all but two songs and was given writing credits on "Shackler's Revenge" (which appeared in the popular video game Rock Band 2); "Scraped"; and "Sorry," which features guest singer Sebastian Bach. The album features eleven of Buckethead's guitar solos.
On December 30, 2008, Buckethead released two new tracks via his website to honor the 24th birthday of basketball player LeBron James. These tracks were later made available on the album, Slaughterhouse on the Prairie which was released a month later through TDRS Music. Then, in May 2009 he released the album A Real Diamond in the Rough, and later another album called Forensic Follies, which was first sold at some of his tour dates but later released on TDRS.
Buckethead released a song in 2009 titled "The Homing Beacon" on his website, along with a drawing of Michael Jackson to serve as a tribute to the late singer after he saw the news of his death. Three years later, the song was released as the final track on Electric Sea, Buckethead's first album of 2012.
By the end of the year, on November 13, Gibson announced a Buckethead signature Les Paul. The guitar was part of the series of releases made through the whole month. In December he collaborated on the debut album of Travis Dickerson (founder of the label TDRS Music where he has released many of his albums to date), called Iconography.
2010–12: Break for illness, and Buckethead Pikes
On April 29, 2010, Buckethead's Web site was updated with a picture with the message "Greetings from Bucketheadland... Buckethead wants you to know he appreciates your support all these years, it means so much to him. Buckethead is having some animatronic parts replaced, Slip Disc snuck into the park and caused some mayhem." The mention of Slip Disc is a reference to a Bucketheadland nemesis found on the Bucketheadland album. Bootsy Collins continued to update his Twitter Web site about Buckethead's condition, stating that he had recently gone into therapy for a few months.
Nevertheless, after return from injury, on July 15, 2010, Buckethead, along with Brain and Melissa Reese, has released the first volume out of three 5-CD box sets called Best Regards. On August 25, 2010, Buckethead announced his 28th studio album titled Spinal Clock, which showcases his banjo skills. On September 2, 2010, Buckethead released 23 ink drawings that were sold off through TDRS' Web site. A second batch consisting of 67 drawings was released the following week. Along with the drawings, Buckethead auctioned off the three original paintings released in 2007 with two new paintings.
In October, two albums in collaboration with Brain were released, the first called Brain as Hamenoodle, and the second installment of the "Regards" series with Brain and Melissa Reese called, Kind Regards. Eventually, both projects were released on October 13.
In Mid-October Travis Dickerson announced via the TDRS Music forum, that he has been working on several new projects. One of them turned out to be Left Hanging, an album on which Buckethead is collaborating with him. On October 20, Buckethead released a new album titled Captain EO's Voyage first available only on iTunes. It was later announced that a physical edition will be released on December 1. Eventually, both CD's were released on November 29.
On December 20, Buckethead's Web site was updated with a new song and pictures of Rammellzee, a visual artist, graffiti writer, performance artist, hip hop musician, art theoretician and sculptor from New York, with the words "Hero of the Abyss" appearing above the photos. The song was considered to be a tribute to the artist who died earlier that year. A day later Buckethead released a limited-edition album titled Happy Holidays From Buckethead, with a holiday greeting card included.
On February 17, 2011, Buckethead's webpage had been updated again with a new song titled "Crack the Sky" dedicated to basketball player Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers, with the message "Best of Luck on All-Star Weekend." And on March 10, Buckethead released another song titled "Lebrontron", dedicated to basketball player LeBron James.
On May 15, Buckethead started to release albums under the concept of a kiosk within Buckethead's fictional "abusement" park called "Buckethead Pikes". The albums released within this concept were to resemble a comic book style and be shorter in length than his previous works at around half an hour in length. Under this concept, Buckethead released his 31st studio album called It's Alive and shortly after, on May 20, Buckethead released the second album in the series titled Empty Space via iTunes and later as a tour only CD and on July 7, the album was finally released worldwide.
On August 17, Buckethead released the next three installments of the Pikes series. The first one was the regular edition of the previously "Untitled" album released on 2010 now titled 3 Foot Clearance. The other two albums were titled Underground Chamber and Look Up There which became the fourth and fifth installments of the Pikes series.
While releasing albums on the Pikes series, Buckethead also collaborated with other musicians and released instrumental album, Reunion with actor Viggo Mortensen on September 26. Then collaborated on two tracks on Lawson Rollins' album, Elevation.
On April 14, 2012 Buckethead released the sixth installment of the Pikes series entitled Balloon Cement and on August 9 he released the seventh album in the series called The Shores of Molokai. Shortly after, on September 20, he released the eighth, ninth, and tenth installments of the Pikes series at the same time entitled Racks, March of the Slunks, and The Silent Picture Book respectively.
Buckethead's last live performance took place on December 31, 2012.
2013: 31 albums released
During his absence from touring, Buckethead's release schedule increased speed dramatically. Throughout 2013 he released a further thirty-one albums, followed by another sixty in 2014. The first twelve Pikes of 2013 were originally released as limited edition, untitled albums with hand drawn covers and signed by Buckethead himself. The albums were only recognizable by their designation within the Pikes chronology at the moment of their announcement.
Notably, the cover of Pike 13 contains a photograph of Buckethead unmasked; the first such image released to the public. The cover of Pike 13 does not feature the common elements of the Pikes series, and is simply a photograph of Buckethead during his teenage years, carrying an acoustic guitar and hugging a man assumed to be his father. The release of the picture came at a time when Buckethead's father had been sick for a few months.
He continued releasing limited edition albums with the announcement of The Boiling Pond on May 24 to be released on June 21. On June 1 The Spirit Winds was announced to be released on July 2, while Pike 18 was announced on June 27 and released on July 29. He then announced the next two Pike installments simultaneously (Teeter Slaughter and Thaw) on July 2 and released on August 5 and by the end of the month, on July 29, he announced another two Pike installments simultaneously (Spiral Trackway and Sphere Facade) to be released on September 3.
Buckethead continued released albums throughout the year, breaking the numerical order occasionally. Notably, Pike 34 Pikes was released some three weeks after Pike 35 Thank you Ohlinger's. The final album of the year Wishes was released on December 24, free of charge for a limited time.
2014: 60 albums released
During 2014 Buckethead continued releasing albums at an even faster pace. Sixty albums were released throughout the year; a rough average of one every six days. On June 26, the sixty-fifth installment in the series entitled Hold Me Forever (In memory of my mom Nancy York Carroll) was released to honor the passing of Buckethead's mother. The final release of the year took place on December 31, Pike 101 entitled In the Hollow Hills.
2015: 49 albums released
Buckethead's release schedule increased in speed again over 2015. Forty-nine albums were released by the 21st of June that year, an average of one every 3.5 days. Pike 119 was initially released as a limited edition CD only but then was also released as a download edition on May 9. Pikes 130 and 131 represent a two-part album entitled 'Down in the Bayou', with part one and two released in reverse order. His 180th release and 150th album in the series, "Heaven is your Home (For my Father, Thomas Manley Carroll)", was released for free on Father's Day and in dedication to his late father.
Buckethead cites a wide variety of musical influences, including Michael Jackson, Parliament-Funkadelic, Shawn Lane, Michael Schenker, Uli Jon Roth, Paul Gilbert, Yngwie Malmsteen, Eddie Hazel, Randy Rhoads, Larry LaLonde, Mike Patton, James Cutri, Louis Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, Jennifer Batten, The Residents, Eddie Van Halen and Angus Young, as well as the many artists he has collaborated with over the years.
In addition to his musical influences, Buckethead cites a diverse range of non-musical influences manifested on several ways out of which dedicated songs to said inspirations have been a staple of Buckethead's discography with particular attention to basketball players like Michael Jordan (song "Jordan"), George Gervin (on "Iceman"), Blake Griffin (on "Crack the Sky"), "Pistol" Pete Maravich (on "The Mark of Davis"), and LeBron James (with four songs dedicated to him). Other influences include martial artist and actor Bruce Lee (on "The Game of Death" song and inspiration behind the use of nunchakus on stage), author H. P. Lovecraft (on the "Lurker at the Threshold" suite), numerous science fiction and horror TV shows and movies including Little House on the Prairie, Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain (on Kaleidoscalp), and Giant Robot (mentioned on several songs, albums, and episodes shown on stage).
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