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“Why Keith Richards Always Uses A Speechwriter”

Above is the headline over a wonderful piece by Chris Nelson that appeared in Monday’s New York Times, about Axl Rose’s public trashing of his former bandmate Buckethead as he announced Buckethead’s forced departure from Guns N’ Roses.

How is it possible that I, who consider myself somewhat informed, did not know of the existence of the person called “Buckethead” until I read the article?

About Buckethead, in case there is one other person among the six billion walking our planet who doesn’t know who he is: he was born Brian Carroll, and never appears in public without a wig, a mannequin mask, and a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket on his head.

I guess PETA won’t be using him in its next campaign, huh?

Even though Axl cancelled Guns N’ Roses’ upcoming May 30 appearance in Lisbon because of Buckethead’s having been fired, the group’s doing just fine.

Last week, their “Greatest Hits” album made its debut on the Billboard 200 albums chart at No. 3, having sold 169,000 copies.

You GO Axl and Buckethead! Your separate ways, alas.

Here’s the full Times story:
__________________________________________

In the 11 years since Guns N’ Roses last released an album, fans have often wondered what Axl Rose, the group’s reclusive lead singer, has been doing. Apparently, attending how-to workshops for publicists has not been on the agenda.

Last week, Mr. Rose issued an emotional and apologetic news release through the Business Wire to explain the recent departure of the new Guns N’ Roses guitarist, Buckethead, and the group’s subsequent cancellation of its May 30 appearance at the Rock in Rio concert in Lisbon.

“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.”

“Regardless of anyone’s opinions of me and what I may or may not deserve,” the release added, “clearly the fans, individuals in this band, management, crew and our support group do not deserve this type of treatment.”

Mr. Rose’s approach was not embraced by his newfound colleagues. Public relations professionals usually advise clients to distance themselves from bad news by letting a representative or corporate entity break the information, said Bob Merlis, who worked in publicity at Warner Brothers Records for almost 30 years, and whose firm M.f.h. handles media contacts for John Mellencamp and others.

Lois Najarian, a publicist with Dan Klores Communications whose clients include Prince, called the dirty laundry Mr. Rose talked about in the release “a cringe factor.”

“The criticism that Axl gets when he does bold stuff is that he’s showing some sort of instability or lack of reason,” Ms. Najarian said. Still, she said some fans appreciate Mr. Rose’s candidness.

Few have ever doubted Mr. Rose follows a quirky muse. He has spent more than a decade working on his group’s next record, and alienated his original bandmates in the process. The group’s 2002 tour was nixed after Mr. Rose did not show up for concerts in Vancouver and Philadelphia.

Buckethead himself is no stranger to eccentricity. Born Brian Carroll, Buckethead never appears in public without a wig, a mannequin mask and a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket on his head.

Despite Guns N’ Roses’ travails, the public’s appetite for its releases has not abated. Last week, the group’s “Greatest Hits” album made its debut on the Billboard 200 albums chart at No. 3, having sold 169,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

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  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Buckethead’s been “under the radar” for a long time, but guitar enthusiasts, especially of the shredder variety, are well aware of him. He’s just a weirdo guy who’s been hanging out with Bill Laswell, Bootsy Collins, and others for years, and with the exposure GnR has given him he’s gotten a bit more attention. Personally, I can only take a little of his stuff. I like his ideas, but very often it just sounds like scales at light-speed. That said, his Monsters & Robots and Day of the Robot releases were quite good (and yes, he does have a fetish for robots,) and some of the stuff he’s done with DJs has been very interesting. Check out his work (along with Laswell, Collins, and others) on Praxis’ Transmutation: Mutatis Mutandis if you’re interested in some really unusual rock/funk/space/weirdness.

  • ClubhouseCancer

    Mr. Head, BTW, derives his name from a tasty track on the Meat Puppets’ seminal Up on the Sun record.

    “Buckethead” features the lyrics:

    Ain’t got no head, just a bucket with teeth
    He loves to dream, loves to sleep
    What goes in gets mixed around
    Overflows, then makes this sound: (crazed distorted Kirkwood guitar solo — weedilly-weedilly-wee!!!!)

  • Eric Olsen

    CC, you are among the more idiosyncratic people I have ever not met. I would not be surprised to learn that you wear a similarly outre get-up – do you?

    And whatever happened with the Kirkwood assault/shooting/weirdness?

  • http://www.iamcorrect.blogspot.com Lono

    Being a once huge fan of G&R, I have been following this ongoing car crash. I think it is important to note that Buckethead will not speak with people directly, even his bandmates. Instead he keeps a puppet on his hand and handles all his communication with the outside world. I wish I was making this up, but I am not.

    Lono
    Parker, CO

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Wow – I did not know that, CC! Thanks!

    “Uh, hey Buckethead, what you got in the bucket?” Bootsy Collins, Praxis

  • kenny

    rose is just a moron, he needs to get in the 20th century and leave the 80s behind, i seen buckethead last night at the aggie in ftcollins and 2 nights ago at the bluebird in denver, theres different levels of guitar players, theres beginners, intermediate, advanced(taking leads and everything), extreme (vai, malmsteen etc..,) and then theres another level above that called BUCKETHEAD, no one touches him hes amazing and amazing stage presense/performer, gunsroses suck ass buckethead owns

  • http://www.bucketheadland.com/faq/ mike

    i agree Buckethead is by far a superior musician to GnR,. why would such a talent hook up with a hack like rose. who the fuck is he to say bucket was unreliable? when is he going to OD already!

  • http://nunya Kristin

    Buckethead rules. I recently had the pleasure of seeing him in Lawrence Kansas, and it was the best show I’ve ever seen. He’s an amazing performer, he does’nt need G&R holdin him down with their gayness. Word.

  • Tim

    “When is he going to OD already!” Priceless!! Lauging my ass off after hearing that. Fuck GnR buckethead didn’t want to join in the first place. Buckethead is definitly the best in the world. No one can shred this fast and this good.

  • some guy

    I havn’t seen him live yet, I dont think he goes to Canada, actualy I dont think any bands go to canada unless there sellout. but all i know is GnR dosn’t diserve to have him. I think him and Claypool should find an insane drummer and form a super band of pyschadelic/funk/shred/metal or something that cant be classified and try and get up there with pink floyd. this way his wierdness and talent should be rememberd for the years, and maby than they will let him have his funeral at disney world

  • God

    I want bucket heads shoes. Insert more random stuff…He is multi talented and has very unique attributes in terms of character and stage performance and all round seems like a normal guy when compared to those fake hollywood people. Guns and rose always sucked to begin with, if something is popular it doesn’t mean it’s amazing..meh…back to me wanting bucketheads shoes….

  • BUCKETHEAD

    slash is a really good gguitarist and no offence to him, but buckethead is too good for guns n roses, bucket is amazaing and he is awesome live, also he was asked to join ozzys new band if he took the bucket off but he refused.. lol