The History of Buckethead & his Touring Bands
Good evening everybody, today we're taking a deep dive into the history of guitar hero Buckethead and the many bands he's toured up and down the road with. And just to note, these only include bands that Buckethead was a fully fledged member of and don't include pre-bucket Buckethead or guest appearances. So, let's begin. Woo!!
Deli Creeps (Toured 1989 - 2005)
Buckethead's first recognized band was the infamous 'Deli Creeps'. Formed with High School friend Maximum Bob on vocals, Tony Black on Bass and Pinchface on drums. The band began touring in their native LA in 1989 when Buckethead was 20 years old, before racking up numerous gigs and honing their craft in the San Francisco area throughout 1990 and 91. The band would part ways in late 91, but reconnect several times over the years, in 95, 96, 03 and finally in 2005 to coincide with their first and only studio album 'Dawn of the Deli Creeps' to go along with their three, arguably superior Demo Tapes.
PRAXIS (Toured 1995 - 2006)
In late 1991 after his first departure from the Deli Creeps, Buckethead would join the supergroup 'Praxis'. Formed by Grammy award winning producer and bassist Bill Laswell, the band first began touring in 1995 with Laswell on bass, DJ Disk on Turntables and original member Bryan 'Brain' Mantia on drums.
The band would release a handful of studio albums along with several live albums, and tour sporadically throughout 1995 to 2005 (96, 97, 98, 2000, 04, 05) and would play their final gig October 28th 2006 at the Vegoose festival in Las Vegas.
Whilst the band saw a revolving door of musicians for their many studio albums, their most revered on stage line-up consisted of core-members Buckethead, Bill Laswell, Brain and Funk legend, the late great Bernie Worrell on keyboards. Long live Praxis.
Giant Robot (Toured 1996 & 2004)
In late 1995 Buckethead along with Praxis member and best friend 'Brain' as well as future BAFTA award winning producer Pete Scaturro, would form the 3 piece band 'Giant Robot'. Named after Buckethead's favourite TV show of the 1960's, the band would play a handful of gigs throughout 1996 to promote their now classic and super rare album, Giant Robot NTT.
Giant Robot II (1997-1998)
In 1997 after the first incarnation of the Giant Robot band, Buckethead would form Giant Robot II. The band saw Buckethead reconnecting with Deli Creeps drummer Pinchface, Praxis alumni DJ Disk and bass player Lou. The band toured fairly consistently throughout 1997 to mid 1998 including a 4 date European tour in promotion of one Buckethead's most highly acclaimed album 'Colma'.
Devil Dub (1999)
1999 would see Buckethead make appearances in a handful of short lived bands, the first being Ben Wa. Fronted by ex-Limbomanics vocalist 'House', the band consisted once again of DJ Disk and Brain, as well as MIRV on guitar and programmer Dr Ware. The band would only make one live appearance, a release party on January 29th 1999 for their highly underrated trip hop album 'Devil Dub'.
El Stew (1999)
Even though Ben Wa can be regarded as a guest appearance by Buckethead it's worth mentioning as several members of the band would branch off to form their own band that year 'El Stew'. Featuring Buckethead, Brain, DJ Disk, Turntabilist and scratcher Eddie Def and bassist and producer 'Extrakd'. The band would perform twice in 1999 releasing their underrated debut album 'No Hesitation' later followed by the excellent 'Rehearsal' album a few years later.
Guns N Roses (2000-2004)
Later in 1999 after a successful guest appearance spot for Les Claypool's 'Primus' on the Ozzfest tour and the release of his album 'Monsters & Robots', Buckethead caught the eye of a certain Axl Rose. After a meeting at Axl's home on Christmas Day 1999, Buckethead would officially join one of the most famous rock bands of all time, Guns N Roses.
The band would see numerous line-ups, but the Buckethead incarnation of the band featured Buckethead, Axl Rose, Robin Fink, Tommy Stinson, Richard Fortus and familiar face, Brain.
Plagued by delays and cancellations, the band would only play just over two dozen shows, with Buckethead understandably leaving the band in 2004.
4 years after Buckethead's departure GnR released the album 'Chinese Democracy', which by all accounts, was completed within the first 10 months of Buckethead's arrival in 2000.
Hook and Pull Gang (2000)
Whilst in GnR Buckethead was still involved in numerous projects including reconnecting with Deli Creeps frontman Maximum Bob in mid-2000 to form the short-lived 'Hook and Pull Gang'. The band played less than a handful of times in the LA area and was essentially the Deli Creeps without Pinchface on drums.
Later in 2000 Buckethead would be part of the band 'Moonraker', with DJ Flare on turntables and 'Faith No Mores' Mike Patton on vocals. At the time Patton was performing one night only shows with various members and the project was never intended to go beyond the one night. Performing on December 18th 2000 in LA to good reviews, the performance is memorable for being the only outing of Buckethead's double neck Jackson guitar.
Colonel Claypools Bucket of Bernie Brains (2002)
In 2002 the previously mentioned supergroup Praxis were set to perform at the Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee. However when founding member Bill Laswell was unable to perform, Primus frontman Les Claypool stepped in and alongside Buckethead, Bernie Worrell and Brain formed a new supergroup
'Colonel Claypools Bucket of Bernie Brains', also know as C2B3.
The get together would lead to a handful of shows in 02 and 03, and a 3 month tour in 2004 to coincide with the release of their one and only studio album 'The Big Eyeball in the Sky'.
Giant Robot (Toured 2004 & 1996)
In 2004 Buckethead would reform The Giant Robot band with Brain back on drums and bassist and ex-Limbomaniacs member 'House' taking over duties from original member Pete Scaturro. The band played less than 2 dozen excellent shows including a a particularly memorable show at the Mystic Theatre in California, with their final appearance occurring at Japan's Fuji Rock festival
Buckethead, Pinchface & Dan Monti (2005-2006, 2011)
In 2005 and 2006 Buckethead would hit the road largely in promotion of his album 'Enter the Chicken' backed by the return of Deli Creeps drummer Pinchface and bassist and producer Dan Monti aka Brewer.
Together the 3 piece band would play close to a hundred shows,which is more shows than Buckethead played with Guns N Roses, Praxis and C2B3 combined. Even reconnecting in 2011 for a handful of shows. Despite this, the band never had an official name or released an album as a 3 piece. And with only Buckethead's name on the marquee is often seen as a backing band for Buckethead, rather than a fully fledged band. Still, based on the amount of shows, it's Buckethead's longest touring band.
That 1 Guy (2006, 2008, 2012)
Whilst touring with Pinchface and Dan Monti, Buckethead was occasionally joined onstage in 2006 by one man band, That 1 Guy and his magic pipe instrument. Buckethead and That 1 Guy would later form the band 'The Frankenstein Brothers' and release the album 'Bolt on Neck'. They would tour in 2008 to promote the album and reconnect again in 2012 for a number of shows with That 1 Guy often being the support act, later joining Buckethead onstage at the end of a set.
Touring Hiatus (2012-2015, return 2016)
From 2012 to 2016 Buckethead would go on a 4 year hiatus from touring due to several reoccurring back issues, returning to the road in mid 2016 to complete one of his longest solo tours, clocking up almost 70 shows.
Buckethead, Brain & Brewer (2017)
Then in the fall of 2017 Buckethead would once again reconnect with longtime friend and bandmate Bryan 'Brain' Mantia, along with Pike album co-writer and producer Dan 'Brewer' Monti for almost 2 dozen shows as Buckethead, Brain & Brewer. With the shows sparking many nostalgic moments from the earlier days of Praxis and Giant Robot. To date this is Buckethead's final touring band, with him returning as a solo act in 2018 and 19.
So from the Deli Creeps to Praxis to Guns N Roses and more, Buckethead has been in a range of diverse bands and shined in all of them. What was Buckethead's greatest touring band? Well, that's up for debate. And who knows maybe the best is yet to come? One thing is for certain, as history has shown, whatever band Buckethead is in, it'll be bloody glorious!