Catalyst Records press release 2003, featuring words from with Buckethead & Extrakd.
Catalyst Records was owned/run by the brother of Extrakd, Jon Freeman. Jon is a real estate investor and currently works with Bryan 'Brain' Mantia & Melissa Reese on their musical projects.
“Buckethead is one of the most bizarre and enigmatic figures in American underground and experimental music” (All Music Guide)
“He represents the future of the guitar” (Bill Laswell)
“A mutant virtuoso, a complete freak of nature” (Extrakd)
One of today's most gifted guitarists, whose rare combination of wondrous imagination and technical dexterity has earned him acclaim as a contemporary innovator. Buckethead is a genuine guitar hero. Though some may now know him as a new lead guitarist in Guns N Roses, to others his amazing skills and unique style had already elevated him to mythic stature.
On stage he wears a Michael Myers-style mask on his face and an inverted KFC bucket on his head. On occasion, he will exercise with nunchucks or a stunning display of pop-and-lock dancing. In the recording studio, he performs his mega-fast arpeggios-which tell stories rather than just try to impress in a chicken coop (seriously).
Off stage he obsesses over Disneyland, which he has visited over 500 times, and never consents to in-person interviews, instead communicating via e-mail. Mysterious and playful, his inspired vision extends to the creation of a bizarro Disneyland dubbed Bucketheadland. But, eccentricities aside, Buckethead can truly be discovered in his music – mixing metallic guitar with funk, hip-hop, electronica, ambient, industrial and computer effects, all often inspired by horror/sci-fi movies.
Buckethead's 'Bermuda Triangle' album, released summer 2002, his 11th solo album, is an instrumental underground hip-hop/electro-funk fantasia. A collaboration with Extrakd, who produced his well received album “Colma” (1998) and “Monsters and Robots” (1999). Bermuda Triangle is the water slide in the theme park that is Buckethead.
“Extrakd made these beat colllages” writes Bucketheads buddy Herbie, “and the mixed them with his sampler and the guitar improvising over them”. Yet, perhaps surprisingly, there are no extended songs on 'Bermuda Triangle'. Amid the shred/metal chaos-by-design, off-the-wall tonal runs, heavy power chords and delicate melodies, the pop-sized songs reflect a more punk aesthetic than his previous work. The album was also recorded decidedly lo-fi with no protools or two-inch tape, just a portable Roland eight track. Extrakd played most of the bass, Brain (Praxis, Limbomaniacs, Primus) played drums on one track. Every few weeks, Buckethead traveled from hometown Los Angeles to Extrakd's San Francisco Bay Area studio to record-including on September 11.
“We didn't know if we should record or not” writes Extrakd, “but the song '911' was created that day and you can hear it in the song, a mournful, melancholy feeling”. Herbies adds “Buckethead figured if the world was going to blow up, he might as well be soloin”.
As for the album title, Buckethead is fascinated with the Bermuda Triangle and all things aqua. “Part of the creative process for us was to drive around the Bay area and take in the people and sight for inspiration” Extrakd adds. “we both really love water so we drove around and experienced some cool stuff. This album to me is like an underwater graveyard”.
“He is insane and so is his work ethic” notes Extrakd (aka Wurd aka Steve Freeman).
As a teenager, he was part of the notorious Deli Creeps. In 1989, at age 19, a home video of him playing earned a gig as a regular contributing writer for Guitar Player magazine.
In 1992, bassist/producer Bill Laswell and P-Funk legend Bootsy Collins learned of Buckethead from Bryan 'Brain' Mantia. Bill, Buckethead, Bootsy, Brain and Bernie Worrell plus AF Next Man Flip then formed the band Praxis, which debuted with the album 'Transmutation'. Praxis has since released a series of celebrated disks. Laswell has also produced a number of Buckethead albums. That same year, Buckethead released his debut solo album 'Bucketheadland', produced by Bootsy for John Zorn's Avant imprint. In 1994, he released 'Giant Robot' and one as 'Death Cube K' (an anagram of Buckethead) called 'Dreamatorium'. 'Disembodied' (1997) and 'Tunnel' in 2001 have followed that pseudonym.
Another Buckethead album 'Day of the Robot' appeared in 1996 prior to the mellower 'Colma', resurgent 'Monsters and Robots' and 2001 endeavors 'Some Where Over the Slaughterhouse' and 'KFC Skin Piles'.
Along the way, he's also participated in bands 'Giant Robot' 'Axiom Funk' 'Zillatron' 'Cobra Strike' 'Icehouse' 'Arcana' 'Phonosycograph Disk' 'Banyan' 'Thanatopsis' 'Cornbugs' and 'El Stew' (with Extrakd, Brain and Djs Eddie Def and DJ Disk) as well as projects from Iggy Pop, George Clinton, Laswell, Worrell, Viggo Mortensen, Anton Fier, Jonas Hellborg, Hakim Bay, DJ Q-Bert, Henry Kaiser and some others. Guesting with Primus, he performed at Ozzfest in 1999. Buckethead has also been on the soundtracks to 'Last Action Hero' 'Mortal Kombat' 'Might Morphin Power Rangers' 'Beverly Hills Ninja' 'Mortal Kombat Annihilation' 'Stealing Beauty' and 'Ghosts of Mars'.
At a 1999 Christmas party at Axl Rose's house, the Guns N Roses leader, whom he had never met before, presented Buckethead with a gift – a Leatherface doll no one else had given him. Buckethead joined the band the next year. To Buckethead, his music, in whatever venue, is all part of his journey.
“It is all music made for rides” writes Herbie, “It will be interesting to see where this ride goes”.