The History of Buckethead & Praxis
Good evening everybody, today we're gonna take an in-depth look at what was arguably the best band that Buckethead was ever a part of, Praxis. So, let's begin. Woo!!
First formed in 1984, Praxis was the name given to the 15 minute EP of founder, bassist, producer and all around musical genius, Bill Laswell.
Laswell would revive the name 8 years later, incorporating all aspects and genres of music to form the ever-changing Praxis band. Then featuring funk legends Bootsy Collins & Bernie Worrell, DJ Af man flip, drummer Brain & some up and coming guitarist by the name of Buckethead.
(Praxis – Transmutation 1992, September 8th)
In late 1992 the band released their debut album titled 'Transmutation', and by the very definition of the word Praxis, which basically means a collection of ideas coming together, the formation and end result of the album was glorious.
From start to finish, Transmutation is a musical masterpiece, where ever member of the band has their moment to shine. Spawning much loved songs such as 'Animal Behavior' 'Crash Victim' 'Seven Laws of Woo' and fan favorite 'Interworld and the New Innocence'.
(Praxis – Sacrifist 1993, December)
The band returned a year later with their 2nd album 'Sacrifist' and to say it went in a slightly different direction would be an understatement.
The band went from having 6 to 11 members, and the long instrumental jams and melodies were replaced with speed metal and screaming vocals.
Although the album does have its moments like the excellent groove on the song 'The Hook' and the headbanging riffs of 'Rivet' and 'Nine Secrets' overall it's a far cry from the superior 'Transmutation'.
(Praxis – Metatron 1994, August 12th)
One year later Praxis returned with their 3rd album 'Metatron', stripped down to its three core members of Bill Laswell, Brain and Buckethead.
As mentioned in our recent interview with Brain, Metatron was first constructed by him & Buckethead before being sent over to Bill Laswell who then added extra bass and samples.
Unlike the previous album 'Sacrifist' 'Metatron' leaned more towards 'Transmutation' with extended jams, solo's and riff's. Album stand outs include the much loved 'Meta-Matic' and 'Turbine', the annoyingly addictive 'Armed TSA Agent #5' 'Warm Time Machine' and the Death Cube K esque 'Double Vision'.
(June 21st 1996 – Zurich Switzerland Festival (Praxis Zurich album) / Transmutation Live album)
(June 29th 1996 – Praxis Warsawa album/ Jazz a go go magazine (Praxis Live in Poland)
From 1995 to 1998 the Praxis trio of Buckethead, Brain & Bill Laswell along with DJ Disk performed a handful of live shows under the Praxis moniker, some of which were later released on CD.
Including June 21st 1996 in Zurich Switzerland, released as 'Transmutation live' and 'Praxis Zurich'.
And June 29th 1996 in Warsaw Poland, released as 'Praxis Warzsawa' and as a now rare pull-out CD in the Jazz-a-go-go magazine.
(Mold – Praxis 1998)
In Late 1998 the album 'Mold' was released by Bill Laswell under the Praxis name with none of the original members of the line-up included. Although a decent album, at that point, a Praxis album without Buckethead or Brain just wasn't Praxis. Making the album somewhat of a forgotten “Praxis” release.
(Tennesse 2004, Bonnaroo Festival June 12th 2004)
The band would later release another live album 'Tennessee 2004'.
Recorded at the Bonnaroo festival in June 2004, the 2.5 hour live performance from Buckethead, Brain, Bill Laswell & Bernie Worrell was arguably the best the band ever did and their best ever live release.
Incorporating Buckethead favourites into the set-list like 'Night of the Slunk' 'Big Sur Moon' an early version of the classic 'Jordan', an excellent cover of Jimi Hendrix's 'Machine Gun' and a glorious rendition of 'Maggot Brain', which unfortunately didn't make it on the CD. But still, outstanding.
Throughout the next few years, the band made several more live appearances, notably the Fuji rock festival in Japan, the PBS TV special in Chicago and their final live performance at the Vegoose festival in Las Vegas in 2006.
(Profanation, Preparation for a Coming Darkness - Praxis 2008)
In 2008 Praxis released what would be their final studio album, Profanation.
Alongside the core members of the band was guest vocal appearances from the likes of 'Faith no mores' Mike Patton, System of a Down's Serj Tankian , Buckethead's ex-Deli Creeps band-mate Maximum Bob & Iggy Pop.
A more commercial sounding album, the standout songs include Galaxies, the head-banging 'Sulfur and Cheese', 'Worship' and the my personal favorite from the album, the excellent 'Endtime'.
(Sound Virus – 2015 Praxis)
In 2011 when asked about the future of the band, Praxis founder Bill Laswell stated that it was a “closed chapter”. Later releasing a collection of reworked and remastered songs on the 2015 album 'Sound Virus'.
On June 24th 2016, original Praxis member Bernie Worrell passed away at the age of 72.
Just two months prior Buckethead performed alongside his friend at a benefit concert in aid of the funk legend, and just two weeks before his passing Bernie and longtime friend Bill Laswell released the album 'Funkcronomic'. Thank you, Bernie Worrell.
(Praxis Live at Slim's 9/20/98)
And then on November 5th of this year, one month after this channel released never-before-seen 22 year old footage from Praxis live at Slim's in 1998, Bill Laswell released the mastered audio of the very same show.
While Praxis went through many phases and different faces, there's no question that their debut album 'Transmutation' was the band at their absolute finest.
And when the core members of Buckethead, Brain, Bill Laswell & Bernie Worrell performed live, there was very few who could ever come close to their chemistry and more importantly, their delivery. So, thank you Praxis, a real supergroup.