Buckethead Rewind – Year in Review 2021
Good evening everybody, 2021 is a wrap, the world is still falling apart but Bucketheadland is alive and well. So, let's take a look back at Buckethead's 2021, a year in review. Woo!!
(1)Pike 287 'Electrum' (Feb 28th – Digital/ June 30th - Physical)
(2)Pike 288 'Liminal Monorail' (Feb 28th – Digital/ June 30th - Physical)
First up, Buckethead's glorious Pike album series was in full swing once again with the release of 12 Pike albums in 2021. With Pikes 287 and 288 dropping the same day in late February along with hand drawn cover art each sold for a cool $1000.
These Pike releases dropped out of sequence, skipping the still yet to be released Pikes 285 and 286. Which for those new to Bucketheadland is completely normal and has been this way since the very beginning, with even Pike 3 dropping before Pike 1. Welcome to Bucketheadland.
(3)Pike 291 'Fogray' (April 9th – Digital / June 30th - Physical)
Just over 1 month later Pike 291 'Fogray' became the 3rd Pike release of the year, once again with a custom painting used and sold as cover art, a trend that would continue throughout the year. And once again released out of sequence, skipping the yet to be released Pike 289 and 290.
(4)Pike 292 'Galaxies' (May 29th – Digital / Sept 18th - Physical)
Pike 292 'Galaxies' would follow just over a month and half later, becoming one of the more popular Pike releases of the year, with the 24 minute title track 'Galaxies' and the riff laden 'Domain of the Air'.
(5)Pike 293 'Oven Mitts' (July 9th – Digital / Sept 20th - Physical)
(6)Pike 294 'Warp Threads' (July 12th – Digital / Sept 20th - Physical)
July 2021 would see the release of 2 more Pikes, Pikes 293 'Oven Mitts' and Pike 294 'Warp Threads'. These would be the first Live album releases of the entire Pike series, showcasing some of the classics such as 'Soothsayer' 'Jordan' and 'Nottingham Lace'.
For me personally, I would've preferred them to be released separate to the Pike series and also feel that the quality of Buckethead's previous live album 'Live in Bucketheadland' was far far superior. Still, they are what they are and I'm glad they exist.
(7)Pike 296 – 'Ghouls of the Graves' (Oct 21 – Digital /
(8)Pike 297 – 'Fork' (Nov 3 – Digital /
It would be 3 months until the next Pike release, with Pike 296 the gloriously titled 'Ghouls of the Graves'.
This was followed 2 weeks later with Pike 297 'Fork'. Which is about as close as an AC/DC tribute album you'll get. Buckethead was clearly on an AC/DC vibe at this time as a few weeks prior he posted an old photo from 2000 on his website of himself with the band. Fork yeah!
(9)Pike 298 – 'Robes of Citrine' (Nov 11 – Digital /
Pike 297 'Fork' would be followed a week later by Pike 298 'Robes of Citrine'. And for those who don't know, including myself at the time, Citrine is a stone or crystal thats said to bring about a more positive vibe and energy. And is the centerpiece of the movie 'Women Wonder 1984'. Hmm.
(10)Pike 299 – 'Thought Pond' (Nov 27 – Digital /
The 10th Pike release of the year dropped 2 weeks later, with Pike 299 'Thought Pond'. A 5 track album packed with riffs and one of the standout Buckethead albums of the year.
(11)Pike 300 – Quarry (December 16th – Digital)
The 11th Pike release was the monumental milestone, Pike 300 'Quarry'. Like the previous Pike, another riff driven, 5 track release.
(12)Pike 301 – The Chariot of Saturn (December 18th – Digital
And if you thought Buckethead was gonna sit back and let Pike 300 take a breath, nope, 2 days later the final Pike of 2021 dropped with Pike 301 'The Chariot of Saturn' a 27 minute one track epic. Glorious.
(No Guitar Solos)
So with 12 album releases, 10 of those featuring new music, one that thing was clearly apparent with 2021's Pike releases was that Buckethead focused more on riffs, rhythm and composition rather than guitar solos. In fact, other than the live albums, there was no solos at all.
Now theres no doubt that a bunch of songs needed a solo which would've improved the song, but if they didn't have them, then that's just how it is. But the constant rants and endless whining from people in the comments section, album after album gets really old, really fast. Especially when its coming from people who don't and never have purchased a single Buckethead album.
Buckethead does whatever Buckethead wants to do. And I'm sure when those blistering solo's return, so will those same entitled fans ready to jump back on the Buckethead band wagon. Rant over.
(Other releases & delays)
2021 also saw more music releases from Buckethead besides the Pike albums, including a compilation of older tracks by Buckethead & Viggo Mortensen for the 'Falling' movie soundtrack and 8 bass jamming tracks titled 'Jamoutz', which were inspired by and released the same week as 'Space Jam 2' starring Lebron James. Who, as we know, Buckethead is a big fan of. As well as original 'Space Jam' actor Michael Jordan.
April saw the announcement and pre-release of the 'Haunted Horror Sounds of Bucketheadland' scheduled for October 2021 release but subsequently delayed a year until October 2022. More than likely this will be a Halloween Pike album style release, full of dark ambient wedges.
Another delay was the Pamela Colman-Smith 78 song tarot card project, first announced in September 2020 and delayed several times with a new release date of October 2022. The delay wasn't really much of a surprise to fans, as the project seems highly ambitious and a huge task to take on whilst also continuing to release Pike albums.
And speaking of Pike albums, they were also recently made available in cassette form. Who said cassette tapes were dead aye?
(Buckethead's Website/ Toystore Return/ Halloween in May/ Sketchbooks/ Park Items)
With touring in 2021 still being a little bit shady Buckethead picked up where he left off in 2020 with numerous releases of unseen video clips, with the most memorable being of him walking somewhere underground dressed as Michael Myers to coincide with the new 'Halloween Kills' movie release. Nice.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of 2021 in Bucketheadland was the return of 'Buckethead's Toystore' after more than a decade. Official merchandise began dropping thick and fast from shirts, posters, signed 8x10's and stickers. Later being joined by a 'Halloween in May' section selling similar items, a sketchbook section, selling used sketchbooks, and then a 'Park Items' section selling 'Welcome to Bucketheadland' art pieces, blocks and chickens, some with the ultra rare Buckethead self-portrait. Glorious.
(Artwork - Paintings & Canvas Cards)
Then of course, there's Buckethead's paintings and canvas cards. Besides the previously mentioned Pike album cover artwork, from January right through to December, there wasn't a single month of the year where Buckethead didn't release artwork. Releasing over 700 canvas cards and over 1000 original paintings. Which is by far the most artwork Buckethead has ever released in a single year, averaging about 4.5 pieces of artwork a day.
So with 10 new Pike album releases, 2 live albums, the return of Buckethead's toystore with a ton of merch and almost 2000 pieces of artwork released. Bucketheadland in 2021 was pretty glorious and pretty active. Bucketheadland 2021, the year of activity.