Where did the name Extrakd come from?
Extrakd came from the El Stew era. I was hanging around DJ Disk who was the scratcher In the band, And he said 'we gotta get you a name'. So we were reading the back of a cereal box and it said 'Extract' and we said 'thats it!'
What was your first impressions of Bryan 'Brain' Mantia?
I know of him from the Limbomaniacs band. I saw them live, so I knew he was a monster (great) player but I didn't know he was such a cool person. He's a great teacher and I just think he's one of the monsters (greatest).
I agree, I agree.
You've done a couple of podcasts with him right?
Yeah a few, nicest guy in the world.
Totally! Super cool guy.
Was it through Brain that you met Buckethead?
It was. He did the Praxis album and then Brain introduced me to Bill Laswell and Buckethead was there. And that's how I met Buckethead. And then I was lucky enough to have a good time with him and really good memories of hanging out with him, having fun and making great music.
So, was he as Buckethead when you met him or Brian?
He was Buckethead when I met him. And whenever I'd have a video camera he'd be Buckethead. And we'd eat pizza and cruise around. I always called him Buckethead, I don't think I ever called him Brian. An incredibly talented dude. I liked his mind frame how he approached things.
What was your first impression of him, shy and quiet?
Super shy and quiet. And funny, with a great sense of humor.
A bit of dark humor?
Yes! Dark humor and a funny way of talking. He grew up in Southern California around the surfer scene. So we'd make fun of that. I'd show him surf magazines and he'd always pick out the weirdest looking guy who'd look like a skeleton and he'd say 'look at that freak!'. He was more into the off-the-wall guys than the marquee guys.
Brain probably told you this but we would drive around and people watch. And we'd get off on it. Like 'look at that guy!' 'Look at that freak'. He was incredible for that, just endless entertainment.
We used to watch a lot of Jimi Hendrix videos because I was really into him. And it was on TV the other day, the Rainbow Bridge live in Maui. And it shows this surfer dude doing this face imitating Jimi during 'Foxy Lady' and we used to watch that and pause it and say 'Look at that guy!'. So I saw it the other day and thought of Buckethead.
Did he ever talk about Guns N Roses when he was with you? Because when you were making 'Bermuda Triangle' is when he joined the band.
Yeah, he did. I remember when he was learning the parts he was in out studio and he'd play 'Welcome to the Jungle' and i'd be like 'oh, that's how thats played'. So that was cool. He was saying how Axl Rose was a freak and that he loved that he was this intense freak and that he gave him this doll. So he liked all that. I think he was super excited about it in the beginning.
And then who knows what happened.
Yeah, you'd have to ask him someday. I think the beginning expectations of it being great, hanging out with Axl, getting the doll and all the rad stuff was positive. And how Axl was this intense freak and how Buckethead loved that. But then something else happened after that and It just didn't work out.
Thoughts on Buckethead being reclusive?
He was such a pure artist that he would get worn down by a lot of things. I think he felt emotion more than most people. He never had his armor up from normal problems. It would get to him more than others. He tried to protect himself and he wanted to be around his friend, which we all were, but his circle just got smaller and smaller over the years. And then with the health problems and loss of his parents he just has 2 or 3 friends that he hangs out with and feels good with.
I would love to see him again. Brain talks to him now and again.
Thoughts on Buckethead not doing social media?
I think Brain and those guys weren't into it because they thought it was cheesy and corny. But with Buckethead it's guys like you, real fans that care and like everything he does and share it on message boards and in Youtube videos to keep him going.
Yeah, and just share it everywhere.
Yeah! Share it all around. I think its awesome.
You mentioned Bill Laswell earlier, what was it like meeting Bill?
Bill is the main guy, he puts it all together. He hired me for a bunch of stuff and he is like the lighthouse that connected us all, even to this day.
Did you meet Bootsy Collins?
I never got to meet Bootsy. Bootsy and Buckethead have that special bond, right? They're connected. I never met him but since I play Bass guitar he's one of me heroes.
What did you do with Buckethead & Brain when not recording?
My favourte thing to do was surf but they wouldn't Buckethead was mostly watching old horror videos, Jimi Hendrix and old documentaries. We would watch them and trip out and get inspirtaion from them or sample them. That was really fun to do. And of course walking around the streets and going into pawn shops and getting weird things. And of course we'd get Zacks Pizza, that was Buckethead;s favorite thing to eat. It was usually that. Crusing around, people watching and then getting to work.
After recording him all day I;d go home and try to go to bed and I'd hear these noises in my head all night. Just 10 hours of his insane rollercoaster sounds. He's a machine!
Did you ever go with him to these amusement parks or roller coasters?
No, I missed all that. I missed going to Disneyland with him. And I've probably gone about 20 times with my kids. We would go once a year and I always thought of Buckethead, like 'hey, I'll meet you on the Haunted Mansion'. I'd always look for him, like 'where is that guy?'.
Last time we hung out my kids were 3 and 4 and he'd play guitar for them. And he'd play and they'd be shocked by his hands looking weird and like spiders. And he's good with kids, he likes how they're pure and into creative things.
Last time I saw him was 2017, when he was playing with Brain and Dan Monti in Santa Cruz. I went and watched him, they were incredible. But I didn't get to talk to him. I couldn't go see him or hang out, it was sort of like, it couldn't happen at that time. I really did wanna reconnect with him. Hopefully he'll reconnect. That's what I'm hopeful for.
Thoughts on the El Stew reunion and the new Mars Mechanics album?
2 years ago we were talking to a few people and I think Buckethead was gonna be involved but some people were into it and some weren't, so we went in another direction which was the Mars Mechanics band.
I was listening to the album yesterday funnily enough. Great album!
Oh, you've heard it already? Beautiful!
I love 'Hair of the Dog' thats my favorite!
Oh yeah the slow sad one.
That's Mirv Haggard playing, right?
Yeah that's Mirv, Brain and I. We released it yesterday so that's awesome you heard it that fast. Its inspired by Frank Zappa, it kinda of a guitar album. Buckethead could;ve been on it if he wanted to. But me, Mirv and Brain have good chemistry. So we're really happy.
Mirv is top notch on that album!
He's so top notch, truly one of the most incredible players.
I don't know if you but Buckethead shared that last week on his website about how Mirv is one of the greatest guitar players.
Wow, that's cool! I'll let Mirv know that. And he is! They used to know eachother in the 1990's and shared the stage. Mirv is another genius. And it's funny on that song 'Hair of the Dog' Mirv had an outtake solo that was more soulful, emotional and less Zappa-like. So we had the two versions. So maybe i'll do a second mix one day.
So where did the name Mars Mechanics come from.
Mirv's daughter, she's 12 years old. We were playing her some of the sounds from the first album and she said 'it sounds like you're mechanics working in Mars. And he texted us and said what do you think of that name? And we laughed and said 'yes, let's do it!'.
Where did the album cover come from? The weird hot-dog.
<haha> the floating hot-dog. We had a couple of different options. Mirv is good at art and he had this freaky looking robot which was cool but kinda scary, futuristic and weird. And then he said 'I also have this one' and it was a hot-dog with mustard on it, a play on the name Frank and Frankfurter I guess. We're goofballs, we just wanted to be goofy.
I listened to the podcast you dd with Brain and I thought it was so cool that you had fan questions. I mean, I don't have fans like that. That was cool. You did a great job with that. It was fun for Brain and you had a funny question about 'who's the rapper Bobafett?'. And that was my friend since childhood who was hanging out with us in the studio that day. And that stumped Brain, he thought it was Islam Shabaz and that made me laugh. But it was Nate.
(from the Brain Interview)
Nate aka Bobesett aka Tree.
Oh wow! Oh no, that was Nate. That was Extrakd's friend.