So what was the first project you did? I think it was Pieces?
Yeah that was 'Pieces'. Buckethead came with all his toys and ideas. That was a crazy one!
Crazy yeah! I love that album, it's so off-the-wall.
Yeha it's really off-the-wall and out there. That one was really fun. And for the photos he wanted to walk through the cemetery in Colma. Which is a town that has more dead people than alive. It's where all the cemetery and mausoleums are. We'd cruise around there and take photos.
And I think that Mausoleum footage he put it on his Secret Recipe DVD, where he's doing nun-chucks on graves.
Yes! Nun-chucks on the graves and taking naps on the grass.
You couldn't get away with that now!
Yeah you can't get away with anything anymore. Like all the fun stuff we used to do. Even just driving around and laughing at people and enjoying that they were freaks and weird looking. And we would laugh with them. But now people wouldn't be into it.
Yeah you'd be canceled straight away!
And you were on one of the first Death Cube K records I think? Maybe the first one?
I think it was the first one, the first Death Cube K one. I don't know how much of that I did. I remember I had a sample track. I would take a DAT machine and record stuff and I had this crazy concrete door closing in a basement in San Francisco. And it made the craziest sound. Like you were getting locked in a jail cell. And we used that and looped it. Buckethead loved it and then did his soundscapes on top of it.
Is that what it meant on the back of the album, where it says you were playing an 'Ambient Machete' Like what is an ambient machete?
(laughs) An ambient machete was something that Buckethead came up with. It was probably because of that sample noise. He loved it, he freaked out on it, saying like 'that's so heavy'.
What about the 'Colma' album? You mentioned that earlier. How did that album come about?
Buckethead wanted to do a prettier record, which he hadn't done at the time. A lighter acoustic sounding album. I said 'hey, why don't you play over Brains drum loops'. And he loved them. So I was in the studio and I'd play him loop 1 and he just started jamming over it.
I think that's one of his most popular albums too, I think because of the simplicity of it. I think that's why people like it.
Yeah it is super simple. That makes sense. It's one of my favorites of his. I was just lucky to be a part of it. And he grew so well with Brain that they could do it in their sleep.
And he was doing that album for his Mom who was ill at the time?
Yes that album was dedicated to his parents. I remember the songs 'For Mom' and 'Watching the Boats with my Dad'.
Heartfelt stuff right? That's why that album connected I think. Because he was deep into his feeling.
Just wearing it on his sleeve.
Yes, wearing it on his sleeve. I didn't meet his parents but I know they were great people and super special to him. Sad what happened to them in the last few years.
So you mentioned 'El Stew' earlier how did that come about because that was the same time as Monsters & Robots.
We should've kept going with that band!
That's what I said to Brain! It was such a good band, I don't know why it ended.
It ended too soon, I think we were all too crazy at the time to get it together. Looking back it wouldn't have been that difficult. That album we produced in Eddie Def's home studio. And he and I became good friends, because he's out of his band. And he's a superhero talent. Absolute genius. Eddie and I hung out that whole summer and then we laid the ground work with all these samples and beats. Then we asked Brain to play drums on them and then Brain asked Buckethead. And that became El Stew.
People liked that album, it made some noise in the DJ world with mixing and scratching. The one we were all together was when we were rehearsing for some live shows. I had this crappy little tape recorder and I just hit record and that became the El Stew Rehearsal album.
I love that album, the live one!
I know, everybody says that! Everyone likes that one the most because we had band chemistry. That one came out great and the live shows were great. We were planing on doing the next album like that. Just all of us in a room and jamming. It was gonna be great but it just didn't happen. There was just too many personal issues between some members.
The Justice league live show was crazy because that was out first show with zero rehearsal, not one bit. We just went on there and jammed. Its kind of a mess but still kinda rad.
A beautiful mess I would say.
Yeah a beautiful mess. It was goofy. The Slim's show was good and going forward it would've more like that.
So how did the Bermuda Triangle album come about because I think that's like yours and Buckethead's most famous one together.
Yes! The Bermuda Triangle. Buckethead knew I was a surfer and he liked the ocean and appreciated surfing but didn't do it himself. He was always fascinated by the documentaries he'd see on the Bermuda Triangle and how weird it was that ships would just sink and planes would crash. It was creepy and weird. And he said let's do something dark about the water. So it was dedicated to the Bermuda Triangle.
I think we did that for some Independent label, I can't remember.
It was called 'Catalyst'.
It was Catalyst? Okay, that was my older brothers label.
I also wondered who that label was because I could never find any information about it. I assumed it was like self-produced.
They call him Uncle Jon. (laughs) He dipped his toes into the music world for a while and got into gangster rap and signed some crazy rappers.
I assume that's the Jon Freeman on the credits.
I'm showing my crazy knowledge now.
You're blowing me away, man. You know everything, you're no joke!
Too much! Too much!
No, I think it's cool, man. Keep doing your thing. I think it's awesome.
And you mentioned 9/11, I think you were in the studio the day the attacks happened right?
Yeah! Oh my god. Right when we were recording the album, I remember we had a recording date. Like 'meet you at the studio at 11 in the morning'. And the attacks happened, I turned on the TV and saw what happened. I remember I called Buckethead and was like 'Do you wanna cancel today? I don't know if we're under attack or what's going on'. And he said 'Well, if the worlds gonna blow up I might as well be soloing' And I always remembered that quote.
Its funny because I made a video with that exact quote in the thumbnail.
How dd you know that quote? Did he say it another time?
I remember Catalyst put out a press release and it hat that quote on the bottom. And I always remembered that.
Oh it did? That was from me then. I just remembered that was the coolest thing that he said that. Like 'man, you're so right'. We don't know what's going on. And he played incredible that day. Obviously with him being so sensitive to the world and everything. He played and soloed amazing that day.
His solo's on that album are so good, to me they're some of his best I'd say. What are you favorite songs from that album?
I think I liked 'Bionic Fog' a lot. I loved that title. It was a dark creepy one and I was playing my Bass harmonics through the turntable clicker. And I used the clicker to make it choppy. And then Buckethead took it on his guitar and took it to a high level. Then I liked the one Brain played live drums on. It was more of a rock feel. Can't remember the name.
Flight 19 I think?
I think so yeah. I'm fond of that one. Then there's a real pretty one he played. You probably know it? Kind of a lighter sound.
Sea of Expanding Shapes?
Yeah I think so, I think that;s it. Whats your favorite?
I like Beestro Fowler!
Where did that name come from? Such a weird name.
That's one of Buckethead's titles. I don't know where he heard it. Probably a person in some movie. I'd love to know. I know there was a Fowler Falls. But I don't know.
He was a genius at putting words together. The song titles, he really is good at that. He works hard at that. Some were from me but most were from him.
Alright well big thanks for doing this interview, much appreciated. I've been a fan since Bermuda Triangle, much respect. Thank you very much.
Awesome! Thank you! Stay in touch buddy. Take care.
https://www.natternet.com/extrakd-talks-buckethead Interview Part 1
https://www.natternet.com/buckethead-beestro-fowler - Beestro Fowler Music Video