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The History of Michael Jackson & Buckethead

Good evening everybody, in today’s video we’ll take an extensive look at the history between the King of pop Michael Jackson and guitar hero Buckethead.
And if you’re Michael Jackson fan who’s unfamiliar with Buckethead, well, Buckethead is a former member of Guns N Roses, has released over 400 albums and is widely regarded among guitar enthusiasts as the guitar GOAT. Woo!

In 1989 it’s fair to say that Michael Jackson was one of the most famous and recognizable people on the planet. He had just released the iconic video for ‘Smooth Criminal’ and finished his record setting world tour ‘Bad’.
So it’s unsurprising that a Pre-Buckethead Brian Carroll listed Michael Jackson as an influence, when asked in a 1989 article for guitar player magazine.
In the article Carroll also listed Jennifer Batten as an influence, who was the lead guitarist for Jackson’s aforementioned ‘Bad’ tour.

Shortly after Brian Carroll became Buckethead and spent the next few years touring with his band the Deli Creeps. Whilst also releasing several solo and collaboration albums. Meanwhile Michael Jackson released his ‘Dangerous’ album followed by a world tour.
During the tour however, the first allegations of abuse were made against Jackson.

(Michael Jackson interview)
These statements made about me are totally false. I ask all of you to wait and here the truth before you label and condemn me. Don’t treat me like a criminal, because I am innocent!

Shortly after the allegation in a 1994 interview for guitar player magazine, Buckethead said he was “devastated by the fall from grace of his hero”. Further saying that:-
““It’s so tragic. He was the last innocent, someone that kids could trust and love. It makes Buckethead ten times more committed to helping kids have a good time in their imaginations. He doesn’t expect anyone to understand what he’s trying to do, but he wants the opportunity to have it done in the biggest, purest way he can”.

Incidentally Michael Jackson aforementioned ‘Dangerous’ album and world tour featured a guest appearance by the man who Buckethead would essentially replace in Guns n Roses many years later, Slash. It’s a small world.

The 1993 allegation against Michael Jackson was eventually settled out of court.
Then a decade later in December 2003, a second abuse allegation against Jackson was made.
Shortly after, whilst on tour, Buckethead began wearing a plastic Michael Jackson mask on stage whilst dancing to the classic song ‘Billie Jean’. And whilst it might seem like he was mocking Jackson, unlike Eminem later that year, Buckethead was simply showing his support of one of his biggest influences.  

Incidentally, the plastic Michael Jackson mask has since become somewhat of a collector’s item among Buckethead fans.  So if you’re interested in the origins of the mask, I’d recommend checking out these channels.

In June of 2005, Michael Jackson was acquitted of all charges in the second abuse case. One month later, in his first show since the trial ended, Buckethead showed his support by ending his shows with a guitar shred version of the classic song ‘Beat It’.

Beginning In 2008 Buckethead paid further homage to Jackson by wearing his signature armband during his live shows, seemingly to celebrate Jackson’s 50th birthday.
And In May of 2009 Buckethead released the album ‘A Real Diamond in the Rough’. The album featured the song ‘The Return of Captain EO’. Captain EO being the character Michael Jackson played in the 1986 movie of the same name.

Just under 2 months later on June 25th 2009, shortly before his 51st birthday, Michael Jackson passed away.
Two weeks later the homepage of Buckethead’s website paid tribute to Jackson with a sketch of the pop icon, along with a free downloadable track, The Homing Beacon (aka the Landing Beacon) Which would later feature on his 2012 album ‘Electric Sea’.

Buckethead would also pay numerous tributes to Jackson throughout the 2nd leg of his 2009 Tour.

(Magic Johnson talks at Michael Jackson’s funeral)
The chef brought me out the grilled chicken, but he bought Michael out a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. And I went crazy, like, “Michael, you eat Kentucky Fried Chicken?” That made my day. That was the greatest moment of my life.

In 2010 Buckethead released more tributes to Jackson, first with the song ‘Walk on the Moon’ from his album ‘Shadows between the Sky’.
And later in the year releasing his definitive tribute to michael Jackson with the album ‘Captain EO’s Voyage’.

Throughout his career, Buckethead has always shown support of Michael Jackson when others were quick to turn their back.
In many ways I’m sure Buckethead could relate to the life of Jackson. Whether it was through the love of music, Disneyland, the connection of being labelled as “weird” or the need for privacy whilst at the same time doing what you were born to do in front of thousands of people.

By now most of you have seen or heard about the recent documentary that came out about Michael Jackson. Whilst this video isn’t about that documentary, we all have our opinions about it. What I will say is that if you have watched it and formed a new opinion of Michael Jackson, then at the very least you should also check out several documentaries that came out afterwards. The fact is, only the people who were there know what really happened. The rest is just opinion.
What is for sure, is that Buckethead’s support of Michael Jackson has always remained a constant.
Perhaps if Michael Jackson had had more people like Buckethead by his side, then things would have turned out a lot different. And maybe we would have seen the ‘King of Pop’ and the ‘Guitar Hero’ on stage together, doing what they do best.

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