For a long time now, a lot of you have been clamoring for us to add Buckethead to The Weird List. “He wears a KFC bucket and a mask!” you said. “He’s made albums in nearly every genre of music!” you cried. “He robot dances with nunchucks!” you declared. “He grew up in a chicken coop!” you insisted. We’re pretty sure that last part isn’t true, but that wasn’t what deterred us from adding him until now. No, it was more that most of his music, from what we could tell, wasn’t actually all that weird. I mean, yes, there’s a hell of a lot of it, and his guitar playing throughout is masterful and occasionally mind-blowing. But most of it seems to sound like this. Or this. Or sometimes this. It can be trippy in a Floyd/Zappa sorta way, but it’s not like, “Oh my God, that’s the craziest shit I ever heard!”
But OK, fine, Ian Frost, Bassbait and the eight gajillion other readers who keep writing us like, “No, but wait, you’ve got to hear this one track…” For all your sakes, we finally went on a Buckethead bender and managed to unearth some truly weird shit from his truly gargantuan catalog. (Seriously, dude needs an editor.)
Let’s start with a live video that showcases his mad skills on the six string, not to mention some of the craziest guitar effects we’ve heard in awhile. It starts off as a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” but Buckethead goes off on his own wild tangents pretty quickly:
Next up: a creepy/silly video he made with System of a Down’s Serj Tankian, featuring reanimated taxidermy experiments gone horribly awry. (Side note: Taxidermy is supposedly an actual hobby of Buckethead’s. Of course it is. Also: None of you, in trying to convince us of Buckethead’s weirdness, ever thought to send us this video? Really?)
And finally, because it’s the Fourth of July, we leave you with the craziest Buckethead project of all: a collaboration with the actor Viggo Mortensen called “Pandemoniumfromamerica,” in which Mortensen intones excerpts from William Blake’s epic poem, “America a Prophecy,” which includes lines like, “His plagues obedient to his voice flew forth out of their clouds/Falling upon America, as a storm to cut them off/As a blight cuts the tender corn when it begins to appear.” Happy birthday, America!