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Buckethead, my Brother... Groove on

By Spoiks
Jimineee Crickets, a bitch has to marvel a bit at the guitar shredding, trip hop clonin', chicken strangling, GIANT ROBOT lovin' visage of Buckethead, especially with his 1999 Cyberoctave release Monsters and Robots. As a guitar ripper of the Yngview Malmsteen school of plectrum swinging, Buckethead effectively sidestepped the grunge backlash against musical competency by doing two things: 1) Combining his heavy metal shred with emerging musical forms such as techno and ambient music and 2) Wearing a bucket on his head (possibly the reason for his nom de guer) and a Mike Meyers mask on his mug (Halloween, not Austin Powers) keeping his identity a secret. (One is forced to muse that with his Asian pop culture iconography whether or not Buckethead is a full fledge japper himself, one of the dirge of metal protegees the Island nation bred in the late eighties. (Remember LOUDNESS? "Are wu leady to lock!!!?)

But shred metal had got boring about two minutes before it was created - Buckethead recognized that - thus his music: Atonal shriek fests that bring to mind Mr. Bungle and the bleepin' Star Trek mainframe, are so refreshing. They escape the mundane masturbation of post Eddie guitar heroes solo albums while at the same time livening the usually repetitive school of trance electronica with some testicles. Buckethead may lull you to sleep to sleep, but when you wake you'll be covered in blood and puss from the wet dream you had.

And you can't help but love the Asian pop-culture semantics Buckethead utilizes. A cross between Godzilla, Giant Robot, Manga and cyber-punk, Buckethead recognizes that's it's just as important to align yourself with a cutting edge sect of today's "now" generation as it is to whip out 64th notes on a Flying V clone. And, as any wise minister of culture can predict, this Asian/American transmutation thing. it's gonna be big baby. Bigger than Elvis, and BH is rightly positioned to take advantage of the whole schebang. If anything, 2000 will be about mixing your abc's with your hiragana and your Eddie Bauer with your Hello Kitty. 50 years ago, America sent their youth scene over with the Enola Gay, and since then it's been percolating, volleying back and forth over the Pacific ocean in a stream of Ultramen, Shogun Warriors and rayon clothes. Buckethead, who refuses to be bound by genre (and seems more intent on creating one) nicely encapsulates this mergence of east and west.

Spoiks was into Japanese culture long before it was cool.

 

 

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