BUCKETHEAD + THAT 1 GUY:
Well every once in a while people ask me about Buckethead. Why does he wear a mask and bucket. What happened to his parents. Is he part robot, will he hurt us, is he really Colonel Sanders son, on and on and on. Well I can't tell you everything about Bucket but I can tell you something.
First of all you gotta understand Buckethead grew up real lonely on that farm. He figured no one understood him. The only thing they understood about him was how to treat him bad. To this very day, believe it or not, Buckethead does not like to be shocked with a cattle prod.
It wasn't all bad, though, on the farm. As soon as he moved into the chicken coop he started to make new friends. The chickens took real good care of him, and they liked him so much they scratched his face off. Now he could wear a mask every day, just like Halloween! He was the luckiest boy he knew. He didn't know many other boys though, except those kids who lit him on fire that time.
One good way to forget the smell of burning cartilage was watching movies. Down the hill from the coop, and through a knothole in the fence, was the drive-in theater. Every night at dusk the boy could watch great movies like GIANT ROBOT or THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. The speakers wouldn't reach to the coop though so he didn't even know what the movies sounded like. All he heard was chickens when Leatherface would slam the big metal door shut.
So when he got to be about THIS tall Buckethead started playing his little guitar. He would sit and watch the movies and his fingers couldn't stop moving and now all the sudden there was music. And Giant Robot would shoot rockets out of his fingers and who knows what would happen. Buckethead practiced so much he started to get real good. But the people on the farm still made fun of him and smashed his family's eggs. One night, after he got to be this tall, somebody threw a bucket of fried chicken into the coop. Try as he might, Buckethead couldn't put the chicken back together again. So he put the bucket on his head, picked up his guitar and ran to the cemetery.
Buckethead was real sad but it seemed like he played guitar better than ever. All the grey people and angels in the cemetery listened to the music and it was so beautiful they just stood still and speechless. He figured the spirits of all the fried chickens he ever knew were channeling into him through the bucket, and he played until he collapsed.
Well it prob'ly won't surprise you to hear that eventually the sun came up and the rooster crowed. And some folks say Buckethead had chicken grease and barbecue sauce smeared around the mouth hole on his mask. Whatever happened that night, the bucket stayed on his head, and in the morning it was filled full of chicken bones.
When they found him curled up in a grave like that the people on the farm felt real bad, so they tried to be kinda nice to him for a while. They brought him water in the morning and let him have their scraps. For Christmas he even got an old shovel so he could look for more friends in the cemetery. But the best thing of all was when the farmhand showed him how to sneak into Disneyland disguised as a Pirate of the Carribean or a Haunted Mansion ghost.
For the first time in his life, Buckethead knew what he had to do. Disneyland was the greatest city he'd ever been to. Everybody was nice, they talked to him and sang songs, and they moved more realistically than his friends in the cemetery. So he burned down his coop and headed for Main Street where he started playing his guitar for E-Tickets. He learned all the songs and movements but every time he tried to get a job as an animatronic, they pulled him through a trapdoor.
Well if he couldn't live in Disneyland he had to live somewhere. He knew that if he built a park like Mr. Disney did, people all around the world would come visit him. Or even if they didn't, the park would be full of his audio-animatronic friends. He'd allow chickens inside, and he'd build a huge cemetery in the middle with the statues and tombstones specially lined up to create the best acoustics.
When Bucketheadland opened quietly in 1989 most people couldn't even tell it was a park. Its humble rides were made mostly out of rusty tractor parts and a bunch of sticks and animal bones tied together with spider silk. Buckethead knew he had to start working for money if he wanted to maintain the park, and they didn't make E-Tickets anymore anyway. He started cutting meat in a delicatessen, where he met Maximum Bob and formed his first band, Deli Creeps.
For the next 13 years, Buckethead travelled around the world playing guitar, recording records, making friends, and learning the secrets of embalming, theme park engineering and martial arts. He recorded many albums with himself or his friends or in bands like Praxis, Giant Robot, Giant Robot 2, El Stew, Thanatopsis, and Cobrastrike. He felt bad that he didn't have time to play music for the drive-in, so he recorded some film scores with Michael Kamen, George S. Clinton and John Carpenter. All of these adventures strengthened Buckethead's imagination and helped the Bucketheadland park grow into the world of dreams and nightmares that we all love.
Nowa days you can still see Buckethead wandering around the park at night, or peeking through a crack on the other side of a wall you don't remember being there before. Don't be afraid, he's a nice kid, and he wants to be your friend. In Bucketheadland he never gets lonely.
But if you see him on stage somewhere or playing with his dolls, for crying out loud don't make fun of the boy. He's had a tough life and he's worked hard getting where he is. So what if he looks confused up there. You would too if you'd been through all that. He just wants us to accept him. Don't stare at him or overcompensate and be too nice. Come on people lets use some common sense here, we don't want to set him off. Thanks.
That 1 Guy
"The honey tastes sweeter when you anger the bees." The Moon is Disgusting.
For Berkeley, CA-based Mike Silverman, better known by his alter ego That 1 Guy, when it comes to making music, necessity is the mother of invention.
A classically trained upright bassist who won several jazz scholarships and competitions, Mike became one of the most original and in-demand upright bass players in the 90's progressive jazz scene. At the peak of his powers, Mike was developing and utilizing techniques that were previously thought impossible on the upright bass. Often getting hired as a one-man-rhythm-section, he would function as a bassist, drummer, and entire mini orchestra simultaneously.
His resume included studio and live work with jazz tenor legend Dewey Redman and another one of his heroes, Buddy Collette (of Charles Mingus fame). Silverman's self-taught percussive technique—banging the strings and the instrument's body—led him to develop the Magic Pipe. Eventually frustrated by the inability to get all the sounds in his head from the upright bass, he built a system of electronically wired, steel plumbing, shaped somewhat like a harp, with a thick bass string wired from top to bottom and a hole that billows smoke during the climax of his live shows. Adding an electric cowboy boot plugged in and played like an African talking drum and an electrified musical handsaw, Silverman evolved into That 1 Guy, playing everything with his hands and feet while incorporating such disparate influences as Dr. Seuss, Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, Rube Goldberg and Stanley Kubrick. He would never play a conventional bass in concert again.
"The Magic Pipe basically employs the same principle as a gutbucket," he says of the instrument's origin. "That was the initial inspiration for creating it. It also resembles the diddley-bow, which was basically a metal cable attached to the side of the house, from the roof to the porch, and played by the original bluesman with a beer bottle like a slide guitar."
That 1 Guy's music travels a similar evolutionary path on his second album, The Moon is Disgusting, from the primitiveness of the Mississippi Delta in the title track to the farthest reaches of outer space in the 14-minute-plus closing aural soundscape, "Rainbow," offering a microcosm best described as more songs about the moon, fruit and transcendence.
The follow-up to Songs in the Key of Beotch, his 2004 release on Ani DiFranco's Righteous Babe label, The Moon is Disgusting was recorded over the summer of '06, with veteran Bay Area engineer Karl Derfler (Roky Erickson, Daniel Johnston, No Doubt). Derfler originally recommended Silverman to add musical saw on a pair of tracks for Tom Waits' recent three-CD Orphans set, only to have Mike end up playing bass instead.
"Karl helped facilitate the ideas," says Mike. "We just clicked and it really opened the floodgates for me. A lot of these songs and ideas have been bottled up inside me for years, and came pouring out. We kept the live feel in the studio, and nothing was labored. He captured the magic."
From the earthy blues of the title track and the tribal stomp of "Bananas," which is "slapstick" in its truest sense, to the a cappella treated vocals of "Dig," the hip-hop beats of "Butt Machine" and the pastoral-to-abstract psychedelic trip of "Rainbow," The Moon is Disgusting traces the evolution of man from animals in the jungle to machines orbiting the earth, a kind of 2001: A Space Odyssey for the head. Call it That 1 Guy's version of rubbing two sticks together to get fire and sound, a modern cave painting.
"The album was originally conceived as the soundtrack to an animated film I wanted to make," says Silverman. "I've used the line about the moon and the cheese in my music for the last 10 years. I don't know its significance, but I just really like the imagery. I used to have these dreams about how the texture of the moon was made out of this weird cheese-like substance. It must be some kind of subconscious fascination. I tried to grab that and put it into music."
The result transcends the novelty of its origin, and succeeds on its own terms. As Silverman sings in "Butt Machine," the Magic Pipe, and what it creates, is all a matter of "function over form," which parallels our own evolution as a species, from monkeys grabbing bananas in the trees to a cosmic voyage over the "Rainbow."
"I love music that takes you on a psychedelic trip," he says. "But I'm as straight-laced as they get."
Songs like "Mash" and "Mustache" are both tribal and raw, the primal beat taking us back to our animal instincts, while "Bananas," "Oranges" and "Guava" make up a cycle about fruit in the tradition of past That 1 Guy food songs such as "Weasel Potpie" and "It's Raining Meat."
"Honest to god, it just comes out that way," laughs Silverman about his topics. "The words flow together and form a groove."
As he points out, the moon has always been a mythic presence throughout the history of man. "We've completely evolved as a species with the moon," says Silverman. "It's part of our biology and our psychology. It's in our minds and in our souls."
With the release of The Moon is Disgusting, Silverman continues to consolidate his gains as a live performer. With an audience that ranges from psychedelic warriors to families and folks of all ages, he has played the Magic Pipe in locales as exotic as Istanbul, Scotland and Australia, where he is celebrated as a modern folk hero, selling out theatres, with residents comparing his instrument to the native didgeridoo. At last year's prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival, he was presented with the Tapwater Award for Best Musical Act.
"So much of my music has an indigenous, tribal feel to it, based on rhythms from around the world," he says, explaining his popularity Down Under. "And there's this sort of tubular, pipe-shaped vibe that seems to make perfect sense down there."
That 1 Guy has also opened for artists as disparate as Soul Coughing, Saul Williams, Bob Weir & Ratdog, Yo La Tengo, Fabolous, Naughty by Nature and, most memorably, Guns N' Roses guitarist Buckethead, with whom he collaborated on an acclaimed series of shows last year.
The Washington Post raved, "That 1 Guy brought the concept of the one-man band into the 21st century." Relix said: "His grooves are so bombastic, they rattle china cabinets and dissolve kidney stones into the next zip code." Bass Player Magazine called Silverman's music "earthshaking future funk," while Billboard simply said: "In the case of Mike Silverman's slamming, futuristic funk act…the normal rules of biology just don't apply." Ripsaw says: "That 1 Guy is truly, honestly unique, and simply mesmerizing." The Spokesman called Silverman's music, "Home Depot meets Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."
"These last few tours, I've really noticed it taking off," says Silverman about the response to That 1 Guy's live show. "People are starting to grab onto it and come back, bringing five or 10 others with them. It's just growing exponentially."
With his new album, The Moon is Disgusting, That 1 Guy is taking his music and art to the next step, choosing to release it on his own, just as he creates it.
The Moon may be Disgusting, but That 1 Guy's music is anything but.