Why does guitarist Buckethead wear a KFC bucket with a funeral sticker on his head and a plain white mask over his face?

What Is Buckethead's Real Name?

Brian Patrick Carroll.

Where Did He Get the Idea to Wear the Bucket + Mask?

It all just kind of... happened.

"It wasn't something that I really thought about," Buckethead told the Coming Alive podcast back in 2017 when asked about the origins of his image.

"I was eating with my father. It was actually a different chicken company, it was deli chicken, I don't even know what it was," he recalled, "And I was eating it and I had that mask, kind of like Michael Myers [from the Halloween movie franchise]. So I just put it on my head and I looked in the mirror and was like, 'That's Buckethead' [laughs].

"After that, I wanted to be that thing all the time," he told Guitar Player magazine in 1996 (via The Source Weekly).

Who Encouraged Him to Wear the Bucket + Mask Onstage?

At the time he originated the Buckethead look, the guitarist didn't even think to align it with a musical persona and, instead, felt it was more appropriately suited for film. A friend helped change that line of thinking.

"My friend went to school, he was going to college, and he had a video class and he filmed me as Buckethead," the guitarist told the Coming Alive podcast.

He continued, "I knew this writer and guitar player, his name is Joe Gore, and he's really the one I owe a lot to. He encouraged me to do it as that. 'You should just go be Buckethead, go play!' Because I was always super scared to play and I didn't really link that together. I just thought, 'Oh, this is like a weird horror guy. I'd like to make a movie about it or something,' and then he was like, 'You should just go for it,' and I was like, 'Oh, yeah, that would be cool.'"

The Buckethead look also served as a cover for social anxiety and shyness.

"I could do everything I liked doing as this character that I'm totally scared to death to do otherwise," the guitarist added, "And then I applied all the stuff I like, like Disney Land and martial arts and dancing and all that kind of stuff I liked. And I was like, 'I can't do it just as me.' It was easy to use it all. That was a great, expressive way for me to get all this stuff out."

Marc Andrew Deley/FilmMagic, Getty Images
Marc Andrew Deley/FilmMagic, Getty Images

READ MORE: We Finally Know Why Tom Morello Never Cuts His Guitar Strings

What the Buckethead Lore States About the Origins of the Bucket + Mask

On an inactive part of the Bucketheadland website (and accessed through a web archive), there's a fictional, detailed backstory to how Buckethead came to wear the mask and bucket.

Growing up on a farm, Buckethead moved into a chicken coop and grew close with the chickens. It's said they liked him so much that they scratched his face off, meaning he was free to wear his mask all the time.

Watching horror films such as Giant Robot and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but unable to hear most of the movies except for when chainsaw murderer Leatherface slammed a metal door shut and chickens could be heard.

He began playing guitar while enduring bullying and, one fateful night, a person lobbed a bucket of fried chicken into the coop. Unable to reconstruct the chickens from the pieces of fried up meat, he plopped the bucket on his head, grabbed his guitar and went to the cemetery. Playing guitar for angels in observance, the legend says Buckethead was able to channel the spirit of all the fried chickens he had ever seen.

Waking up in a haze the next morning, he found that the bucket was fixed in place.

Legendary Artists With 20 or More Studio Albums

Some of the biggest discographies in the business!

IMPORTANT: We did our best to exclude covers albums and live albums from the total counts. The focus here is on original studio material. There are some exceptions because some of these catalogs are a little unorthodox.

More From WGBF-FM