Harnessing the spirits of all slain and martyred chickens through the inverted KFC bucket on his head, guitar virtuoso Brian Carroll still leaves fans of wank rock slackjawed. As Buckethead, Carroll's masked and mutant alter ego, the former Napa Valley, California, resident has come a long way from getting his face scratched off in Colonel Sanders's fabled hen-house disaster. Taking time off as Slash's replacement in a retooled Guns N' Roses, the ridiculously gifted guitarist holds a six-string clinic Wednesday, July 9, at the Universal Lending Pavilion with his first band, the Deli Creeps, who open for Les Claypool's Frog Brigade. An enigmatic quartet from San Francisco, the Creeps feature original vocalist Maximum Bob, bassist Tony and drummer Pinchface, who create a sound that Faith No More's Mike Patton once described as "Texas Chain Saw spoof rock." Think of an aggressive, futuristic collage of hip-hop and electro-metal beats fed off a steady diet of horror flicks and sci-fi sounds. Away from the haunted funhouse, however, Buckethead remains one of the busiest session players in the biz, having collaborated with everyone from avant-jazz luminaries Bill Laswell and John Zorn to P-Funk All-Stars Bootsy Collins and Bernie Worrell. A musical freak of nature, as comfortable playing speed metal as flamenco, the classically trained 33-year-old blends grinding rhythms, edgy chordal passages and a highly melodic style that seems to lend itself to so many side projects, including Praxis, Giant Robot, El Stew, Thanatopsis and Cobrastrike. Combining nipple-length hair with robotic stage moves, Buckethead brings the kind of inhuman, blazing chops to a live setting that can match the mighty Slash riff for riff. Or even out-Yngwie Mr. Malmsteen. The only thing missing might be coleslaw, mashed potatoes and a biscuit.
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