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Narrated by Ronald L. Witherspoon
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.
Ronald L. Witherspoon lives in Colma, California with five dogs and a snake. His writings have appeared in Amusement Journal, Carnival Scholar Quarterly and Atlantic Dark Ride Monitor. He has been a leading expert on Bucketheadland since 1992.
NOTE: Few details of Buckethead's life are known. Some individuals may have been composited and events may have been altered chronologically. Stories may be apocryphal, hypothetical, metaphorical or completely made up. Bucketheadland attempts to keep this attraction as close to current scientific consensus as possible, within or without reason.
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