Buckethead Quits Gn'R

Guitarist departs before Rock in Rio appearance

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Enigmatic masked guitarist Buckethead has left Guns n' Roses after four years of service.

According to reports, Buckethead, whose name refers to the inverted Kentucky Fried Chicken tub he wears on his noggin, had grown tired of idle time spent in the troubled Gn'R, which hasn't released a new album in a decade. The group made some motions towards a comeback in late 2002 with a winter tour, its first in nine years, but weeks after its troubled launch, the whole tour was cancelled.

Having released more than ten albums in the past decade, Buckethead seems most comfortable doing regular work. He has a pair of solo albums slated for release this summer, and he's also recorded with Primus frontman Les Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains ensemble along with keyboardist Bernie Worrell and drummer Brian "Brain" Mantia, who also has been playing with Guns n' Roses. Buckethead is also in the middle of a solo tour that runs through the middle of April.

As for Guns, there is no word as to whether the group would replace Buckethead. The most recent lineup included a pair of guitarists (Robin Finck and Richard Fortus) along with two keyboardists (Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman) and bassist Tommy Stinson. The delay of the group's new Chinese Democracy has caused other headaches for frontman Axl Rose. The group's label, Geffen, had assembled a Greatest Hits collection during the downtime, the release of which Rose tried unsuccessfully to block.