“He’d call me at four in the morning and leave a 15-minute guitar solo on my voicemail”: Serj Tankian on his collaborations with the enigmatic Buckethead – and the time they played a high school battle of the bands together

Left-Serj Tankian of System of a Down performs at the Banc of California Stadium on February 04, 2022 in Los Angeles, California; Right - Buckethead performs in support of his "Happy Birthday MJ 23" release at Ace of Spades on July 3, 2016 in Sacramento, California
(Image credit: Left-Kevin Winter/Getty Images; Right-Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

Few guitarists in history have proven to be as authentically enigmatic as Buckethead. The bucket-wearing, genre-spanning guitar virtuoso has collaborated with everyone from Iggy Pop to Les Claypool, not to mention his short stint in Guns N' Roses. His 2005 release, the acclaimed Enter the Chicken, was in fact the product of a fruitful collaboration between him and System of a Down's Serj Tankian. 

In his new 10-hour audiobook, System of a Down's Serj Tankian reveals the story behind this album, and how he ended up performing at a high school battle of the bands with Buckethead.

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Janelle Borg

Janelle is a staff writer at GuitarWorld.com. After a long stint in classical music, Janelle discovered the joys of playing guitar in dingy venues at the age of 13 and has never looked back. Janelle has written extensively about the intersection of music and technology, and how this is shaping the future of the music industry. She also had the pleasure of interviewing Dream Wife, K.Flay, Yīn Yīn, and Black Honey, among others. When she's not writing, you'll find her creating layers of delicious audio lasagna with her art-rock/psych-punk band ĠENN.