Authenticity and heavy metal!

Recently whilst in the car listening to Guns N’ Roses with my son, we started to discuss Slash and Buckethead. (Most of you will know who Slash is and no idea who Buckethead is) My son asked “Dad, who’s the best guitarist”? and “why does Buckethead wear a KFC bucket on his head and a mask”?

After some very quick research (mostly on Wikipedia and Spotify) to be able to answer his questions ‘authenticity’ kept jumping in to my mind, possibly stimulated from a presentation I watched about authenticity at the DisruptHR conference in Glasgow earlier this month.

A quote about Buckethead by Ozzy Osbourne not only made me laugh, but also made me think about Buckethead’s authenticity in his industry.  “I assume that in the music industry it is very easy to conform to what people want you to be and to become someone you’re not…”

In an interview with Revolver, Ozzy Osbourne stated that he had offered to have Buckethead play guitar in his band at Ozzfest, but changed his mind after meeting with him and realising that Buckethead would not remove his costume to be accepted by Ozzy:

“I tried out that Buckethead guy. I met with him and asked him to work with me, but only if he got rid of the xxxxing bucket. So I came back a bit later, and he’s wearing this green Martian’s-hat thing! I said, ‘Look, just be yourself.’ He told me his name was Brian, so I said that’s what I’d call him. He says, ‘No one calls me Brian except my mother.’ So I said, ‘Pretend I’m your mum, then!’ I haven’t even got out of the room and I’m already playing mind games with the guy. What happens if one day he’s gone and there’s a note saying, ‘I’ve been beamed up’? Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great player. He plays like a motherxxxxer.” Ozzy Osbourne, Revolver. (swearing edited)

The questions I have are:

  • What are the implications if we are inauthentic as a person, colleague, manager and leader?
  • What are the implications of being authentic….. (Buckethead might say “not getting a gig with Ozzy!?”)
  • How does being inauthentic or authentic impact our behaviour through our values and beliefs?
  • How do we recognise when we are being inauthentic/authentic and where or how do we learn this?
  • Can we be both? (The link to the Chameleon pic)

It would be easy to answer my questions and bore you with my thoughts and experiences… What I have enjoyed is the thinking I’ve had about me as a person, as a leader of others and of a business.

So your answers on a postcard please to VA Consultants…. (or your comments in the comment section, which is probably much easier…)

By Martin Saunders Director & CEO at VA Consultants Ltd.


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