Larry Hunt has been drumming on buckets in the Bay Area since the mid '90s, primarily at Fourth and Market. In that time, his reputation has spread far and wide. And now it looks like the Bucket Man is going to Germany.
Alain Tasma, of the European packaging company HK Plastics, met Hunt on a trip to S.F. in 2013. Tasma was impressed with Hunt's charisma and talent, and decided to fly him to Germany for Interpack 2014, one of the "biggest packaging fairs" in the world and, indeed, "the major inspiration for the packaging industry and all related process technologies." Held annually in Dusseldorf, Interpack showcases the latest technologies and innovations in packaging. In May, Tasma wants to bring Hunt to the HK production plant in Almelo, Netherlands, so he can pick out a bucket to be inscribed with "The Bucket Man" and featured in his own personalized bucket drum set, which Hunt will see getting produced at the factory. Tasma then wants to take Hunt to Dusseldorf so he can play his personalized buckets at the HK stand at Interpack for all eight days of the fair. Packaging has finally gotten the rock god it's sorely needed for so long.
"We want to give him the stage he deserves," says Tasma in a Skype interview.
HK will pay for Hunt's airfare and accommodations in Europe, as well as escort him to and from the airport.
The obvious question is: Why is a Dutch packaging company going out of its way to help a street performer in San Francisco?
"I feel a connection with Larry because we're both true 'bucket men,'" Tasma says. "The only difference is that I sell them and he plays them."
Because HK was waiting for approval from Interpack to have Hunt play at the stand, this project has taken almost a year. In a recent email to SF Weekly, Tasma says that Interpack has approved Hunt to play not only at HK's stands, but at the stands of all the other Dutch packaging companies that will be there as well.
How does the Bucket Man feel about all this?
"I'm the biggest celebrity in San Francisco," Hunt says from his usual perch at Fourth and Market. Once he gets his passport renewed, those eager audiences at the Bonnaroo of packaging will be in for a wild ride. And they're getting him as his star is on the rise, apparently: Hunt mentions that while he had been waiting for HK to get back to him about his trip, Intel had asked him to be in a commercial. Intel could not be reached for comment.