Union Square fixture Larry Hunt has been banging on buckets like they were a set of drums for decades on Market Street, but the beat won’t go on any further, as the “Bucket Man” died Thursday morning at age 64.

Illustrious SF street performer Larry ‘Bucket Man’ Hunt said he’s been playing drums since he was three years old, but brought his bucket-banging talents to San Francisco in 1979, and has been a fixture at Union Square for decades. He rode that local busking fame to a cameo in  Will Smith’s 2006 film Pursuit of Happyness, an appearance on America’s Got Talent, and even an Intel commercial in 2014. But today is the day Hunt’s music died, as the Chronicle reports Larry ‘Bucket Man’ Hunt passed away Thursday morning. He was 64.

The Chronicle describes Hunt's drum rig as “14 five-gallon buckets, 3 cooking pots, a cow bell and some duct tape.” But Hunt also played an actual drum set, and would occasionally incorporate a little fire-eating into his act. Years banging the drums at Union Square made Hunt a recognized figure, though not necessarily always a popular one.

Union Square Business Improvement District manager Claude Imbualt complained in 2015 that “Stores like Prada, a high-end retailer, expect a high-end ambiance. Someone banging on plastic bins outside takes away from that." SF Weekly reported in 2013 that Hunt was ticketed and threatened with jail time over the unauthorized drumming. But he had the Pursuit of Happyness appearance in 2006, and Hunt’s big break came with an Intel commercial and European bookings in 2014.

To be fair, there has been more than one drum-playing San Francisco “bucket man” over the years. Another bucket drummer named John King worked the Ferry Building area, and also got threatened with lawsuits, but also had a 2015 jam session with the Grateful Dead’s Bill Kreutzmann.

There is speculation about Hunt’s cause of death on Twitter, which may be informed speculation, but the reality is we don’t yet know how Hunt died. The Chronicle “confirmed Hunt's death” with the SF Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, but added that “The agency did not provide a cause of death.”

Larry Hunt: Bucketman from Miguel Luis on Vimeo.

But what we do know is that going forward, Union Square will have a little less rhythm, and a lot more blues.

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Image: Chris Pirillo via Youtube