Brainiac (band)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
OriginDayton, Ohio, United States
GenresIndie rock[1]
Noise rock[2]
Experimental pop
Years active1992–1997
LabelsTouch and Go
Associated actsEnon
Past membersTim Taylor
Juan "Monostereo" Monasterio
Michelle Bodine
Tyler Trent
John Schmersal

Brainiac (sometimes stylized as 3RA1N1AC) was an American Indie rock band formed in 1992, and disbanded after the sudden death of lead singer Tim Taylor in 1997.


Brainiac was formed in Dayton, Ohio, United States in January 1992 with vocalist, guitarist and keyboard player (particularly Moog synthesizers) Tim Taylor (July 20, 1968 – May 23, 1997),[3] bassist Monostereo (Juan Monasterio), guitarist Michelle Bodine and drummer Tyler Trent.[4] On March 12, the band played its first show at Wright State's University Cafeteria, under the name We'll Eat Anything.

After a slew of singles, they released their debut album, Smack Bunny Baby, on Grass/BMG Records in 1993.[4] Bonsai Superstar, now with John Schmersal on guitar in place of Bodine, followed the next year.[4] In 1995 they played on the Lollapalooza side stage and recorded four songs in the UK for the BBC Radio 1 Peel Sessions. They joined Touch and Go Records and released Internationale, produced by Kim Deal (of the Pixies). The following year, their third album, Hissing Prigs in Static Couture, was released on the Touch & Go label.[4] All three of their albums were produced by Eli Janney (of Girls Against Boys).

Brainiac generated a buzz as the live act to see that resulted in opening tours for Beck, the Breeders and the Jesus Lizard and receiving offers from major labels.[4] In 1997, they released an electronic-based EP called Electro-Shock for President which turned out to be their last record: Taylor was killed in a car accident on May 23, 1997, during the pre-production for their fourth album, which was due out on Interscope Records.[4] The group soon disbanded. A benefit show featuring The Breeders and Guided By Voices took place a few months later.[5]

Aftermath and legacy[edit]

After recording a solo album under the name John Stuart Mill,[6] guitarist John Schmersal later went on to form Enon. Monasterio directs music videos, including two for Enon, and released in 2008 an EP with a new band called Model/Actress with Curtis Mead and Charlie Walker from Chamberlain and ex-Bullet LaVolta drummer Philips; Schmersal makes appearances on this album. Trent briefly joined the Breeders and most recently played with The Dirty Walk. Bodine became the guitarist and singer of O-matic and Shesus.

In early 2019, a documentary entitled Transmissions After Zero[7] was released by directed Eric Mahoney to favorable reviews. This included several live performances at various locations, with friend Tim Krug including New York, Los Angeles and their hometown of Dayton, Ohio.[8] The film was released on DVD and streaming on February 21, 2020.[9]

The surviving members of Brainiac also appeared on an episode of Conan Neutron's Protonic Reversal [10] to discuss the career of the band, the death of Tim Taylor and the documentary.


  • Tim Taylor - vocals, guitar, keyboards (1992-1997, his death)
  • Juan "Monostereo" Monasterio - bass (1992-1997)
  • Michelle Bodine - guitar (1992-1994)
  • John Schmersal - guitar (1994-1997)
  • Tyler Trent - drums (1992-1997)


Studio albums[edit]


  • Superduperseven 7" (1992, Limited Potential)
  • I Could Own You (Live) 7" (split single with Bratmobile, 1993, 12x12 Records)
  • Dexatrim 7" (split single with Lazy, 1994, Simple Solution) (John Schmersal's debut as new guitarist)
  • Cookie Doesn't Sing 7" (split single w/Today Is The Day, Chrome Cranks, and Steel Pole Bathtub Vol. 10/ CD Comp., 1995, Dope-Guns-'N-Fucking In The Streets Vols. 8-11, Amphetamine Reptile Records)
  • Internationale (7" single/EP {features new recording of "Simon Says" off Superduperseven 7"}, 1995, Touch & Go)
  • Go! 4x7" single (Jabberjaw Vol. 6, CD Comp., 1996, Mammoth Records)
  • Electro-Shock for President EP (1997, Touch & Go)
  • Petrified single (Ubu Dance Party: A Tribute To Pere Ubu, CD Comp., 1997, Datapanic)


Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie claimed Brainiac influenced his work on Narrow Stairs.[11]

Matt Bellamy of Muse claims that a certain section in the song "Exo-Politics" from Black Holes and Revelations was heavily influenced by Brainiac.[12]

Cedric Bixler and Omar Rodríguez-López of The Mars Volta state Brainiac, specifically Electro-Shock for President as an influential record. On their influence Cedric states:

Nearly every band is indebted to Brainiac: Blood Brothers, The Locust, At the Drive-In, also The Faint owe them a lot, and they wouldn't be afraid to admit that. Brainiac were at least the first to have this certain Devo-thing - even though it's not that, obviously: absurd vocals, heavy synths, samples of dogs and trains. All the electronic stuff on this album was done by Steve Albini and Jim O'Rourke. Brainiac recorded only three albums because the singer died in a crashed car. It's like a dark secret you can discover.[13]

During a BBC radio session, Nine Inch Nails' frontman Trent Reznor commented on Brainiac that they were a major influence on him, "from a sonic standpoint."[14] He also revealed that while recording 2005's With Teeth he would use Electro-Shock for President as a "sound reference."

Brainiac was a band that, on this particular record, the sound would be something we'd reference, because it sounded very low tech electronic garagey sounding. It has an interesting low tech sound to it that was inspiring. Even thinking about that visually would lead us into certain paths of production ideas.


  1. ^ "Brainiac | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  2. ^ Earles, Andrew (2014-09-15). Gimme Indie Rock: 500 Essential American Underground Rock Albums 1981-1996. ISBN 9780760346488.
  3. ^ "Print Page - Actions list from David Cotner's desk Pt.1". Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2011-08-06.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Colin Larkin, ed. (2000). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Nineties Music (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 61. ISBN 0-7535-0427-8.
  5. ^ "3RA1N1AC Live Archive Project: Timeline". Retrieved 2011-08-06.
  6. ^ Bio John Stuart Mill, AllMusic
  7. ^ "Brainiac, the Great Lost Band of the '90s, Get Documentary Treatment in 'Transmissions After Zero'): Timeline". Variety. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  8. ^ "Brainiac doc screening in NYC; surviving bandmembers reuniting to play Dayton, OH premiere): Timeline". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  9. ^ Thrasher, Don (February 28, 2020). "Transmission complete: Brainiac doc hits DVD and streaming". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  10. ^ "Ep136: Brainiac (John, Juan, Tyler): Timeline". Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  11. ^ "Death Cab Throwing A 'Curve Ball' On New Album". Archived from the original on 2014-09-17. Retrieved 2011-08-06.
  12. ^ "Muse funny radio interview". YouTube. 2007-11-03. Retrieved 2011-08-06.
  13. ^ "Influences - The Comatorium". Retrieved 2011-08-06.
  14. ^ "Nine Inch Nails Articles Archive - Radio One Rock Show hosted by Trent Reznor". 2005-04-05. Retrieved 2011-08-06.


External links[edit]