Bryan Mantia

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Bryan "Brain" Mantia
Primus copenhagen 1998 (cropped).jpg
Bryan Mantia in 1998.
Background information
Birth name Bryan Kei Mantia
Also known as Brain
Bryan "Brain" Mantia
Born (1963-02-04) February 4, 1963 (age 54)
Cupertino, California, United States
Genres Alternative metal, alternative rock, hard rock, funk
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Drums, percussion, turntables
Years active 1984–present
Associated acts Giant Robot, Praxis, Primus, Buckethead, Guns N' Roses, Godflesh, Pieces, El Stew, No Forcefield, Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains, Serj Tankian, Melissa Reese [1]

Bryan Kei Mantia, better known by his stage name Brain, is an American contemporary rock drummer and composer. He has played with bands such as Primus, Guns N' Roses, Praxis, and Godflesh, and with other popular performers such as Tom Waits, Serj Tankian, Bill Laswell, Bootsy Collins, and Buckethead. He has also done session work for numerous artists and bands.


Born in the South Bay city of Cupertino, California to an Italian-American father and a Japanese American mother,[2] Mantia became interested in such 'groove heavy' artists as James Brown, Led Zeppelin, and with Buckethead outside of Praxis – playing on such solo Buckethead albums as Giant Robot and Monsters and Robots.

The late '90s saw Mantia appear on releases by Godflesh (Songs of Love and Hate, Love and Hate in Dub) and the instructional video Brain's Lessons: Shredding Repis On the Gnar Gnar Rad, which includes the Ostinato and the Up Down Technique. The video is shot to look like a home movie and includes many humorous moments including a sit down steak dinner with his parents right in the middle of Brain "shredding" on a toy drum set. As a parody of late 90's gangsta rap, the cover is done in a Pen & Pixel style similar to No Limit Records and Cash Money Records releases. Although silly at times, the video is extremely informative for drummers looking to learn the hard grooves he is known for.

Mantia appears on several songs on BT's 2003 release Emotional Technology as well BT's score for the 2003 film Monster.

In the early summer of 2006, after four warm-up dates in New York City, Mantia toured Europe with Guns N' Roses. On June 21, 2006 it was announced he was taking a break from the GN'R tour. In Brain's absence replacement drummer Frank Ferrer has been performing in most of the band's shows. In the Fall of 2006, Ferrer was promoted to an official member of the band, which fueled speculation that Mantia had resigned or been fired from Guns N' Roses. However, Axl Rose mentioned him "working on things for the band" during his fan-forum interviews in December 2008. In the liner notes for GN'R's 2008 album, Chinese Democracy, replacement drummer Frank Ferrer thanks Mantia, saying "[Frank Ferrer would like to thank]... Brain, God bless you and your family." Additionally, Rose is rumored to have briefly considered a rotating drummer line-up for the 2009-10 leg of the Chinese Democracy World Tour that would have seen Mantia playing the band's Chinese Democracy material while Ferrer played the band's classic material. Ultimately, Brain only ended up making a guest appearance at Guns N' Roses' House of Blues West Hollywood show on March 12, 2012 playing congas on "You're Crazy" and "Rocket Queen".

Since his hiatus from GN'R, Mantia has primarily been focused on music behind the scenes as a composer and producer. Though in 2013/14 Mantia did a stint of drumming with band The Crystal Method for their new record (on which he was featured). These performances included appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Last Call with Carson Daly [3][4]

In 2017, Mantia toured with Buckethead and Dan Monti as part of Buckethead's live show.


Mantia drumming for Buckethead in 2017.

Mantia has partnered with musician Melissa Reese on several projects, a composing team dubbed "Brain and Melissa".[5] In 2010, along with Buckethead, they released the multi-CD sets Kind Regards and Best Regards. Brain and Melissa composed part of the soundtrack to the video game Infamous 2, for which they were nominated for "Outstanding Achievement in Original Composition" by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences awards.[6] Other video games the duo worked on include, PlayStation Home, ModNation Racers, Twisted Metal, Fantasia: Music Evolved and Infamous: Second Son (received the nomination Original Dramatic Score, Franchise at the 2014 NAVGTR Awards, shared with Marc Canham and Nathan Johnson).[7] They also scored the films Detention and Power/Rangers. They have worked with music video director Joseph Kahn on several television commercials, including NASCAR, SEAT, and Qoros. In addition, they scored a commercial for Johnnie Walker Blue which featured a computer-generated Bruce Lee.[8] They also worked on several remixes of songs off of Chinese Democracy for a planned remix album.

The two created a stock music album called "Eclectic Cinema" alongside former Guns N' Roses guitarist Paul Tobias, and Guns N' Roses and Buckethead collaborator Pete Scaturro.[9] Mantia has also worked with Tobias on several other stock music tracks.

The duo performed at a Houston Rockets halftime show on November 10, 2017, performing remixes of "Sorry" and "If the World" from Chinese Democracy, and a cover of KISS's "Do You Love Me?" from Destroyer.[10]



DW Collector's Series Maple drums in Tony Williams Yellow Lacquer with Custom Yellow Hardware
18x24 Bass Drum
8x12, 9x13 Toms
16x16, 16x18 Floor Toms w/ Legs
6x14 Edge Snare

9000 Single Bass Drum Pedal
9500 Hi-Hat
9300 Snare Stand
9700 Straight/Boom Cymbal Stand (x6)
9900 Double Tom Stand (x2)
9100 Throne


14" A Mastersound Hi-Hats
19" A Medium Thin Crash (2)
20" K CrashRide
20" A Deep Ride
20" A Medium Thin Crash
22" Oriental China "Trash"


Akai MPC 60 II, 3000 LE, 4000
Technics SL-1210MKZ Turntables with a M44Gs stylus
Vestax PMCO5PRO DJMixer

Selected discography[edit]

  • Brain's Lessons: Shredding Repis On the Gnar Gnar Rad – 2002 instructional video
  • Brain's Worst Drum Instructional DVD Ever – 2008 instructional video
  • Stinky Grooves – 1990
Giant Robot
Tom Waits
El Stew
  • No Hesitation – 1999
No Forcefield
  • Lee's Oriental Message|Lee's Oriental Massage 415-626-1837 – 2000
  • God Is an Excuse – 2001
Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains
Serj Tankian
Buckethead and Travis Dickerson
Guns N' Roses
Science Faxtion
Travis Dickerson


  1. ^ [1] Archived February 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "Interview with Guns N' Roses drummer Bryan "Brain" Mantia -". November 9, 2008. Archived from the original on February 19, 2009. Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  3. ^ "The Crystal Method Celebrates 20 Years Together, Release 5th Studio Album". 2014-01-13. Retrieved 2015-05-28. 
  4. ^ "The Crystal Method To Appear On Last Call With Carson Daly Tonight". 2014-02-04. Retrieved 2015-05-28. 
  5. ^ "About - Brain and Melissa". Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  6. ^ "Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition". Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on 13 November 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "NAVGTR Awards (2014)". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. 
  8. ^ "BBH China brings Legend Bruce Lee back to life in game changing campaign for Johnnie Walker". Campaign Brief. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  9. ^ Eclectic Cinema on iTunes
  10. ^ Melissa and Brain perform live

External links[edit]