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.
BiographyBrainiac 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), bassist Monostereo (Juan Monasterio), guitarist Michelle Bodine and drummer Tyler Trent. 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. Bonsai Superstar, now with John Schmersal on guitar in place of Bodine, followed the next year. 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. 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. 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. The group soon disbanded. A benefit show featuring The Breeders and Guided By Voices took place a few months later.
Aftermath and legacy
After recording a solo album under the name John Stuart Mill, 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 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. The film was released on DVD and streaming on February 21, 2020.
The surviving members of Brainiac also appeared on an episode of Conan Neutron's Protonic Reversal to discuss the career of the band, the death of Tim Taylor and the documentary.
InfluenceChris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie claimed Brainiac influenced his work on Narrow Stairs.
Matt Bellamy of Muse claims that a certain section in the song "Exo-Politics" from Black Holes and Revelations was heavily influenced by Brainiac.
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: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." He also revealed that while recording 2005's With Teeth he would use Electro-Shock for President as a "sound reference."