Former Daytonian Eric Mahoney is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign for his documentary on the career of Brainiac, pictured here circa 1996. (Left to right): Tim Taylor, Tyler Trent, John Schmersal and Juan Monasterio.
Photo: CONTRIBUTED
Photo: CONTRIBUTED

5 things to know about one of Dayton’s most famous bands Brainiac

It’s unlikely Brainiac will ever be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

But it is the subject of a new documentary that launched at one of the most prestigious festivals in the country, the 2019 SXSW Film Festival.

“Brainiac: Transmissions After Zero” from former Daytonian Eric Mahoney, is described on the SXSW website as follows:

The film explores the seminal ‘90s band Brainiac from Dayton, OH and its creative force Tim Taylor. Just days before signing a major record contract, Taylor was killed in a bizarre auto accident leaving his family and bandmates to pick up the pieces.

>>Brainiac documentary to premiere at 2019 SXSW Film Festival

For rock fans who witnessed the Dayton band’s incredible five-year run, the songs and musical legacy are as important as anything created by the better-known acts honored by that institution in Cleveland.

Here are five things to know about the group.

Brainiac — (from left) Tim Taylor, John Schmersal, Juan Monasterio and Tyler Trent — featured in a mid-’90s promotional photo. CONTRIBUTED/FILE
Photo: Contributing Writer

1. HOW IT GOT STARTED

Brainiac formed in Dayton in January 1992 with Tim Taylor (vocals, guitar), Michelle Bodine (guitar), Juan Monasterio (bass) and Tyler Trent (drums).

Bodine was replaced by John Schmersal (guitar) in 1994. The group played its first show at Wright State University under the name We’ll Eat Anything on March 12.

By the time the band opened for touring act Lungfish at New Space in Dayton on April 11, the name was changed to Brainiac.

>> This ‘Star Wars’ actor just tweeted about this Dayton band — here’s why

Brainiac, (left to right) Tim Taylor, John Schmersal, Juan Monasterio and Tyler Trent, pictured in a mid- 90s UK promo photo. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Contributing Writer

2. AN EXPERIMENTAL SOUND

While the sound would get more experimental as Brainiac evolved, from the beginning the quartet was using alternate guitar tunings to put an off-kilter spin on its grunge-infused melodic punk rock.

The group of established players quickly became scene favorites and wasted no time riding that momentum into a series of DIY tours.

In the early days, Brainiac went on the road on solo outings or as opening act for underground buzz bands like Girls Against Boys and Jesus Lizard.

Tim Taylor, lead singer for Brainiac, pictured in 1995 at Lollapalooza. Taylor was killed in a car accident in 1997. (ARCHIVE IMAGE)
Photo: Contributing Writer

3. DISCOGRAPHY

Brainiac released a pair of 7-inches in 1992, the three-song EP, “Superduperseven” on Chicago-based Limited Potential and a split single with Bratmobile on Ken Gross’12x12 Records. The group’s full-length debut, “Smack Bunny Baby,” was released by New York-based Grass Records in 1993.

The indie label also released “Bonsai Superstar” in 1994 before the group moved to a larger indie. The final three releases, “International” EP (1995), the album “Hissing Prigs in Static Couture” (1996) and “Electro-Shock for President” EP (1997) were released by Chicago-based Touch & Go Records.

Tim Taylor, lead singer for Brainiac, pictured in 1995 at Lollapalooza. Taylor was killed in a car accident in 1997. (ARCHIVE IMAGE)
Photo: Contributing Writer

4. TRAGIC LOSS 

Brainiac had recently completed a European tour opening for Beck and was on the verge of signing with a major label when tragedy struck the band. Taylor died in a single-car accident on May 23, 1997, when his 1977 Mercedes crashed into a pole on Main Street in Dayton, just blocks from his home.

>> MORE: Big stars who’ve been to Dayton.

Brainiac, (left to right) Tim Taylor, John Schmersal, Juan Monasterio and Tyler Trent, featured in a mid- 90s promotional photo. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Contributing Writer

5. KICKSTARTER FOR DOCUMENTARY

Brooklyn-based filmmaker Mahoney, a native Daytonian, the former frontman for the Columbus rock band Murder Your Darlings, launched a successful Kickstarter campaign for the film that got the attention of some celebrities, including Star Wars’ Mark Hamil.

>> MORE: Kickstarter to fund documentary about Brainiac

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