- Don Thrasher Contributing Writer
It’s unlikely Brainiac will ever be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. However, 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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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5. KICKSTARTER FOR DOCUMENTARY
Brooklyn-based filmmaker Eric Mahoney, a native Daytonian, has begun work on a documentary film on Brainiac. Mahoney, the former frontman for the Columbus rock band Murder Your Darlings, recently mounted a Kickstarter campaign for the film and exceeded the fund-raising goal of $40,000.
At press time, he was more than halfway to his goal of $40,000. The deadline is 11:45 p.m. Thursday, May 4. To contribute, visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/1955677038/brainiac-documentary.