Brian “Brain” Mantia
Brian “Brain” Mantia has played with both cult and fringe artists like Praxis, Primus, Tom Waits, Buckethead, Godflesh, and mainstream artists such as Guns N’ Roses. Raised in the South Bay city of Cupertino, CA, Mantia became interested early on in groove-heavy artists like James Brown, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix. But it wasn’t until he turned 16 year that he began playing drums. Shortly after, Mantia acquired the nickname “Brain”, a result of his obsession with the complex Anthony Cirone book, “Portraits in Rhythm.”
Brain played with an eclectic variety of artists — including M.I.R.V. (Cosmodrome, Feeding Time on Monkey Island), MCM and the Monster (Collective Emotional Problems), and Tom Waits (Bone Machine) — before co-forming funk/experimental supergroup, Praxis with Parliament-Funkadelic veterans Bootsy Collins and Bernie Worrell, masked guitarist Buckethead and producer Bill Laswell. The new band issued countless releases throughout the ’90s (including such standouts as “Transmutation”, “Mutatis Mutandis”, “Transmutation Live”, and “Warzsawa”. Mantia also worked with Buckethead outside of Praxis, playing on the solo Buckethead albums, “Giant Robot” and “Monsters and Robots”.
Brain certainly kept busy outside of Praxis, playing on releases by Godflesh, Primus, Guns N’ Roses and more. His own trip-hop/dub project Fullcone has had songs released on Axiom’s Valis-Destruction Of The Beat, Volumes I and II and Tetragramatron-Submerge compilations.
Brain has cemenmted his popularity as one of the premiere drummers in contemporary music. He has released an Instructional drum video/DVD for Warner Bros., and has been a regular columnist for DRUM! Magazine. Not content to remain a “mere drummer… burdened with the issue of language”, Brain dedicates himself to expanding his musical vocabulary by unconventional means. His current studies consist of advanced music theory and piano technique, the behavior patterns of African honeybees and the economic science of “subdivisions”.