Bryan Mantia

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Bryan "Brain" Mantia
Primus copenhagen 1998 (cropped).jpg
Bryan Mantia in 1998.
Background information
Birth nameBryan Kei Mantia
Also known asBrain
Bryan "Brain" Mantia
Born (1963-02-04) February 4, 1963 (age 56)
Cupertino, California, United States
Genres Alternative metal, alternative rock, hard rock, funk
Instruments Drums, percussion, turntables
Years active1984–present
Associated actsGiant 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 [note 1] , 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 performers such as Tom Waits, Serj Tankian, Bill Laswell, Bootsy Collins, and Buckethead. He has also done session work for numerous artists and bands.

Primus (band) rock band from the United States

Primus is an American rock band based in San Francisco, California, currently composed of bassist/vocalist Les Claypool, guitarist Larry "Ler" LaLonde and drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander. Primus originally formed in 1984 with Claypool and guitarist Todd Huth, later joined by drummer Jay Lane, though the latter two departed the band at the end of 1988. Featuring LaLonde and Alexander, Primus recorded their debut Suck on This in 1989, followed by four studio albums: Frizzle Fry, Sailing the Seas of Cheese, Pork Soda, and Tales from the Punchbowl. Alexander left the band in 1996, replaced by Bryan "Brain" Mantia, and Primus went on to record the original theme song for the TV show South Park and two more albums, Brown Album and Antipop, before declaring a hiatus in 2000.

Guns N Roses American hard rock band formed in 1985

Guns N' Roses, often abbreviated as GNR, is an American hard rock band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 1985. When they signed to Geffen Records in 1986, the band comprised vocalist Axl Rose, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Steven Adler. The current lineup consists of Rose, Slash, McKagan, keyboardist Dizzy Reed, guitarist Richard Fortus, drummer Frank Ferrer and keyboardist Melissa Reese.

Praxis was the name of an experimental rock project, led by producer/bassist Bill Laswell and featuring guitarist Buckethead and drummer Bryan "Brain" Mantia in nearly every incarnation of the band.



Mantia was born February 4, 1963, in the South Bay city of Cupertino, California to an Italian-American father and a Japanese American mother. [2] As a teenager, Mantia became interested in artists as James Brown, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix, acts that featured groove-heavy sounds. [3] When he was 16 years old, he started playing drums. Because of his 'obsessive' study of the drum book Portraits in Rhythm, Mantia was given the nickname "Brain" by members of his high school concert band. [3]

Cupertino, California City in California in California

Cupertino is a U.S. city in Santa Clara County, California, directly west of San Jose on the western edge of the Santa Clara Valley with portions extending into the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The population was 58,302 as of the 2010 census.

Led Zeppelin English rock band

Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of vocalist Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham. Along with Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, the band's heavy, guitar-driven sound has led them to be cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal. Their style drew from a wide variety of influences, including blues, psychedelia and folk music.

Jimi Hendrix American guitarist, singer and songwriter

James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as "arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music".

Mantia attended the Percussion Institute of Technology in Hollywood, California during the mid-80's to further hone his craft. [3] During this time, he was a member of local funk-rock band named the Limbomaniacs (which would later become part of Ben Wa). [3] In 1989, Mantia joined Primus briefly, before breaking his foot, forcing him to pull out of the band. [3]

Musicians Institute college of contemporary music located in Hollywood, California

Musicians Institute (MI) is a for-profit college of contemporary music in Hollywood, California. MI students can earn Certificates and — with transfer of coursework taken at Los Angeles City College — Associate of Arts Degrees, as well as Bachelor of Music Degrees in either Performance or Composition. The college was founded in 1977.

Ben Wa was an American electronic band from Oakland, California comprising "House"(programming and bass guitar) and Eric Ware, who had worked together before in bands such as Limbomaniacs, Big Janitor, and MCM & the Monster.

In the early '90s, he joined Praxis, a musical project led by Bill Laswell featuring Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins and Mantia's long-time friend Buckethead. Mantia recorded with Buckethead on many of Buckethead's solo albums, including Monsters and Robots , Colma , The Cuckoo Clocks of Hell , and Bucketheadland 2 , among others.

Bill Laswell American musician

William Otis Laswell is an American bass guitarist, record producer, and record label owner. He has been involved in thousands of recordings with many collaborators from all over the world. His music draws from funk, world music, jazz, dub and ambient styles.

Bernie Worrell American musician and composer

George Bernard "Bernie" Worrell, Jr. was an American keyboardist and composer best known as a founding member of Parliament-Funkadelic and for his work with Talking Heads. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic. Worrell was described by Jon Pareles of The New York Times as "the kind of sideman who is as influential as some bandleaders."

Bootsy Collins American musician

William Earl "Bootsy" Collins is an American musician and singer-songwriter.

Mantia appeared on releases by the industrial metal band Godflesh in the late 90's, including Songs of Love and Hate , and Love and Hate in Dub . In 1996, Mantia rejoined Primus, touring with and recording for four years with the group, appearing on The Brown Album, Rhinoplasty and Antipop. [3]

Godflesh English industrial metal band

Godflesh are an English industrial metal band from Birmingham, England. The group formed in 1982 under the title Fall of Because but did not release any complete music until 1988 when Justin Broadrick and G. C. Green (bass) renamed the band and decided to use a drum machine for percussion. Melding heavy metal with industrial music and later with electronic music and dub, Godflesh's innovative sound is widely regarded as a foundational influence on other industrial metal and post-metal acts and as significant to both experimental metal and extreme metal.

<i>Songs of Love and Hate</i> (Godflesh album) 1996 studio album by Godflesh

Songs of Love and Hate is the fourth studio album by English industrial metal band Godflesh. Released on 20 August 1996 through Earache Records, it is the band's first album to feature live drums, played by drummer Bryan Mantia, and a more traditional heavy metal sound, generally lacking the experimental and mechanical elements of previous releases. The cover is a photograph of Cancer Alley, Louisiana.

<i>Love and Hate in Dub</i> 1997 remix album by Godflesh

Love and Hate in Dub is remix album by industrial metal band Godflesh released on 24 June 1997 through Earache Records. The remixed songs are sourced from their 1996 album Songs of Love and Hate, and they adopt a more ambient, dub and drum and bass flavor.

In March 2000, Mantia joined the revamped lineup of Guns N' Roses after being recommended to singer Axl Rose by Buckethead (who himself had joined the band a few months earlier). [4] [5]

Axl Rose American singer-songwriter and musician

W. Axl Rose is an American singer, songwriter, record producer and musician. He is the lead vocalist of the hard rock band Guns N' Roses, and has also been the band's sole constant member since its inception in 1985. In addition to Guns N' Roses, he also toured with Australian rock band AC/DC in 2016 during the final 2 legs of their Rock or Bust World Tour when Brian Johnson took a break due to hearing problems. Rose has been named one of the greatest singers of all time by various media outlets, including Rolling Stone and NME.

In 2003, Mantia appeared on several songs on BT's 2003 release Emotional Technology as well BT's score for the 2003 film Monster . [6] [7]

Mantia toured several legs of the Chinese Democracy Tour with Guns N' Roses from 2000 until 2006, when he left the band to take care of his newborn child. [8] Frank Ferrer, originally brought in as just a replacement drummer for the tour, eventually replaced Mantia as full time drummer for the band. Chinese Democracy was released in 2008, and featured drums from Mantia on every track except the title track. Mantia was also credited with writing the songs "Shackler's Revenge" and "Sorry". Parts of Mantia's drumming on the album were note-for-note re-recordings of Josh Freese's parts, who left the band before Mantia joined. [9] [10] Mantia was also responsible for arrangements on "Shackler's Revenge", "Better", "Street of Dreams", "There Was a Time", "Sorry", "Madagascar", and "Prostitute, initial production on "Shackler's Revenge" and "Sorry", engineering on "Sorry", drum machine and drum programming on "I.R.S." and Logic Pro engineering for the entire album.

After leaving the band, Mantia made a guest appearance (alongside fellow former GNR member Robin Finck) at Guns N' Roses' House of Blues West Hollywood show on March 12, 2012. Mantia played congas on "You're Crazy" and "Rocket Queen". He continued to occasionally work for the band on yet to be released remix material. [8]

Since leaving Guns N' Roses, Mantia has primarily been focused on music behind the scenes as a composer and producer.

Mantia had a brief stint drumming with The Crystal Method in 2013 and 2014 (alongside Guns N' Roses guitarist Richard Fortus). [11] These performances included appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Last Call with Carson Daly [12] [13]

In 2017, Mantia toured with Buckethead and Dan Monti as part of Buckethead's live show. [14]


Mantia drumming for Buckethead in 2017. Bux 1.jpg
Mantia drumming for Buckethead in 2017.

Mantia has partnered with musician Melissa Reese on several projects, a composing team dubbed "Brain and Melissa". [15] 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. [16] 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). [17] 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. [18] 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. [19] 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 . [20]


Information sourced from "Bryan Mantia's Drum setup". [21]


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

Giant Robot
Tom Waits
El Stew
No Forcefield
Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains
Serj Tankian
Buckethead and Travis Dickerson
Guns N' Roses
Science Faxtion
Travis Dickerson


  1. Frequently misspelled as "Brian Mantia"

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