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 57)
Cupertino, California, U.S.
Years active1984–present
Associated acts

Bryan Kei "Brain" Mantia [note 1] 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.



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]

Mantia attended the Percussion Institute of Technology in Hollywood, California during the mid-1980s 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]

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.

Mantia appeared on releases by the industrial metal band Godflesh in the late 1990s, 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]

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]

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"

Related Research Articles

<i>Brown Album</i> 1997 studio album by Primus

Brown Album is the fifth studio album by the American rock band Primus. It was released on July 8, 1997. It was the band's first album with new drummer Bryan "Brain" Mantia, who replaced former drummer Tim Alexander. The album has received a mixed reception from critics and fans.

Paul H. Tobias is an American guitarist best known for his involvement with hard rock band Guns N' Roses, with whom he has collaborated since 1994.

Richard Fortus American musician

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Robin Finck American musician

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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.

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  21. "Brian "Brain" Mantia's drum setup". Retrieved January 10, 2018.