Basic Background Info

Birth: 1964
Location: Cupertino, California
Band: Primus, Guns N' Roses, Praxis, Limbomaniacs, M.I.R.V., Giant Robot, Bullmark, Buckethead, Godflesh, Pieces, El Stew, No Forcefielfd, Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains, Opafire, Tom Waits, Kimya Dawson, Science Faxtion, Serj Tankian
Genres: Rock, Metal, Funk
Instruments: Drums
Occupation: Musician, Producer, Instructor



Born in 1964 in Cupertino, California, Bryan Mantia began playing the drums at sixteen. Bryan Mantia's mom took him to a shopping mall to see Buddy Rich perform and Brian recalled, "I was just floored." In addition to Buddy Rich's influence, Mantia attributes inspiration to Toy Williams, Ornette Coleman, Stewart Copeland, John Bonham, Sly Stone, Steve Copeland, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. During high school, Bryan Mantia earned the nickname 'Brain' for his close study of "Portraits in Rhythm" by Anthony Cirone. He grew obsessed with perfecting the exercises in the book after learning that Terry Bozzio transcribed it for the drums.

Bryan Mantia studied at both the Percussion Institute of Technology at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California, and San Jose State University. In the 1980s, Bryan Mantia joined the Limbomaniacs and spent a few years with playing with Kelly Smith, M.I.R.V., and House, but the band eventually dissolved. In 1989 the members reunited (with Pete Scaturro replacing Kelly Smith on vocals) and released the album Stinky Grooves in 1990. During the hiatus of Limbomaniacs and also after their album release, Bryan Mantia played with a range of artists, such as MCM and the Monster, Big City, Mongrels x 10, Curveball, Smiley and the Gay Boys, Tom Waits, and several cover bands.

Bryan Mantia joined Bill Laswell, Bootsy Collins, Brian Worrell, and DJ Af of Praxis and eventually brought his friend Buckethead on board as well. Praxis released six albums together under the guidance of producer of Bill Laswell. Bryan Mantia next joined Godflesh to record the album Love and Hate in Dub, but he declined to tour with them, instead, Bryan Mantia joined Primus for the second time in 1996. (In 1989, he joined for about two weeks before breaking his foot in a skateboard accident.) Bryan Mantia, Larry LaLonde, and Les Claypool toured and recorded together for nearly three years, until Mantia left the band.

Axl Rose invited Bryan Mantia to join his retooled Guns N' Roses in 2000. Once again, Bryan Mantia haggled to get Buckethead an invitation as well. They quickly recorded Chinese Democracy and began touring. In January of 2001 Guns N' Roses performed at Rock in Rio 2 in front of more than 200,000 people. Bryan Mantia (and Buckethead, who replaced Slash) continued to sporadically tour with GNR. During breaks from touring, Bryan Mantia worked on various projects, such as Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Beans with Les Claypool, Buckethead, and Bernie Worrell. They released one album and toured supporting that album.

Over the summer of 2006, Bryan Mantia took leave from the GNR European tour when his wife gave birth to their daughter Kei. Although still officially a member of the band, drummer Frank Ferrer (also an ëofficial memberí of the band) has been touring with them recently.

In 1991, Bryan Mantia released the video, Brain's Lessons: Shredding Repis of the Gnar Gnar Rad, which quickly became a cult-favorite. This entertaining educational video features Bryan Mantia breaking down beats such as go-go and funk, with a very home-movie feel. In 2007 Mantia released Brain Has Made the Worst Drum Instructional DVD Ever, with a similar homey film style but loaded with satire. The DVD is full of mockumentaries and cursing by a character dressed as a Catholic priest. Although Bryan Mantia briefly discusses the 2 and 4 (the backbeat) and plays duos with Buckethead and DJ Disc, the video is minimally instructional.


Album Year Album Name Album Band
1990 Opafire Opafire
1991 Sailing the Seas of Cheese Primus
1992 Transmutation Praxis
1994 Sacrifist Praxis
1995 Richochet Sun Opafire
1996 Giant Robot Giant Robot
1996 Interstate 76 Soundtrack Bullmark
1996 Metatron Praxis
1996 Songs of Love and Hate Godflesh
1997 Brown Album Primus
1997 I Need 5 Minutes Alone Pieces
1997 Live in Poland Praxis
1998 Colma Buckethead
1998 Rhinoplasty Primus
1999 Antipop Primus
1999 Monsters & Robots Buckethead
1999 No Hesitation El Stew
1999 Warszawa Praxis
2000 Hold On Tom Waits
2000 Leeís Oriental Massage †415-626-1837†††††††† No Forcefield
2000 Tony Furtado Band Tony Furtado Band
2001 God Is an Excuse No Forcefield
2001 In All Languages Godflesh
2002 Balling the Jack: Birth of Nu-Blues Various Artists
2002 Rock in Rio III Guns Ní Roses
2003 Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People Primus
2003 Emotional Technology BT
2003 Mule Variations Tom Waits
2004 Cuckoo Clocks of Hell Buckethead
2004 Hidden Vagenda Kimya Dawson
2004 Real Gone Tom Waits
2004 The Big Eyeball in the Sky Colonel Claypoolís Bucket of Bernie Brains
2006 Zurich Praxis
2007 Elect the Dead Serj Tankian
2007 Kevin's Noodle House Buckethead
2008 Science Faxtion Science Faxtion
2008 Profanation Praxis
2008 Chinese Democracy Guns N' Roses
2008 Dragons of Eden Buckethead and Travis Dickerson
2009 A Real Diamond in the Rough Buckethead
2009 Iconography Travis Dickerson
2010 Best Regards Buckethead
2010 Brain as Hamenoodle Buckethead
2010 Kind Regards Buckethead
2010 Imperfect Harmonies Serj Tankian


  • His name is often misspelled as 'Brian.'
  • Mantia, Larry LaLonde, and Les Claypool wrote and performed the South Park theme song. South Park creator Matt Stone produced Primus' album "Antipop."
  • Bryan participated in ad sessions for Disney, Levi's, Toyota, Acura, and Activision.
  • He worked on soundtracks for Monster, Mortal Combat, trailers for Charlie's Angels 2 and T3, and Japanese television shows Ultraman, Dragon Ball Z, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and many Sega games.
  • Bryan studies advanced music theory, piano technique, African honeybees, and the economics of subdivisions.

Instruments of Choice



Drums: Drum Workshop
Cymbals: Zildjian
Hardware: Drum Workshop
Heads: Remo
Electronics: Akai, Technics, Vestax
Percussion: Latin Percussion
Sticks: Vic Firth

Pics & Clips