Basic Background Info
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.
Instruments of Choice
Pics & Clips