This week marks the 17-year anniversary of the passing of Brainiac’s Timmy Taylor. The wildly original 3RA1N1AC were at the forefront of a creative swell that hit Dayton, OH in the 1990s. While the underdog city—the homebase of Misra—is no stranger to innovation (the airplane, the cash register, the starter motor, Zapp & Roger, The Ohio Players, etc. all being born in Dayton), it seemed to be a particularly imaginative time.
Bands like The Breeders, Guided By Voices, Cage, Swearing at Motorists, A Ten O’Clock Scholar, Cigarhead (and so many more) were all buzzing about town. One could head to Canal Street Tavern, The Sub Galley, The Lithuanian Club, The Chameleon Club, Trader Vic’s, Gem City Records, Network, etc. and feel the excitement in the air. All-ages shows were frequent; the whole community was involved.
Alas, I think many heard and saw and believed that Brainiac were The One. The chemistry and ingenuity the four members possessed (Timmy, Juan Monasterio, John Schmersal, and Tyler Trent) seemed otherworldly. It was truly something special. Though it comes nowhere close to displaying the band’s magnitude, you can glean a distorted impression below:
After working with Kim Deal of The Breeders/Pixies, playing Lollapalooza, touring with Beck, and releasing albums on Touch & Go and Grass, the band was posed to sign a substantial recording agreement with Interscope Records. Pre-production for Brainiac’s fourth album was in motion when founder and front-man Timmy Taylor passed away in a car accident on May 23, 1997. A memorial show featuring The Breeders, Guided By Voices, Swearing at Motorists, Mink, and Lazy was held in Dayton shortly after.
Taylor’s effect is still very much alive today. Everyone from The Wrens to The Mars Volta to Nine Inch Nails have cited 3RA1N1AC as an influence. He was a phenomenal artist that had a beautiful and unparalleled impact on so many. Let us celebrate the life of Timmy Taylor.
NOTE: This piece originally ran on Donewaiting — Ohio’s main independent music blog. It was written by Misra overseer Leo DeLuca.
NOTE REDUX: It’s a long, tedious story, but 3RA1N1AC were labelmates with The Wrens back in the day. DeLuca’s old band Southeast Engine (SEE) opened for The Wrens in Ohio — DeLuca geeked with The Wrens over Brainiac ad infinitum. In turn, The Wrens watched SEE’s set and, apparently, liked what they saw enough to put in a good word with Misra Records. SEE signed on with Misra a couple months later.
A few years down the line, DeLuca ended up at the helm of Misra Records. He showed the Donewaiting piece to John Schmersal (Brainiac, Crooks On Tape, Enon, Caribou, Vertical Scratchers); Schmersal sent along the debut recordings for Crooks On Tape and C.O.T. signed on with Misra. 3RA1N1AC!