Canadian thrash outfit Dead Brain Cells begins as a semi-serious side-project
with drummer Jeff St. Louis and local personality Dave Javex from Vomit
and the Zits. After only a few practices, the "joke" is coming
up with some impressive material.
Combat Records releases 'Dead Brain Cells'. Produced by Randy Burns
(Nuclear Assault, Ludichrist), the 13-song LP establishes DBC as a leading
underground force. A solid thrash piece with socially conscious lyrics
displaying an interesting hardcore inclination (especially in songs
such as "Outburst" and "Lies", Dead Brain Cells
elicits favorable reviews from Faces, Metal Hammer, Burn, and others.
Several tracks hint at a promising, unconventional approach that bodes
well for the future.
Universe, the fruition and sum of these elements, finally arrives. Nothing
short of a full-blown concept work (replete with bibliography), Universe
is DBC's exploration of the origin of the cosmos and its indigenous
life forms, up to and including the future. Bassist/vocalist/lyricist
Phil Dakin explains "It starts with 'The Genesis Explosion', which
is about the origins of the universe through the formation of the solar
system and so on. Each song is a chapter in this story, even the instrumental
'Exit the Giants' deals with the extinction of the dinosaurs. 'Rise
of Man' is self explanatory, while 'Threshold' is man's confrontation
with the future and with what he has to do in order to survive."
In tackling these bold new territories, the members of DBC implemented
a surprisingly innovative change of direction. Guitarists Gerry Ouellette
and Eddie Shahini have refined their once Slayer-esque attack into a
classically oriented approach, while the Dakin/ St. Louis rhythm section
oversees these careful orchestrations with painstaking precision. The
power of their 1987 debut remains, and is intensified at points by the
radical new bent Dakin defines as"brainmetal".
"We've really matured," Dakin concludes. "We've found
our direction. It's not as hardcore as the first LP. We've learned to
bring out moods by the way we put things together. The lyrics are more
scientific, less sociological. You'd really have to hear it to understand."
of DBC According to Ed
After hearing Slayer's debut album 'Show Know Mercy' Gerry and I decided
we wanted to start a band. Gerry & I have been friends since grade
5, we both got into Metal at the same time. We started writing songs
together but had problems finding a drummer. We decided to put an ad
up looking for a drummer, we called ourselves Final Chapter. We got
two responses, one from a drummer that we jammed with once, he wasn't
up to the challenge of playing our style. The other response was from
Mike Zabo, a local hardcore show promoter, and lead singer for Genetic
Control, a Montreal hardcore band. Mike wanted us to join his band but
it never worked out. He started writing lyrics for the songs Gerry &
I had written, while always searching for a drummer.
Dave Javex, the lead singer for Vomit and the Zits, introduced us to
Jeff, his drummer, to start a fun project on the side. We got Phil,
who I met in college, to switch from guitar to bass, the band was complete.
We had our first jam on February 4th, we completed 4 songs that night.
Now we just needed a name, since it was Javex that got us together,
he came up with the name. The choices were The Mental Pukes, The Retarded
Assholes or Dead Brain Cells. We decided on Dead Brain Cells. We started
jamming regularly, and started to develop a set list, but Javex couldn't
pull his weight. We decided to replace Javex with Cory Lowe, the lead
singer from The Unruled, a Montreal punk band. Again it didn't work
out, so we got Phil to sing and play bass at the same time. Things really
came together then, the songs & lyrics were getting better. We did
our first show at the Rising Sun, on May 24. The response from the crowd
was great, we knew we were onto something. We also took on a manager,
Norman Pichette, a promoter for the Foufounes Electriques, a counterculture
bar in Montreal. We recorded a demo that summer and played about 3 more
shows. Then we got a break to play with Slayer in front of a couple
of thousand people. That night there was a scout from Combat records
in the audience. He managed to get a copy of our demo from Phil's girlfriend,
Sophie. He offered to sign us for a 6 album contract, of course we accepted.
Nine months of being together and we were signed to a record deal.
We spent a lot of time jamming and writing for our debut album, we went
into the studio from March 16th to April 4th, at Victor Studio. We got
Randy Burns, who produced Megadeth's second album, to produce it. It
was a great learning experience & we had a whole lot of fun. We
played a lot of local shows mainly at the Foufounes & Black Lite.
We released the album that year and got a lot of great reviews from
magazines to fanzines.
The year was spent still doing local shows but now we started to do
a bit more shows out of Montreal, like Quebec City & Toronto. We
started to write songs for the second album. We changed the style a
bit, going a bit more technical musically & scientific lyrically.
In June we recorded our second demo, which included the first side from
'Universe'. Later in the year we went to Tempo studio to record it,
this time we had Garth Richardson to produce it.
We released 'Universe' that year, the reception was divided, some people
praised it, some weren't to happy with it. We always tried to get into
the US for a tour but something always went wrong, that summer our dream
came true. Our first US tour, which began on July 29th to August 17th,
it included the Midwest & east coast. Leaving on the journey was
our usual roadie Ben Base, and a local roadie Randy Biro. We had a great
time, played a lot of good shows and met a lot of cool people. We played
our first show in Long Island New York, backing up our favorite band
at the time, Bad Brains. When we got back we were tighter than ever,
we also started to make frequent appearances on Musique Plus, which
is the equivalent to MTV in Quebec. We had our first one hour special
which included a slide show of pictures from the tour. We also made
our video 'The Genesis Explosion' that year, which got a lot of airplay.
The year started off great, with the beginning of our second US tour.
It occurred from January 5th to the 27th. Our usual roadie Ben Base
came along, but this time we got Mario, from Northern Vultures to drive
us. We drove from Montreal to San Francisco straight, it took us three
days. The tour was a big circle from California, Arizona, Texas, Florida
to New York and back to Montreal. We had two drivers who quit on us,
I'm surprised we made it back home. On the brighter side, once again
we had a great time, we backed up Laaz Rocket on this one, who were
a whole lot of fun. Devastation went on before us. We got to see Disneyland,
the Grand Canyon, and Nasa. That summer we recorded our third demo for
our third release. The record company was a little hesitant and wanted
to hear more.
We recorded another demo for our third release, when the record company
found out how much we wanted for the recording & another video,
they backed out of the contract. The recession had just begun and Combat
was 'trimming the fat'. We tried to find another record company, but
to no avail. We played our last show that year.
Phil moves to Toronto, Eddie & Jeff contiune to jam writing new
music. Gerry joins in on the jams once and a while.
Gerry Ouellette, guitarist of DBC, dies on November 12.
Finally, the 2 demos including 6 songs that were to be released as a
third album are available for the first time on CD (a limited edition
of 100 cassettes had been released in 3 Montreal stores in the early
90s). The 6 tracks havebeen remastered for the CD in March 2002 to obtain
a better sound quality. This compact disc will give a new generation
of metal fans the opportunity to discover the legendary Montreal band
they heard of so often. Long time fans will also be satisfied because
the 2 first albums of Dead Brain Cells (DBC) have been out of print
for many years and are wanted by many people.
Eddie, Phil, &
Jeff start jamming again after many years.
DBC's official website goes online.
DBC reunites and plays 5 songs on New Year's at L'X, with Daniel Mongrain
from Martyr on guitar.
'The Genesis Explosion' is featured in a cross-Canada television commercial
Dead Brain Cells Music re-releases 'Universe' on CD.
DBC plays at the 'Universe' release party at the Lion d'Or on June 18.
Dead Brain Cells Music re-releases 'Dead Brain Cells' on CD.
DBC plays the Montreal Metal Massacre Fest on December 10th with Lying
Truth, Aggression, Exciter, Anvil, Piledriver and Razor.
Halifax native Jay Quinn (North End Metal All-Stars) joins as lead guitarist.
DBC plays the 25 Years of Quebec Metal on September 1st at Club Soda, celebrating the 80's.
DBC plays Toronto at the Glory For Steel 4 show with Razor.
Original DBC drummer Jeff St. Louis retires, Halifax native Graham Ferguson (Terratomb, Hellacaust) joins.
DBC releases available on iTunes.
DBC headlines in Halifax at the 'Hells Freezes Over' Festival.
DBC rereleases original two albums on vinyl on War on Music.