“Dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, he’s fucking dead, the guy from Brainiac is fucking dead. I want this to mean something to every fucking one of you.”
-Jeff Buckley, 26th June 1997
Buckley’s words were from his own final performance before he, too, died in a tragic accident, less than a week later. The band he was referring to never made it big in their time. Still proclaimed by many to be the Most Underrated Band Ever, their prescience, nearly 15 years later, is striking. The man euloguzed by Buckley was Tim Taylor, and Brainiac died when, at 28, he lost control of his Mercedes, crashing the car, which then exploded.
Tim and bassist Juan Monstaterio had played strings together in their school orchestra in Dayton, Ohio, where the band formed. Brainiac became known for their frenzied live playing, their often disturbing imagery, and their sheer exuberance in the post-Grunge 90’s. Taylor was the frontman, but he also played keyboards – at a time when that wasn’t cool – and he fronted the band with intensity. Their live shows became legendary for their unchecked energy and experimentalism, and for Taylor’s OTT showmanship, playing on guitar or Moog synthesizer, screaming and freaking out. They toured variously with Beck, The Breeders and The Jesus Lizard – can you imagine how great that show would have been? Brainiac’s fans include The Mars Volta and Trent Reznor. They were way ahead of their time.
“I am a cracked machine,” screamed Timmy Taylor, and believe you me, you believed him. “I am a cracked machine/I am a god-wine hussy/I am your favorite DJ/a blip on the screen/I am a cracked machine/I am a hot-shot robot/chart my position, I guarantee/you cannot get to me.”