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D.B.C. (Dead Brain Cells)

Websites:  https://www.facebook.com/dbcdeadbraincells, https://www.dbcuniverse.com/
Origin: Montréal, Québec, 🇨🇦

Picture: DBC opening for Corrosion of Conformity at the Spectrum in 1987
Joined MOCM Apr 18, 2024

80's Thrash Speed metal from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. One of the first Montreal bands to get signed to a US label. Their debut album, Dead Brain Cells, was a brutal combination of thrash metal and hardcore. Their second release, Universe, was a concept album and went in a more technical speed metal direction. Pioneers in Quebec heavy metal.

Combat Records Biography 1989
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."

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 continue 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 have been 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 on Galy records. 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 for Fido. 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 'Hell Freezes Over' Festival.
DBC re-releases original two albums on vinyl on War on Music.

DBC Plays Ottawa.

DBC Plays Ottawa & Montreal.

DBC starts work on new material.

DBC puts writing music on hold because of global pandemic, COVID-19. DBC signs with Season of Mist for T-shirts and Hoodies to be released in 2021. DBC plans to release the 2 first albums and a new CD of demos with Divebomb records in February 2021.

DBC getting ready to record a couple of tracks with Louis Levesque on drums.



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D.B.C. (Dead Brain Cells)


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