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Dead Brain Cells

Definitely not one of the more easier listening bands, they remain one of the most under-estimated bands of thrash metal: Dead Brain Cells. I talked to Eddie Shahini, guitarist, co-composer, vocalist & backing vocalist in the band. My first question was to share some details on the recording process of the 1987 debut album 'Dead Brain Cells' which was released through Combat Records…

By: Koen B. | Archive under speed / thrash metal

We got Randy Burns as our producer because he worked with Megadeth and Suicidal Tendencies. All the songs were written so we just had to go in the studio and record them. It was great experience because it was the first time most of us have been recorded, only Jeff St. Louis, our drummer, recorded before with Vomit & the Zits. We learnt a lot about the recording process.

Two years later, 'Universe' was released. Both albums received excellent reviews, but that was that. No tour in Europe, no promotion, what was the reason for that?
We never got to tour Europe, which was our dream, we had a lot of trouble getting into the U.S. and that's next door to us. We didn't even get much promotion in the States, I think the record company had too many bands, and didn't know what to do with us. My dream is still to visit Europe, I went when I was a child but I must return.

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In 1991, D.B.C. disbanded, after the second U.S. tour and after recording a new demo for the third release. What was the reason for that, the changing musical climate, lack of interest from labels and promoters or personal circumstances?
We did a three song demo for the record company and they weren't sure about it, so they asked for three more songs. At the same time we were asking for a lot more money than what was in our contract because videos were becoming popular and we felt we needed one. Plus the North American economy just started to go into recession, all these factors led to Combat dropping us. We tried looking for a new record company, a few we interested but nothing materialized, so after time we just fell apart.

Gerry Ouellette, guitarist of DBC, died on November 12, 1994. It must have been quite a shock I suppose?
It wasn't a shock in a surprising way, because we knew he had HIV a few years earlier and that it became full-blown AIDS, the shock was that he was gone. He was my best friend from grade five, he had no siblings, neither did I, so we were like brothers. Very sad time of my life, I think about him all the time, and every time we perform we dedicate a song to him.

The demo was released as a self financed CD. Any details on that particular release and how to order it?
'Unreleased' is a CD that contains the six songs we demoed for Combat, I felt that people should hear it. It was dedicated to Gerry's life, memory and music, a real collector's item. It can be ordered on the DBC web site,http://www.dbcuniverse.com,I think they are some of the best songs we wrote and I liked the direction the band was going in.

In 2003, the band re-united and played five songs on New Years Eve with Daniel Mongrain
from Martyr on guitar. Was this a one-time event or is DBC still alive and well?

This was not a one time deal, we played in Montreal in June 2005 as a trio, which was very fun, plus we are playing in Montreal on December 10th 2005 at the Montreal Metal Massacre Festival, there are seven Canadian metal bands from the 80's, now that should be a real fun show!

Are you involved in other projects at the moment or are there plans in that direction?
No other projects, but I would love to record again, anybody interested in recording a bunch of songs from the guitarist in DBC?

In daily life, you are a graphic artist and a website designer. Where can we see some of your work?
I work full time as a graphic artist for a company and in the evening I do a little freelance for myself. You can see some of my work athttp://www.illustratica.com.If you band needs a CD cover, you know who to get in touch with…heh heh

Any chance of a DBC re-union tour in Europe or some gigs abroad at festivals?
I highly doubt it, because we all work full time, plus I have a little daughter and a baby on the way, due in November. But once again I have to say the going to Europe is my life-time dream and I will come to visit but not to play, unless there is someone rich right now reading this and wants to fly us out there, we're coming!

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DBC's song 'The Genesis Explosion' is featured in a cell phone commercial campaign. How did this happen?
A guy who used to work with Jeff, works for the ad agency that did the commercial, he always liked that song, got in touch with Jeff and we agreed. It was a fun commercial and was played all across Canada. They played the song in the commercial plus showed a cell phone with our name on it, it was great promotion for us.

You still are busy with the band every day in your life. Re-releasing albums, releasing dvd's, doing interviews. What can we expect in the near future from DBC or you personally?
Yes, I am very busy with my work and family, plus once in a while sending out orders for DBC stuff and writing interviews…like this one. I'm getting ready to re-release our first album 'Dead Brain Cells' on CD, plus getting a new design for t-shirts. I'm practicing tonight with DBC, Phil Dakin, our bass player and singer, is coming from Toronto, plus our guest guitarist for the next show, Quinn from Terratomb, is flying in from Halifax. Should be a fun jamming weekend.

What do you know about the Dutch hard rock and heavy metal scene?
The only thing I know is that we must have a following, because I keep mailing merchandise to the Netherlands. I love the Dutch people because they have not forgotten Canada's role in liberating them in World War II. We are family!

Any last words you like to share with the world?
As Ozzy says “I love you all!” and keep listening to DBC!

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