The Brains go to Hell ’N Back 

Montreal psychobilly zombies, The Brains, invade Whistler with infectious, energetic live performance for punk rock purists


Who: The Brains & Carpenter

When: Sunday, May 31

Where: Garfinkel's

Cost: $10 in advance at Billabong, Katmandu & The Hub

Garnering praise like, "This band is going to kick down your door, eat your brains and start a pit in your living room - and you'll like it," from the punk music source, Interpunk, you can bet that The Brains have what it takes to rock a room, even in a party-hardy town like Whistler.

It's really no mystery, with guys like Frank O'Brains on drums, Johnny Montreal manning the bass, and the undead Rene De la Muerte leading the bunch, that every show is jam-packed with good, clean psychobilly fun and costumed craziness.

"Its 110 per cent pure energy," O'Brains said. "We put everything we have into our live sets. We do our best to entertain and we're really into what we do, so it shows we're on stage. We move around, talk to the audience, make them sing along - just really make a big party and everyone's invited!"

On Monday morning, the three-piece group was on the road making its way from Lethbridge, Alberta, accompanied by their roadie, Chris, to Kelowna for yet another stop along their western tour.

The Brains have played Whistler before - two times, actually - and say that playing to a young, open-minded crowd is a positive experience.

"The last time we played there it was great - it was packed and people liked us a lot," O'Brains recalled.

But before The Brains came to be, Montreal and O'Brains actually played in another band, The Ripchords, back in the early '90s. The two became good friends through their musical pursuits, and about 20 years later, finally decided to try their hand at a different genre, a far different genre: psychobilly.

De la Muerte points out that alcohol played a key role in uniting the three to become The Brains 10 years ago in their hometown of Montreal.

"We used to get drunk at this bar..." he recalled. "We became friends and started playing music together."

Essentially, the three were drawn to the world of psychobilly, which is riddled with overtones of horror and punk, because it seemed to be fun. And that's really the name of the game for this band: fun.

"It's easy: we want to go, play, have fun and hopefully people who come to the shows have fun, too," O'Brains said.

Over the years, the group has had the chance to collaborate with and perform alongside a number of other well-known psychobilly groups, like The Creepshow. And though they definitely look the part, O'Brains points out that their sound is distinctly pure punk rock.


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