Brainiac 5 – Vegetable

16th June 2022 · 1970s, 1977, Music, Punk

Brainiac 5 are an oddball entity in the annals of punk, post-punk and New Wave, but they left their mark on me with their 1978 Mushy Doubt EP.

Vegetable is the opening track. It owes a debt to The Ramones – at least with its opening riff and the end, when they start to channel Loudmouth. In between: something else entirely.

The Brainiacs were born out of the free-flowing freak scene in Cornwall, blending the influence of the 1960s San Francisco scene with the emerging energy of punk rock.

I encountered them when they released their debut Mushy Doubt EP in 1978, recorded at the local Roche Studio, and featuring this song alongside others called Trotsky, Endless River and Waiting For The Woman.

Guitarist/vocalists Charles Taylor (aka Charlie Nothing) and Bert Biscoe, bassist John ‘Woody’ Wood and drummer Steve Hudson later collected the songs, along with some new ones and some re-recordings, on a 2014 compilation called When Silence Was Sound.

The bonus tracks include their first two tunes, the much punkier Marilyn Monroe and Natty Punko, recorded in May 1977 and released on an album of local Cornish bands called Double Booked in December 1977 – put together by their local pub in Truro, where they began playing.

The Brainiacs’ only album, World Inside, was produced in 1980 by Hawkwind/Hawklords drummer Martin Griffin but the band had broken up by then and it was not released until 1988.
In 2013 Taylor returned to the UK after 20 years in America and revived the Brainiacs, releasing a new EP, Space Is The Place. Last time I heard they were still going strong.