Brad Warner was born in Hamilton, Ohio in 1964. His family traveled for his father's job and Warner spent some time in Nairobi, Kenya but grew up mainly near Akron, Ohio and attended Kent State University. As a teenager Warner got into the music of the 1960s and hardcore punk, and a friend of his took him to a show by Zero Defex. He auditioned for and joined the band after finding out they needed a bass guitarist. He began practicing Zen Buddhism under his first teacher, Tim McCarthy. Warner later studied with Gyomay Kubose.
He has played with Dimentia 13. After the financial failure of his Dimentia 13 albums, Warner got a job in Japan with the JET Programme, and then later in 1994 with Tsuburaya Productions who made Ultraman. Warner played the roles of various foreigners in their programs. While in Japan he met and trained with Gudo Wafu Nishijima, who ordained him as a priest.
He agreed to write articles for SuicideGirls, the online soft porn site.
In 2007 he directed the documentary film Cleveland’s Screaming, which depicts the punk rock scene in Akron and Cleveland in the 1980s.
In 2008 Warner lost his job with the Japanese company he had been working for in the States and as of January 2009 he was self-employed.
In 2007, Gudo Wafu Nishijima named Warner the leader of Dogen Sangha International which Nishijima had founded. Warner dissolved the organization in April 2012.
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