David Bradley Carter (born December 5, 1973) is an American film and television actor, guitarist, painter, sculptor, and photographer,[1] known for playing Charlie Lange in True Detective and Leland Gruen in Sons of Anarchy.

Brad Carter
Brad Carter (52291634).jpeg
David Bradley Carter

(1973-12-05) December 5, 1973 (age 48)
Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Other namesGuy playing guitar during brain surgery
OccupationActor, guitarist, painter, sculptor, photographer
Years active2007–present
Notable work
True Detective
Sons of Anarchy

After suffering from brain disease and tremors that caused his hands to shake, he underwent brain surgery in 2013, which he recorded and posted on YouTube. The video went viral, and he became known as the "guy playing guitar during brain surgery".[2]

Early life and educationEdit

Carter was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and raised in Macon, Georgia.[3][4] He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Valdosta State University, located in Valdosta, Georgia.[4]


In 2010, Carter made guest appearances in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Disney's Zeke and Luther, Justified, True Blood, and New Girl.[5] He portrayed Rankin in one episode of the Showtime series Dexter, wherein his character was killed.[3][5]

In 2012–13, Carter made guest appearances in The Mentalist, Bones, Longmire, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.[5]

In 2014, Carter made guest appearances in two episodes of HBO's True Detective opposite Matthew McConaughey as Charlie Lange, an ex-husband of murdered Dora Lange, the case around which the series revolves.[5] Later, he portrayed Leland Gruen, an Aryan Brotherhood member, in three episodes of FX's Sons of Anarchy.[3][5][6] Then he played John Stokes, a stockyard master, in the miniseries Ascension.[3][6]

In 2015, Carter starred in the film Dixieland,[3] and portrayed murder victim John McIntyre in Black Mass, directed by Scott Cooper, and based on a true story.[3] Carter appeared in the drama The Revenant (2015), opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu.[6] He will also appear in the upcoming film Eat Me opposite Michael Shamus Wiles, directed by Adrian Cruz.[7]

Brain surgeryEdit

Nader Pouratian, director of UCLA's Neurosurgical Movement Disorders Program, performed brain surgery on Carter twice, in January and March 2013. The first surgery was to implant electrodes in his brain, and the second was to put wires down his neck.[1][8] Carter had first noticed tremors in his hands in 2006, which were misdiagnosed as symptoms of Lyme disease by three specialists.[1] During the operation, Carter needed to be awake for the best results, so his doctors suggested that he play guitar during his operation to see when his tremors weakened.[8]

A video recording was made of Carter's operation, which was later posted on YouTube. The video went viral and received media attention worldwide.[1][2][8] Carter became known as the "guy playing guitar during brain surgery." The hospital staff had requested the video recording to help allay those suffering from similar diseases who were curious about the surgery.[2]



Year Title Role Notes
2007 Avenging Angel Gunman #2 Television film
2008 Night Life Dave Television film
2009 Karma Bitch Pool Man Jim Short film
2010 The Boy Who Stole'd Christmas Wade Short film
2010 Red Dead Redemption: The Man from Blackwater Deputy Marshal Jonah (voice) Short film
2012 One Week Roy Short film
2012 Crash & Burn JT Steckel Television film
2012 Smashed Felix
2013 The Sleepy Man Red Short film
2013 String Theory Clint Short film
2014 Swelter Mechanic
2014 The Gun Crazed Scavener Short film
2015 Untitled Johnny Knoxville Project Jukebox Television film
2015 Dixieland Larry Pretty
2015 Black Mass John McIntyre
2015 Pariah Breeder Television film
2015 The Highway Is for Gamblers Simon
2015 The 7 Sevens Jesse Short film
2015 The Revenant Johnnie Uncredited
2016 Free State of Jones Lt. Barbour
2017 The Scent of Rain and Lightning Billy
2018 Eat Me Bob
2018 Armed Shep/Stew
2018 White Boy Rick Weapon Salesman
2020 Emperor Grady
2021 Old Henry Branigan


Year Title Role Notes
2008 The Riches Billy 1 episode
2009 It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Carney 1 episode
2010 Zeke and Luther Steve 2 episodes
2010 Justified Bobby Joe Packer 2 episodes
2010 True Blood Kris 1 episode
2010 Dexter Rankin Episode: "My Bad"
2010 Criminal Minds Charlie 1 episode
2011 Harry's Law Stevie Kazz 1 episode
2011 Castle Bobby Spurlock 1 episode
2012 House Sheldon Episode: "Runaways"
2012 New Girl Stranger 1 episode
2012 CSI: NY Darius Cole 1 episode
2012 MyMusic Lenny's Dad 1 episode
2012 The Mentalist Phil Rawson 1 episode
2013 Bones Nick Bennett 1 episode
2013 Longmire Riley Manning 1 episode
2013 The Cheerleader Diaries Coach Eugene Hines 6 episodes
2008-2013 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Gerald Tolliver / Rudy 3 episodes
2014 True Detective Charlie Lange 2 episodes
2014 Perception Gary Williams 1 episode
2014 Sons of Anarchy Leland Gruen 4 episodes
2014 Ascension John Stokes 3 episodes - miniseries
2014-2015 Preface to Being Jaded Homeless Man 2 episodes
2018 I'm Poppy Able Abraham Lead role
2022 Ozark Deputy Ronnie Wycoff 3 episodes


Year Title Role
2010 Red Dead Redemption Deputy Marshal Jonah
2010 Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare Deputy Marshal Jonah


  1. ^ a b c d Villacorte, Christina (September 11, 2013). "Actor-musician Brad Carter chases his dream before time runs out". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Skinner, Keven (October 27, 2014). "Brad Carter Teases New Syfy Series Ascension, His Upcoming Album & Final Season of Sons of Anarchy [Interview]". gotham-news.com. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Bierly, Mandi (October 15, 2014). "'Sons of Anarchy': Brad Carter on Leland, and other roles his mom can't watch". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Brad Carter's bio". bradcarter.me. Archived from the original on July 21, 2015. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e Martinez, Carlos (January 30, 2014). "Brad Carter Makes a Splash in 'True Detective'". patch.com. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Yamato, Jen (October 24, 2014). "'Zeroville' Adds Seth Rogen, Megan Fox & More; Brad Carter Lands 'The Revenant;' Noah Segan Enlists in 'War Pigs'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  7. ^ "'Eat Me' Will Test Human Endurance (Exclusive)". Bloody Disgusting. December 5, 2014. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  8. ^ a b c Carroll, Linda (July 10, 2013). "Actor has brain surgery while awake and strumming a guitar". Today. Retrieved July 17, 2015.

External linksEdit