November 11, 2016 12:15 PM   Subscribe

While undeniably contemporaries of seminal '90s Seattle groups like Alice in Chains, Mudhoney and Nirvana, TAD diverged from their peers. While the term "grunge" served as a pitifully poor catch-all for the not-quite-metal and not-quite-punk sounds coming out of the city at the time, the flannel-flying oddball quartet of Kurt Danielson, Steve Wied, Gary Thorstensen and Tad Doyle started out wanting to make the ugliest music they could, albeit imbued with an insular sense of humor. For their transgressive approach, TAD were beloved by their peers, playing and touring alongside them all over the world as their modest city rose in stature as the new model for rock’s future.

Earlier this month, Sub Pop finally reissued three expanded and remastered records from the Seattle group’s early catalog — 1989’s God’s Balls, 1990’s Salt Lick EP and 1991’s 8-Way Santa — featuring the classic lineup. On the week of their release, I spoke with the ever-humble Doyle to discuss the process behind the reissue campaign, what it was like working with three of the most important alt-rock producers of the '90s and his thoughts about TAD’s place in heavy music history.
posted by josher71 (16 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Nice. I saw Tad back in early '90 (or late '89) with Nirvana in Ann Arbor. That was a great show from beginning to end.
posted by NoMich at 12:26 PM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thanks for posting this - every once in a while over the course of the last 20 years, I've wondered, "whatever happened to Tad?" I still don't really know, but I'm glad he seems to be doing OK.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:43 PM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

I freaking loved tad. been a long time since I thought about this band.
posted by Annika Cicada at 12:50 PM on November 11, 2016

Long ago I was at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. One day the student newspaper ran a overwrought, jokey, article about Tad, a band none of us had heard of. It was along the lines of "Tad is fronted by Tad Doyle. Doyle is a big guy. He's an angry man and it shows in his music. He's also a lumberjack. Just look at that plaid flannel shirt he always wears..." The article concluded by saying Tad would be playing at Duffy's Tavern with another band I had never heard of opening for them.

I remember several of us laughing about the article, saying we should go see these terrible bands. Nobody went, but, as it was on the way home, I walked by Duffy's that evening. Sure enough there were these grungy looking guys wearing plaid flannel hanging outside. People in the office were excited when I told them I saw the angry lumberjack dudes.

Flash forward about twenty years. I'm wasting time, reading random crap on the web when I run across some article about Nirvana opening for Tad on their '89 Midwest tour. A brush with pre-fame!
posted by plastic_animals at 1:05 PM on November 11, 2016 [4 favorites]

I always thought their 'Sex God Missy' was the best song on the Sub Pop 200 comp. When I saw them open for GWAR at Revival in Philly circa 1988 they blew GWAR off the stage.
posted by googly at 1:46 PM on November 11, 2016

I always confuse Tad with Poison Idea.
posted by pxe2000 at 2:37 PM on November 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

I've wondered, "whatever happened to Tad?" I still don't really know, but I'm glad he seems to be doing OK.

Brothers of the Sonic Cloth
posted by The Hamms Bear at 3:54 PM on November 11, 2016

Love Tad. Saw them with Nirvana at the ULU in London back in 1989 (Nirvana supported, their first London gig). Tad Doyle shook my hand, as did Kurt (who looked pretty tiny standing next to him). Which was a big thrill for 17 year old me.
posted by srednivashtar at 3:58 PM on November 11, 2016

Ah, but I do miss the original 8-Way Santa cover...
posted by queensissy at 5:07 PM on November 11, 2016 [4 favorites]

STILL listening to God's Balls and Salt Lick on a regular basis. Wood Goblins is still one of my all time favorite tunes
posted by Redhush at 5:10 PM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Salt Lick still stands up. Incredible low end on this Steve Albini production.
posted by porn in the woods at 5:10 PM on November 11, 2016

One of the things that strikes you watching Hype! (and the full thing is right there so don't give me your excuses) is that there was a serious undercurrent of humour running through most of the original grunge bands (including Tad and Mudhoney) that got eclipsed when it blew up and became a dope, depression and rain caricature. There's a great scene halfway through where Coffin Break start a song with angry thrash riffs, and you expect it to go into cliche territory, but the first lines are "I'm so happy, it's sunny outside" and the singer has a big smile on his face and the audience mosh away regardless.
posted by kersplunk at 5:31 PM on November 11, 2016 [5 favorites]

I think of Dementia(SLYT) as quintessential TAD, but that 1995 album's (IRRH "often regarded as Tad's best work") not in this list.
owellanyway gud ta see tha boys getting some dues.
posted by Twang at 6:41 PM on November 11, 2016

I got into grunge through Soundgarden, but TAD are my favourites of all those bands. Most of this stuff has been OOP for years, and God's Balls was never fully released on CD, so it's fantastic to hear these songs in all their glory. Also, I wonder if they can get the rights back from WEA for their last two albums.
posted by macdara at 1:06 PM on November 12, 2016

I never really got into them, but somehow I still remember the cheesy re-introduction “Like I said, we're TAD” when I saw them opening for Soundgarden somewhen early/mid nineties.
posted by farlukar at 1:39 PM on November 12, 2016

posted by Room 641-A at 2:36 PM on November 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

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