Formation and Sub Pop years (1988–1991)
Led by Tad Doyle (b. Thomas Andrew Doyle) on vocals and guitar, Tad was formed in early 1988 by Doyle, a drummer turned guitar player/singer, who asked bassist Kurt Danielson to play bass for the band. Danielson's band Bundle of Hiss played with Doyle's previous band (in which he played drums) H-Hour. Tad recruited drummer Steve Wied (formerly of Skin Yard and Death and Taxes) and guitarist Gary Thorstensen (ex-Treeclimbers) to complete the original lineup. Tad was among the first bands to be signed to the independent label Sub Pop Records. In 1988, Doyle had released the "Daisy/Ritual Device" single on Sub Pop, produced by seminal Seattle producer Jack Endino, for which Doyle wrote and performed all music. Tad's debut album God's Balls appeared in early 1989 and was also produced by Endino. In March 1990 the band released the Salt Lick EP, recorded by Steve Albini. The single "Wood Goblins" was released in the same year, but was apparently banned by MTV. After a European tour with Nirvana, Tad returned to Seattle and recorded their second album 8-Way Santa (1991), named after a type of blotter acid. Produced by famed '90s grunge and alternative producer Butch Vig (better known for Nirvana's Nevermind, Smashing Pumpkins's Siamese Dream and as drummer for the band Garbage), the album was far more pop-oriented than its predecessors, featuring such songs as "Jinx," "Stumblin' Man" and "Jack Pepsi."
"Jack Pepsi" was released as a single, but Pepsi filed a lawsuit against the band due to the cover art on the single, which was the Pepsi logo with "Tad" in place of "PEPSI." However, the so-called "Pepsi logo" was missing the left and right colorations in the actual Pepsi logo, one being of a light blue color; said light blue color never appeared on the Tad artwork, making this at best an attempt at "folk art", not even coming close to "copyright infringement". Another lawsuit was filed due to the cover of 8-Way Santa (which was a found picture of a man fondling a woman's breast). The couple in the photograph, one of whom had since become a born-again Christian and remarried, took exception and sued. Sub Pop subsequently changed the album cover to a group shot.
Major label years, turmoil and breakup (1992–1999)
After a very brief acting stint in Singles, Tad was offered its first major-label opportunity by Warner Music Group's Giant Records. However, Steve Wied had left, joining Willard, and later Foil. Rey Washam (formerly of Scratch Acid) briefly filled on drums in 1991 but was later replaced by Josh Sinder, previously of The Accüsed. Sinder debuted with Tad on their last Sub-Pop release, the "Salem/Leper" single (which featured "Mud-Man," Josh's apparently mumps-afflicted brother, on the cover). Their major label debut Inhaler appeared later in the year to positive reviews. The record failed to break the band however, even though they were chosen to open for Soundgarden on their 1994 Superunknown tour. Giant Records quickly got cold feet and dropped the band when a poster promoting Inhaler surfaced featuring Bill Clinton smoking a joint with the caption reading "It's heavy shit".
In 1995, the band released Live Alien Broadcasts on Futurist Records, which was a best-of live studio recording. Thorstensen left but they secured a second major-label deal with East West/Elektra Records, another Warner label, in 1995. They released their fifth album Infrared Riding Hood. However, within a month of the release, the band's Artists and repertoire representative was fired. As a result of that representative's termination, all of their signed bands were released and their albums ceased production, regardless of content. They continued to gig for the remainder of the year before Sinder left to form the Hot Rod Lunatics. He was replaced on drums by Mike Mongrain of Foil. Tad's final single "Oppenheimer's Pretty Nightmare/Accident on the Way to Church" appeared in 1998 on Up Records. A year later the band dissolved.
Following Tad's breakup, Doyle formed Hog Molly in 2001 with Willard bassist Ty Garcia and 50 Paces guitarist Martin Chandler, releasing the album Kung-Fu Cocktail Grip late the same year. Willard guitarist Mark Spiders had recommended Ty, and Martin in a conversation with Doyle. Tad later formed the band Hoof. Tad's current (2008) band Brothers of the Sonic Cloth has been playing in Seattle night clubs. Kurt Danielson went on to form Valis, a project which included members of Screaming Trees and Mudhoney. Then he formed The Quaranteens, a post-punk/new wave band with Craig Paul, before moving to France. He is back in Seattle since 2008, and has started to write a novel. Danielson has also played in other local Seattle-based bands including Misericords (with fellow ex-Tad member Mike Mongrain on drums) and Vaporland (featuring ex members of Love Battery and The Fluid). Josh Sinder has gone on to play drums in The Insurgence and also plays with Marky Felchtone from Zeke in new band Hellbound For Glory.
A documentary of the band titled announced plans by Brothers of the Sonic Cloth to release a split 10" vinyl record with Seattle-area sludge metal band, Mico de Noche. The Brothers of the Sonic Cloth/Mico de Noche split 10" vinyl record was released in October 2009 as an edition of 500 copies and featured two songs by Mico de Noche and one song by Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, "Fires Burn Dim in the Shadows of the Mountain". The record received several positive reviews and appeared on multiple "Best of 2009" lists.
Partial reunion (2013)
A semi-reunion of Tad took place at the Sub Pop Records 25th anniversary show on July 13, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. There, Tad Doyle and Gary Thorstensen joined Brothers of the Sonic Cloth to play a set of songs from God's Balls, Salt Lick and 8-Way Santa.
Solo albums and other projects
Kurt Danielson went on to play with Ron Nine and Kevin Whitworth (Love Battery) and Garret Shavlik (ex-the Fluid) for a self-produced album, Vaporland, in 2014.