Tad – Plague Years


Tad (often styled as TAD) was an American rock band from SeattleWashington, formed in 1988 by Tad Doyle. They are often recognized as one of the first bands of the grunge era.


Formation and Sub Pop years (1988–1991)

Led by Tad Doyle (born 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. Doyle recruited drummer Steve Wied (formerly of Skin Yard) and guitarist Gary Thorstensen to complete the original line-up. Tad was among the first bands to be signed to the independent label Sub Pop Records.[3] 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 the music. Tad’s debut album God’s Balls appeared in early 1989, and was also produced by Endino. In March 1990, the band released Salt Lick, recorded by Steve Albini.[3] The vinyl was a six-track EP and it was later expanded into a full-length with nine tracks once it was issued on CD. It contained the song “Wood Goblins”, for which a music video was produced. After a European tour with Nirvana, Tad returned to Seattle and recorded their third album 8-Way Santa (1991), named after a type of blotter acid. Produced by Butch Vig, the album was far more pop-oriented than its predecessors, and featured the singles “Jinx” 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”. 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 shot of the band.

Tad’s Partial reunion and aftermath (2013–present)

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 BallsSalt Lick and 8-Way Santa.

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. He and Ron Nine then played in Purple Strange with Jared Stroud, Matthew Candenberghe and Jack Endino, and issued another self-produced album of the same name in 2021.

A vinyl-only archival album, Quick and Dirty, was released in April 2018 as part of Record Store Day, and contains rare and unreleased tracks Tad recorded between 1995 and 1999.[14]


In 2017, Metal Injection ranked Tad at number 5 on their list of the “10 Heaviest Grunge Bands”.

Band members

  • Tad Doyle – vocals, guitar (1988–1999)
  • Gary Thorstensen – guitar (1988–1994)
  • Kurt Danielson – bass (1988–1999)
  • Steve Wied – drums (1988–1991)
  • Rey Washam – drums (1991)
  • Josh Sinder – drums (1992–1996)
  • Mike Mongrain – drums (1996–1999)


Plague year