Nirvana changed the world but perhaps couldn’t have done it so effectively without a killer grunge scene around them, bands like Tad, L7,Melvins and Mudhoney around them to help stoke the Seattle buzz fame flames higher that Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam burned up the charts with. The bands loved what they did and wanted to matter and make an impact, but even the most careerist person in the Seattle scene (and from most accounts everyone was really chill and down to Earth) couldn’t have expected Nirvana to revolutionize the mainstream. Tad Doyle was there first hand as a grunge/noise rock icon and scene leader, barking soulful poems of alienation and revelations mixed with the wry wit and crass edge that was Tad.
Since Tad broke up, Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth have been Doyle’s main outlet. The more mercurial yet thunderous and doomy band have finally thudded a brontosaurus foot down and when it rises and the dust settles humanity will get to hear fully their crushing debut Brother Of The Sonic Cloth (Neurot).
It was a personal milestone of no small degree to get to speak to Tad Doyle on his career, “old souls”, touring with Nirvana, musical evolution and much more! Read it BELOW!
Thank you so much for doing this. It’s great to have you back with this project. I know you’ve done the Lumbar record but how did this come about?
Tad: Well, this band’s actually been around longer than Lumbar. I started this project in 2006. Been trying to find the right drummer but now we’re
really happy. Some of these songs are as old as 2007 and have developed over time through demoing. Figuring out what we wanted to do. We have a split
10″ that came out in 2009 with Mico De Noche but it’s out of print. There were 500 copies. And a demo in 2009 as well. That had 3 songs on it, but we
only made 50 copies of that.
I remember hearing about that and the band name but this is kind of the first long player, right?
Yep, this is our debut.
How did it feel to finally reach that point with everyone’s involvement?
It’s good. It’s been a long time coming. We’ve taken time to structure the songs the way I want to. Getting to work with Neurosis on Neurot recordings is really mind blowing for us.
Did you meet them through the Yob guys or previously from the scene?
Back in my other band Tad we played shows with Neurosis way back when. ’89-90 in the bay area. I’ve always been aware of them and a fan but it really stepped up for me with their last couple of records. I was talking with Mike from Yob and said we are looking for a label who understands and will develop us and he said ,”Well, you know we’re working with Neurot and couldn’t be happier. I already had an idea that we wanted to go with them anyway.
That just sealed the deal for me. I sent them the whole package once it was done. Previously to that I spoke to Steve and Scott a little bit, mostly Steve. They had us on a bill opening for them New Years Eve 2012. At that point I said ,”If we get a demo done could I send it to you?” and he said ,”of course.” The connections go further. We’ve both worked with Steve Albini extensively. They’ve done a lot of thir records with Steve. Tad did Salt Lick with Steve a long time ago. It seemed the natural thing to do was to move in that direction, towards them. I was pleased and punch they wanted to put it out once it was finished.
It’s a really good record. I assumed it would be mostly dirgy but it’s cool their are also some shorter kind of noise/metal songs like “Lava”. Kind of reminiscent a bit of Tad. Headbanger.
Mmhmm. I just think we write what we write. It’s gonna have aspects of my sound in it. That doesn’t come from a place of ego. That’s the kind of stuff I do. Heavy, strange riffs with odd timings. That’s what I’ve always been about.
Textures, totally. It was fun to hear “Empires Of Dust” which was kind of drony ala Sunn O))). You’ve gone from “Wood Goblin” and beer to rituals in the forest!
For sure. (chuckling) Yeah, absolutely.
How was it tracking this with Peggy and Dave? “La Mano Poderosa” is eleven minutes long.
We got to know the songs and a lot of changes were made along the way. “La Mono Poderosa” and “Empires Of Dust” are two of the oldest, since about 2007. It’s about moving them around until I got what I wanted to achieve with them. Part of it is, uh, we started recording this full length in 2012. The drummer we were recording with quit after our west coast tour but we kept going and re recorded the drums with Dave French (The Annunaki). The we have our finished product now which will be out worldwide in Feb.
A lot of people are excited, man.
Yeah, we’re excited too. Can’t wait to unleash the beast.
So you know, you have “kids on twitter these days”, to coin a phrase. People thinking Kanye gave Paul McCartney his career when they collaborated. “Who is this old guy?”
(laughing loudly) Yeah, I heard about that. That’s really funny.
Is it weird to be part of this current music climate or is it similar to before you and Nirvana were revolutionizing things and grunge beat out Michael Jackson on the charts?
Some kids aren’t as well read with their music history and I think there’s no reason for them to be, but that comes with time. There’s so much music and accessibility now. When I was a kid there were records, radio and then tapes came out. Magazines and newspapers. The old school. You have things at your fingertips that I wouldn’t have had as a kid.
I remember I bought Tad Inhaler because I saw the funny cover art with the dogs and checked it out. Then it was “woah! this is heavy.”
(kind of sheepishly) Yeah. (chuckling) We liked that cover too. It was fun.
My new friend Jay Gambit from Crowhurst is a fan. He just did a cool song with Eugene from Oxbow. He wanted me to ask you if having being part of a movement that shaped the face of music, does it still feel good to be a part of underground music now?
Yeah, I feel like for awhile Tad went into major label territory. It was a great idea at the time but I don’t think any of the executives understood what we were doing. They didn’t do any artist development. We were on three major labels within a short period of time. It would just seem like it was talking to a big dumb entity that didn’t know what was going on with anybody else.
Yeah and some of the things you got in trouble for you probably wouldn’t now, Jay mentioned. Some of the art and stuff. It seems like you got a raw deal in some respects. I loved the documentary that came out.
Busted circuits and ringing ears?
Yeah, I saw it and loved it. It just made me really psyched. And I got a chance to talk to Bruce from Sub Pop (read that piece HERE)…about his Experiencing Nirvana book that you feature heavily in. Any good memories for you from that European tour?
It was all fun. It was great being on the road. Nobody knew how they would blow up. I used to make joked with Krist and Kurt. “When you guys are huge don’t forget the little people.” And we were joking about it. Nobody could even imagine what wuld happen. Going from show to show and seeing amazing cities and countries. We were there for the Berlin Wall going down. This monumental thing in the history of humanity, if you ask me.
My father just passed away last week and one of the biggest events of his life was moving to the States because of what it was like after WW2 with Stalin. People take for granted now some of the divides.
Yeah, for sure.
I haven’t see it so I don’t know if this is an offensive question (laughing). Jay Gambit from Crowhurst also wanted me to ask if you have seen the Peter Bagge ‘Hate’ series and if you have, how do you feel about how you’re portrayed?
It was fun, y’know? He designed a shirt for the band Tad that I’m gonna be re-issuing. The “Monster Truck” design. I’m gonna be opening up a store for that and other designs we will be re-circulating. Worldwide, too. There’s always been restrictions on my website before and now it’s for reasonable shipping and anywhere.
It must be hard when you are dealing with so many different record labels, too.
Yeah. Well, we always had the rights to our artwork as far as shirts. Vinyl printing and reproducing the records…Sub Pop has rights to that stuff. Other labels have rights to that. We’re totally spread out there. I’m lucky I get to put out merch here and there. I think you’re gonna see a lot more of it this coming year or two.
That’s certainly good news. My friend Jay Andersen said he talked to you about his Upstate, NY melodic post-hardcore band Flourish. Jay engineered an EP of mine awhile back True Form for one of my bands called Antidote 8 and is a good friend. He said his band Flourish is going to get mastered by you? Is that true?
Yeah, I’m looking forward to that! Jay’s a great guy. I love talking to him. Flourish are recording it now. Boy, those guys are freezing their ass off back East. I can’t imagine.
Yeah, I’m from the same town as them, near Kingston, NY. It’s been really snowy. But yeah, I might even have a guest vocal on that. Jay was like ,”you wanna do a guest vocal on something?” so that’s pretty freakin’ cool. I don’t know if its the same thing, but he told me he’d talked to you and I had just posted a news item about Brother Of The Sonic Cloth. Synchronicity. I thought he was lying.
Yeah, I can’t wait. I like what they do and do have a studio here. I do recording, mixing and mastering at Witch Ape studio here in Seattle, so I’m looking forward to it.
That’s a trip cuz me and Jay bonded over grunge and he’d see my old band Melancholy cover Melvins songs and we’d talk about Tad back in the 90’s at Woodstock Youth Center punk concerts. So for him to get you to work with his band is like this rad full circle, at least on our end (laughing). So, I was reading your thoughts online about “old souls”. Do you think people can pass on from vessels from life to life? Also, with my dad dying I am thinking about how he left all his books and the ephemera of his voyage here and time here. I wish I had more conversations with here but at least there are things he left behind.
I don’t have any idea of what happens after death or where we come from. It’s a big mystery to me. But, you’ve had deja vu, I’m sure. Many people have. I have an idea we’ve been here before and these moments are synchronous events with events from other timelines or that have come before. I just had this thought that this is gonna be my last time on this planet. It’s more a feeling than anything, that I’ve been here many times before. A soldier on battlefields, a farmer, women in past lives, animals. I’ve just got this feeling. And I think I’ve asked for this to be the last time to be here so I wanna make this one a doozy.