Grunge Pioneer Thomas Andrew Doyle of Tad – Interview


Image of Thomas Andrew Doyle of grunge band TAD.

Tad band frontman Thomas Andrew Doyle – Story by Anne Erickson, courtesy photo

Thomas Andrew Doyle of legendary grunge band Tad joins Anne Erickson for an in-depth interview

The late-1980s were an exciting time in the Seattle music scene. While the rest of the world was partying down Sunset Strip and listening to hair metal, something very different was going down in Washington state.

Tad was one of those early bands, sharing the stage with fellow grunge rockers such as Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and, yes, Nirvana. At first, the shows were small. Very small. In fact, it was pretty much local musicians playing to each other. But, that changed with 1991’s “Nevermind,” the sophomore album from Nirvana. Suddenly, grunge was everywhere.

Thomas Andrew Doyle’s New Solo Album, ‘Forgotten Sciences’

Vocalist Thomas Andrew Doyle has come a long way since his days fronting Tad. His music is quite broad today. That depth really comes across on his ninth solo album, “Forgotten Sciences,” out June 23. On it, Doyle brings together deep, existential themes with symphonic instrumentation and strong songwriting.

“Forgotten Sciences” is the kind of imaginative album that shows just how much Doyle continues to evolve as an artist. It also sees him using his real life experiences with anxiety and more as themes for the music.

Losing Grunge Icons

While Doyle obviously thrives doing any genre, he’ll always be known for grunge. In a genre that’s lost so many of its heroes – Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell, Layne Staley, Mark Lanegan – it’s a relief to have someone from the genesis of the movement such as Doyle around.

So, is he surprised that so many grunge frontmen succumbed to drugs and passed away before their time? Yes and no.

“It’s the business that we’re in of music,” he tells Audio Ink Radio. “I don’t know if it is so much anymore, but it’s always been ramped with drugs and mind-altering substances. That can come into play and shorten people’s lives, especially when it comes down to addiction. I’m not saying that these people were addicted. But, there’s been talk that had they not been involved in the things they were doing, they’d still be alive, possibly.”

He added, “It’s really weird to me, because I’ve not lead a healthy life, by any means. I’ve been overweight for a lot of my life and not done a heck of a lot of exercise since being out of school. These people in my eyes were fit people. They didn’t have those issues that they wore, like obesity.”

He continues, “But, it’s sad, more than anything. It’s not shocking. If you look throughout time, everybody who’s in the public eye with music, especially with pop, rock, rap and name a genre, it’s been challenging to stay away from those types of things. A lot of times, it starts as an escape and then it turns into an addiction. Eventually, things being what they are, they wind up dying from it. And the fentanyl epidemic is killing a lot of people. It’s sad that there are a lot of artist types, in my mind, that will never be given a chance to fully realize their art because they got hooked up into that type of thing.”

Is a Tad Band Reunion in the Cards?

When you’re in a band as successful as Tad, you’re going to get a lot of reunion questions. When asked about possible new music from Tad or a Tad band tour, Doyle quickly shoots down the idea.

“I get a lot of people asking me, how about a reunion and all that,” he says. “I don’t think my heart and soul is in that space anymore. That was a chuck of my life that I had, and the things that I did in my life built up to that. I’m a different person now, as far as my experiences and where I’ve been and my music and where I want to take my music. I always want to move forward; I don’t want to move back. I think that if we did a reunion or did some more Tad stuff, it would kind of ruin the legacy that we created for ourselves.”

He adds, “I don’t want to keep regurgitating the same thing. When were were a band nine months out of the year, and we knew those songs intimately, forwards and backwards and in our dreams. I didn’t ever want it to become a job. At some point, if you just keep doing it over and over and over, as much as you love what you’re doing, it can become a job. It can become less than exciting. I always want things to be exciting and fresh. So, I don’t see any reason why we need to do a reunion or play shows.”

Going down the grunge history rabbit hole, Doyle says it’s a blessing that the Tad band never reached the superstar fame of bands such as Nirvana or Soundgarden.

“For me, it’s like, Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell, all of those guys, they could never go out in public without being recognized, and people take you hostage when they see you on the street, and it’s like, ‘Oh, you’re mine.’ But, I’ve always relished the fact that I’m invisible. Especially since I’ve lost over 110 pounds, I don’t think anybody would recognize me now. Plus, I have gray hair and I don’t color it. So, I’m happy being who I am, and I feel like I’ve enjoyed the success that I wanted to. Success is what you name it. So, I’m happy to be invisible. Let’s just leave it at that.”

Listen to Audio Ink Radio’s full interview with Thomas Andrew Doyle on Apple Podcasts here and Spotify Podcasts here. Check out our feature on the best grunge albums of all time here.

Anne Erickson
Posted by Anne Erickson | Alternative, Features, Grunge, Interviews, Music