Given Tad Doyle's not inconsiderable bulk, it's hard to suppress visions of diet cola and Stairmasters when he says that Tad has "slimmed down."
What he means, though, is that his band -- that Tad -- is smaller than it used to be. "We lost a member and became more focused and undiluted," he says, over the phone from a diner in Ft. Wayne, N.J. "I have what [Dinosaur Jr. guitarist] J. Mascis calls the biological advantage. I was playing left- and right-stereo guitar; I was playing both by myself, rather than with another guitar player."
What's the biological advantage of that? Simple, says Doyle. "It shortened the distance between thought and action. Rather than take time explaining what I wanted to this other guitar player, I just did it."
Maybe that's why the band's new album, "Infrared Riding Hood," has a much tighter sound than its predecessors.
Doyle admits he's a little puzzled by the kind of praise the group is getting. "We're baffled when we hear people say it sounds radio-ready or polished," he says of the album. "And a lot of people have been saying that.
"I think what they're trying to say is that it sounds like we got our act together."
Maybe, but it could also be that listeners are finally learning to stop lumping Tad in with other Seattle bands -- particularly those of the grunge variety. "We never associated ourselves with that," Doyle says. "We always distanced ourselves from the Seattle thing, period. So it's really funny. Now that we're on tour, a lot of people say, 'Where are you guys from?' They don't know who we are or where we're from, but now that we're out doing it extensively, we're turning a lot of heads."
Given the audience reaction Tad has been getting on the road, it's no surprise that "Infrared Riding Hood" is the band's best-received recording to date. What is shocking, though, is that in spite of such success, Tad has been dropped by its record company.
"Officially, East West/Elektra has dropped us after two-and-a half months of the record being out," Doyle says. "I'm amazed, and wonder what they're thinking."
Considering that Tad has gone through almost as many record companies as it has released albums, Doyle is relatively unruffled by the company's decision. "Actually, I'm a little relieved, because if they're not into it, they're not into it," he says. "I'd rather have somebody who's way into it than somebody who just messes around with us, you know what I'm saying?"
But being without a deal will make it harder for the band to play the big European festivals this summer, since it takes major-label support for most groups to be able to afford the costs of shipping gear across the Atlantic. "We're slated to play the Reading Festival [in England] the night with Soundgarden and Neil Young -- you know, when Pearl Jam is going to be his band," moans Doyle. "It's just going to be nuts if we miss that for lack of a label. I will hate Elektra and Warner forever if that happens."
Tad on tap
When: Wed. July 12, 9 p.m.
PD Call: (410) 481-7328 for tickets, (410) 659-7625 for information