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Tackhead started as an experimental collaboration between producer Adrian Sherwood and musicians Skip McDonald (guitars), Doug Wimbish (bass), and Keith Leblanc(drums).

In the early 1980’s Wimbish, McDonald, and Leblanc were the Sugarhill Records house band, providing backing for, amongst others, the Sugarhill Gang , Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel. After the demise of Sugarhill the three musicians continued to work on various projects including recordings for Tom Silverman’s Tommy Boy label.

Keith Leblancs work for Tommy Boy, most notably “No Sell Out”, which featured samples of civil rights activist Malcolm X set against Keiths distinctive drum patterns brought him to the notice of On-U Sound label owner Adrian Sherwood. Together with McDonald Wimbish the foursome began work on a new project which they christened, Fats Comet.

On-U sound was a particularly fluid operation at this time, with musicians moving between projects, and tracks by one band being reqorked and re-dubbed for use by another.

After four releases as Fats Comet, and some work as The Maffia backing former Pop Group frontman, Mark Stewart, Doug Wimbish came up with the name Tackhead, New Jersey slang for homeboy. The Keith Leblanc credited album, “Major Malfunction” was released in 1986 in the wake of the space shuttle disaster and signalled a shift to a more industrial sound.


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