Brad formed officially in 1992, although the band members had been playing together for a long time before that. The band's line-up was composed of vocalist Shawn Smith, guitarist Stone Gossard, bassist Jeremy Toback, and drummer Regan Hagar. The band originally wanted to go by the name Shame, however the band found that the name was already taken by a band featuring musician Brad Wilson. Instead, the band took the name Brad and decided to name its debut album Shame. Shame, released on April 27, 1993 through Epic Records, was recorded in roughly 20 days, with many tracks taken from in-studio jam sessions. Shame, featuring a raw sound and an eclectic mix of styles, was released to mixed reviews and moderate sales. The track "20th Century" was a minor hit in the UK.
The band's follow-up album, Interiors, released on June 24, 1997, was much more polished. Tom Moon of Rolling Stone said that "what's most notable about Interiors...is the pure pop focus of these nuanced compositions." The lead single from Interiors, "The Day Brings", features Mike McCready from Pearl Jam on lead guitar. Interiors was met with poor sales, however the band saw its cult audience expand. The album was accompanied by a tour in the United States and Canada that same year, as well as a small tour in Australia and New Zealand in 1998.
A third album, Welcome to Discovery Park, was released on August 13, 2002 through Redline Records. The recording of Welcome to Discovery Park saw contributions from Mike Berg, who had taken over as the touring bassist for Toback. The album mixes the rawness of Shame and the polished, produced sound of Interiors. Bradley Torreano of Allmusic called it "another quality album that still leaves the listener hungry overall for some better songs." In July 2005, the band released an album of unreleased and incomplete Brad and Satchel tracks called Brad vs Satchel through The Establishment Store.
Brad playing on their opening date of their European tour in Manchester
, England on 8 February 2013.
The band's fourth studio album, tentatively titled Best Friends? was recorded in 2003 and was being prepared for release in 2006. In September 2007, the album was still awaiting release as the band reunited for a small series of live performances, starting in October 2007, with Kevin Wood (of Malfunkshun) joining the band as an additional guitarist. Songs from the forthcoming Best Friends? album were played at the 2007 and 2008 performances.
Brad performed live at Seattle's Showbox on April 14, 2010 and news about 'Best Friends?' imminent release was posted on their official website. The album was released on August 10, 2010 through the Pearl Jam website.
In 2011 the band announced that they would record and perform on a more permanent basis and signed a new record deal with Razor & Tie. The band spent many months in the recording studio for what would become their fifth record United We Stand. United We Stand was released on April 28, 2012 followed by a short US tour. Later that year their first European tour was announced which started in February 2013.