The band formed in 1976 and initially consisted of Phil "Shonna" Rzonca on vocals, Dave Ryan on guitar and Phils brother Adam Rzonca on drums. 
The name Abrasive Wheels was inspired by Shonna's engineering apprenticeship where signs stating 'Danger! Abrasive Wheels!' were regularly seen. 
They made their first public appearance at a friends party in 1976 which was followed by a Rock Against Racism gig at Leeds Polytechnic.

Shonna formed a new version of the band in 2002.