Formed by drummer Mark Edwards in August 1984 after the breakup of the Cleveland band Riot Architecture, My Dad Is Dead has remained his solo project -- with occasional help from a revolving-door cast. Edwards learned to play guitar during late 1984, and played his first show the following year with a backing band consisting of a drum machine. He recorded his first LP, And He's Not Gonna Take It Anymore, at a friend's home studio, and released it in May 1986 on St. Valentine Records. After a lengthy tour supporting Modern English and then the Butthole Surfers, he released Peace, Love and Murder in May 1987. Edwards signed a contract with Homestead Records early the following year, and released Let's Skip the Details in May 1988. Soon after, he added the first bandmembers to My Dad Is Dead: bassist Jeff Curtis and drummer John McEntire (later to gain fame in Tortoise). The Best Defense, an album of material from the previous album's sessions, was released on Homestead in December 1988.