Sunday, 27 February 2022

My Dad Is Dead - No Turning Back (1985-1991)


Short bio:
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. His name for this project was a nod to both of his parents having died by the time he was 21 years old. 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.

With McEntire gone on to Bastro and Curtis unwilling to tour, Edwards recruited the Prisonshake rhythm section -- Chris Burgess on bass and Scott Pickering on drums -- for a 1989 tour of Europe. The group's fifth album, a 1989 double LP titled "The Taller You Are, the Shorter You Get", was its last for Homestead. With yet another lineup (this time guitarists Tim Gilbride and Doug Gillard plus Burgess on bass), My Dad Is Dead moved to Scat Records in April 1990 for the "Shine" EP. The band's first album for Scat, "Chopping Down the Family Tree", was released in October 1991...

Click here for full bio/discography.

With almost every anthology I've compiled I can remember when/how I first heard the artist featured. With My Dad Is Dead I really have no recollection, which is peculiar. Did Manerg recommend them to me? We used to make many compilation tapes for each other in the mid/late 80s so maybe from one of those... Or did I first hear them on the excellent "Human Music" compilation released by Homestead Records in 1988? Maybe it was an impulse buy, as I believe my first purchase was 1988's "Let's Skip the Details" which was released by Homestead, one of my favourite record labels at the time..

Anyway, they were one of my most listened to bands of the late 80s, despite the rather lo-fi quality of those early releases. This collection starts with my 2nd favourite MDID song, "Baby's Got a Problem", which comes from what I consider their finest album, the aforementioned "
Let's Skip the Details". My favourite song though, is "Nothing Special", which originally came out on the double album "The Taller You Are, the Shorter You Get". This song has been recorded a few times, for me the best version is the re-recording which came out on the double 7" "Shine" EP in 1990. That version is featured here. There's also an excellent version by Bastro which came out on a split 7" with MDID, in return MDID did a cover of Bastro's "Flesh-Colored House".

I kind of lost track of future MDID releases after the 1991 release "Chopping Down the Family Tree", which is why this collection only goes up to that year. I have recently managed to track down all releases by the band since then, and plan on doing a future anthology of the later years. I hope those unfamiliar with the band enjoy this collection, enough to check out their bandcamp page where you can buy most of their releases.

  1. Baby's Got a Problem (5:30)
  2. Planes Crashing (4:26)
  3. Open Wide (3:44)
  4. The Quiet Man (2:41)
  5. Gone Gonna Rise (2:45)
  6. The Last Time (2:47)
  7. Lay Down the Law (4:20)
  8. 20 Yards Deep (5:49)
  9. Hill o' Beans (4:25)
10. The Only One (4:52)
11. Time Has Come Today (7:29)
12. Waste (2:09)
13. Nothing Special (4:46)
14. Cool Rain (6:49)
15. On Holy Ground (3:12)
16. Whirlpool (4:25)
17. Babe in the Woods (3:00)

18. All My Strength (2:40)
19. Say Goodbye (3:36)

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