Ted Poley was born in Englewood, New Jersey in 1964. He started in music with the band Lush as a drummer. The band also featured bassist Joe Slattery, with whom Poley would play again later. He then joined New Jersey progressive rock band Prophet as a drummer. They released their first album in 1985. Poley also sang lead vocals on some of their songs. In 1987, while working with the band's second album, he was approached by Bruno Ravel and Steve West to join Danger Danger and he accepted. With Danger Danger, Poley enjoyed much success as the band caught the late surge wave of 80s hair rock.