Ten Foot Pole was founded in 1983 as Scared Straight.
Scared Straight was a punk band from Simi Valley, California. The band was formed in 1983 by a group of friends and was originally called S.O.F. Original members were Scott Radinsky, Mike Thompson, Gary Gallanes and Dennis Jagard, who started the band to enter a "Battle of the Bands" competition at a local skate rink. After going through several members and name changes, they began playing with some "Nardcore" bands from nearby Oxnard, California, which helped them gain recognition. All of the Scared Straight records were released by Mystic Records.
In the early 1990s they changed their name to Ten Foot Pole. One of the reasons for the name change was to move away from the "straight-edge" reputation that followed the band with a name like Scared Straight. In the beginning, Ten Foot Pole had a reputation of being a more aggressive, hardcore punk band that likes to party and have fun. The band released two albums under their new name with the old lineup: Swill and Rev. After the release of Rev and a split EP with Sweden's Satanic Surfers, Radinsky was forced to leave the band due to his professional baseball commitments and Ten Foot Pole's desire to be a full-time touring band. From then on Dennis Jagard took over lead vocals for the band.
The next albums, Unleashed and Insider, developed a new fan base but lost some old time fans who preferred Scott's voice. This included decision makers at Epitaph Records, and the next album, Bad Mother Trucker, was released on Victory Records, followed by Subliminable Messages on Go-Kart Records. The band toured Europe to promote the album, along with Phinius Gage. Various musicians joined and left along the way as the band toured heavily in the US and Canada. Various members included Glen "Vegas" Murray Eric Cody, Kris Kwiatkowski, John Chapman, Dan Kelly, Chris Dalley, Keith Divel, Chris Del Rio, and Mike Levy who is a teacher in California, along with Kevin Ruggeri, who is an English teacher for Conestoga High School in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. Lead singer Dennis is a sound engineer, who has mixed for artists including Prince, Beck, AFI and Jimmy Eat World.
On 4 April 2009, the band ended a three-year hiatus with a show at the Riorock festival in Belgium, followed by some shows in California in late 2011 and a short tour in Australia in November 2012.
They were also featured 2000 in the Punk Goes Metal compilations performing a cover of "Love Song" by Tesla.