In the early to mid 1980s, Poss studied under the tutelage of avant-garde guitar ensemble composer Rhys Chatham, and played in the bands Tot Rocket and Western Eyes. Taking their name from the number of Susans then in the lineup, Band of Susans released the 12" EP Blessing And Curse on Poss's own Trace Elements label. A record-release party (also said to be the band's first-ever live gig) was held at NYC's The Love Club on January 31, 1987; BoS were the opening act for a band called Das Furlines. They were soon signed to the avant-garde Blast First imprint of UK record label Mute Records.
After the release of debut album Hope Against Hope, Rogers, Lyall and Tallman quit, and were replaced by Karen Haglof (guitar) and Page Hamilton (guitar). This lineup recorded the album Love Agenda and a Peel Sessions EP, which featured a cover of Gang Of Four's
"I Found That Essence Rare." The two new guitarists then quit, with Hamilton quickly forming the more metal-influenced Helmet
. Anne Husick (guitar) and Mark Lonergan (guitar) then joined BoS, yielding the band's "classic lineup" which made three more albums and one EP, all on Restless Records.