MY LIFE AS A DOG
The Defnics started out as No Dogs. It was Jim, Brandon and I with the addition of a new friend Bill DeGidio (R. Conn). We met Bill through Mark Vocca who worked with Brandon. Bill and Mark were baseball and fishing buddies. It was Mark's idea to set Bill up with us. I don't really remember the details but he did it.
There is a "studio" tape of No Dogs recorded in downtown Willoughby at a storefront we practiced at for a minute. This hippie guy Bill knew had a tape machine and we did five or six songs. The place was all plate glass facing the street. I remember one day we were playing and this guy was pounding on the window. Bill was saying "Don't pay attention to him he's an idiot." That guy was asshole murderer Richard Pinto. He kept coming around but I’m not sure if that was the reason that we vacated that spot.
After a while we started playing at Brandon's place in Mentor-on-the-Lake. Bill wrote all of the material for No Dogs although Brandon penned "Hello from Berlin" during this period too. Most of those tunes were used in the Defnics, and I played some of those songs in my last punk band the Plague. Songs such as "No Future" and "Crime on My Mind" were performed for ten years. No Dogs never saw the light of day. After hearing a practice tape, Hudson said we could have opened for the Pagans if they were still together.
That kind of blew my mind, because with the addition of DeGidio we had an inside track to the Cleveland scene. Not that we had a twisted Courtney Love rock-n-roll master plan or anything, we just happened to meet the right people at the right time. We were a happy band for a while but Jim grew tired of punk, after all it was 2 or 3 years old by then. He said it didn't have any soul, he was way into what The Clash were doing then. Jim quit playing drums for No Dogs in search of a Master's belt in Kun Tau Kung Fu, I think he got it.
So there we were at the end of 1980 without a drummer. My cousin John Korosec use to fool around with a set that his brother's friend would leave at his house. John wasn't supposed to play them but if you know Johnny an order such as that might as well have not been uttered at all. He bought a kit off this local cover group called Abraxas. He got good at them pretty fast and then he was in the band, which was rechristend Defnics.
The name Defnics came from Johnny. One summer afternoon when John and I were around twelve years old, we were sitting in his parent's living room watching TV. We would practice at that same house, 19207 Cherokee Rd. off E.185th St. near the projects, years later. I guess John was saying something to me but I wasn't paying attention. All I remember was hearing him saying "Defnic, hey defnic are you listening to me?" I thought it was a funny word and I never forgot it. Johnny is a naturally hilarious guy, he's always making words up and busting balls. So when we were standing around the basement/jam room trying to think of a new name I offered up John's "Defnics". Everyone liked it but John had no idea that he made it up some eight years earlier, I had to tell him.
This was a great time for me. It was Punk Rock 101. It was these days that I learned:
1.) You won't make any money and
2.) You won't make any money. By the time Grunge broke everyone I knew were hanging up their guns and the "new punks" were making the money.
C’est la vie.
Having Bill in the band was great; he always had real cool insights and was the voice of reason. He was the only one who had done something band wise out of all of us. We loved the fact we had a Pagan in the band. Punk was fun and life was good! As Brandon said, "All I want to play is Punk, Punk and more Punk." That was cool with me. I showed Brandon how to play a couple of songs a few years earlier and now he was writing more and better songs than me, and I was playing since I was thirteen. I never saw anyone take to music that fast. He was a natural.
LOVE YOU LIVE
Our first show was at the Euclid Tavern with the Generics. It was o.k. I guess, I mean I don’t remember being nervous or playing badly or anything. The best part was that the guys working the bar were yelling at us, saying we sucked and to turn it down. I guess they didn’t like "Red Spy" or "Governor’s Daughter". They even shut the board down on us. Not too hip for the now hip Euclid Tavern.
That place was strictly a blues bar back then and they were trying out this new wave stuff. So dare I say that the Generics and the Defnics were the first punk/new wave/alternative band to play the Tavern? Our next shows were at The Flipside on Green Road. That was the place the cover photo to our 45 and most of the pictures on this site are from.
That night it was the Revolvers and the Defnics. One night there, this barfly chick was really fucking with Johnny for no reason. After about an hour of haranguing he had to tell her, "Look, I hit women." That didn’t even shut her up, so her boyfriend was called and he came to the bar, bitched her out and dragged her out of there. Other places we played were The Sports Page in the Flats, Tuckeys up and down, JB's in Kent, The Pop Shop and believe it or not, this was a real place: Stairway to Rock Heaven way out in the boonies. That place sucked because there was this long stairway you had to drag your equipment up to get to the room where you played. Rock Heaven indeed. We did that show with Raven Slaughter, those guys were cool. They were genuinely interested in punk even though their bag was the Bowie/Mott thing.
During those days I met a lot of great punks like Alex & Romona Strouhal (they never missed a show), Michelle, Colleen, Laverne and Mom Mulhan, Tim Kelly and Joe Little.