In late 1979 Scott and John met Paul Slava at St. Joseph High School in Cleveland. Paul upon hearing their inspired noise joined on keyboards in the summer of 1980. They changed their name to The Dissidents. The original line-up spent the fall and winter of 1980/81 writing and recording in Scott's parents' basement and spare bedroom. In early 1981 John left for the Air Force. Scott, Paul and The Mutant continued writing and recording.
Assembling a 60 minute tape of punk and avant garage music called 'Conformity Is Deformity'. Promoting with flyers and circulating their tape through the underground scene via Jim Jones, who then worked at Record Rendezvous on Prospect. They began to gain a small (very small) cult following. They played their first gig in the summer of 1981 at Collinwood V.F.W. on E. 140th St. with Tim Poparad, another High School friend filling in on bass. A rough tape of this show still exists. Also during that summer Paul began to play bass. Because of The Mutants' poor rehearsal attendance Scott and Paul decided to "can" The Mutant and find a new drummer.
Paul and Scott met Scruffs aka Jimmy Devito (Impalers) at a show in Tremont and asked if she'd be interested in drumming. They rehearsed few times. But because lack of transportation (Scruffs in Rocky River. Scott and Paul in Collinwood). It was decided to scrap the idea. In October the band landed a spot playing a benefit for Cle Magazine at the Pop Shop (also via Jones). Under the gun they asked Tim Poparad (guitar) and his friend Nicky Spetrino(drums) to join the band. This line-up played out several times. Including three shows at Tucky's on top of the Flats.
Tucky's on W. 9th St. & St. Clair was the hot spot that fall. The last of their three shows at Tucky's was upstairs in front of a good 300-400 people. Because of new bass strings and too much alcohol the room was empty by the time the band had finished, with the exception of Mr. Chris and Charlie from the Easter Monkeys, they congratulated the band on their feat of clearing the entire place out. This line-up culminated their existence on Tim's 18th birthday at a Irish bar in Cleveland Heights called Tim Ryan's Pub. A very heavy downpour caused the basement to flood. Which is where The Dissidents were playing. They were literally playing electric instruments while standing in five inches of water. Needless to say the show ended early.
In early 1982 Paul and Scott looking for a more "punk" sound asked Koz aka Zok (who'd just left the Basics) to join on drums. This line-up played numerous gigs that winter. The Flipside in Cleveland Heights on it's last leg. Invited the Offbeats and the Defnics to play on a Tuesday and Wednesday night respectively with The Dissidents opening both nights. The bands played for six regulars at the bar (who seemed to be annoyed that they couldn't hear "Jeopardy" over the music) and the other band.
That spring Tom Miller aka Tommy Hawk (Offbeats) called Scott and asked if they'd like to play at a mansion in Bratenahl on one condition they needed to use The Dissidents drummer. The party itself was for Tom Hamilton's little sister's birthday. But, after seeing The Hamilton's easygoing nature and generosity Paul and Scott invited everyone they could get a hold of. It turned into a very memorable night, The Dissidents opened for a rough reformation of the Generics. In attendance that night was a decades worth of Cleveland underground talent: Jim Jones, Mr. Chris, Charlie, Linda (Easter Monkeys), Mike Metoff (Pagans), Gary Lupico (Kneecappers), Jeff Morrison (Home & Garden), Tommy Dark (The Dark), and Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu). To conclude the evening everyone took a late night dip in the Hamilton's indoor basement swimming pool.
In April of 1982 six Cleveland bands piled into cars and drove down to Akron to play The Bank (Devo's old venue). The event dubbed 'Grand Slam II' wasn't the hardcore event it was advertised to be but memorable nonetheless. The bill featured: Easter Monkeys, Defnics, Offbeats, The Dissidents, The Dark, Breathing Blankets (Mike Hudson's new band) all from Cleveland, and the Zero Defex and Chainsaw from Akron.
In June of 1982 sick of playing the same old songs and sick of each other The Dissidents played their last show live at WRUW's second annual Studio-A-Rama, a live radio broadcast with Dr. Bloodmoney, The Mommios, Monte Carmont, and Neptune's Car.
If you look in the right light at the right angle you can see The Dissidents left a significant scrape on the Cleveland punk underground landscape.