Scott Stemple - Guitar, Vocals
Paul Slava - Bass, Keyboard, Vocals
John D'arcy - Bass
Rick Jablonski - Drums
Nicky Spetrino - Drums
Tim Poparad - Guitar
Koz – Drums
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.
The Almighty Dollar
In early 1979 I loaned my copy of the Pere Ubu album DUB HOUSING to Scott and Paul of the Dissidents. They were still in high school at the time. I heard of how they took it to a party, put it on the turntable and less than a minute into it all the girls in the room were going; OOOOHH! OH MY GOD! WHAT IS THAT!? GET THAT THING OFF! I always loved that story.
One of my favorite Dissident stories: I spent a lot of drunken nights with Scott and Paul. One night after their band practice I volunteered to drive one of their girlfriends home. In the car: was me (driving), Scott (passenger seat), and Paul and the two girls in the backseat The girl we were dropping off lived in Euclid on the north side of Lakeshore. So we dropped off the two girls so one could say goodnight to the other (or whatever girls do when they disappear together in such situations).
While we were waiting we decided to drive around the block and dump off a couple cases worth of empty beer cans that were in the car. When we got down to a street that ran along the lake Paul & Scott rolled down their windows and pitched all these cans into the street. They made quite a racket as they spilled out to the curbs. Mission accomplished we returned to pick up the other girl. While we were waiting there all of a sudden the passenger door swung open and there stood a very big, very pissed off guy who'd just witnessed our disposal routine on his street.
He grabbed Scott by his collar and demanded we go back and pick up the cans. I said: "let go of my friend and we'll go pick them up!" He was unwilling to compromise and wouldn't let go of Scott. So I threw the car in reverse and proceeded to drag him backwards with the open car door down the street. During this he was repeatedly punching Scott. He finally fell and then I threw the car and drive and got the hell out of there. The other girl was standing on the sidewalk watching so I yelled out the window "LISA! RUN!."
While I was driving however I was getting pissed that we were running from this guy. Not to mention leaving Lisa behind. So when I got around the corner I stopped, turned off the ignition and went to the trunk to get a crow bar to "educate" this fucker! While I was opening the trunk (Scott and Paul still in the car) here he comes again! Running up the street! He had chased the car around the block! I screamed! Like a little girl in a bad horror movie (it still cracks me up that I screamed).
I ran and jumped back into the car. Scott and Paul were yelling at me to get the hell out of there. The guy was punching the windows and kicking the doors as I fumbled with the keys trying to start the car (just like a movie). For some reason the window never did break but he did kick my mirror off! I finally got it started and we got out of there. Afterwards we did the only thing good red blooded American youths would, we went and got more beer, had a laugh about it. Then about an hour later we went back and looked for my mirror.
The second time we played Tucky's (downstairs),Scene magazine misspelled Dissidents as "Desidents". So the following week there was a band called Destitute (a power pop trio) playing upstairs at Tucky's. But the Scene once again put "Desidents" in their ad for that night. So Paul and I went down (ad in hand) and told 'em we were supposed to be playing. Mr. Tucky did not agree. After an hour or so of badgering old man Tucky he finally said: "if you can get the other bands to agree to let you play, then you can play."
So we asked the other bands (Destitute and House Of Usher). They said, "no problem." So me and Paul called Tim and Nicky to come down with their gear. We weren't going on until 1:00am so we had a 4 or 5 hours to sit around and drink. Tim had already had too much to drink! So me, Paul and Nicky helped Tim out to the car to sleep it off for couple of hours. When we went out to get him about an hour and a half later. We were horrified to find that he'd been sitting in the car the whole time drinking the rest of the beer we had brought. To make matters worse, Paul had just gotten new strings on his bass and Tim being the most accomplished musician of the group was in charge of tuning everything up. We cleared the place! Our attitude was always: "FUCK 'EM! IF THEY DON'T LIKE IT THEY CAN LEAVE!" That night they did.
Koz was great drummer! He was the last ingredient we needed to have a good, tight band. The problem was he was "shall we say" careful with his money (and kind of insane). The song "The Almighty Dollar" was written about Koz (though he never knew that part). Johnny Korosec recently told me that he'd bet what's left of his liver that Koz is probably a millionaire now (just from drug deals and stinginess). I wouldn't doubt it. I don't think he ever had a real job, but always had plenty of cash. Paul's dad (Slim) had a bartending job in Wickliffe.
One time Slim needed to get to work so he asked Koz for a ride. Koz after complaining about how much gas it would take to drive from E. 200 St. to E. 305 St. and back (about 4 miles), finally agreed to give him a ride. When he dropped him off, Slim slipped Koz $10 and said "thanks, here buy yourself a beer." So on the way home Koz stopped at a beverage store and bought a case of Old Dutch "The Good Beer" (it said that on the label, so it must be true).
Koz had that case for about 3 months. Every now and then when we were practicing Paul and I would help ourselves to a warm Old Dutch from Koz's closet. He'd get really pissed that we had the nerve to drink some of his beer (when we were actually doing him a favor). I don't know where Koz is these days but I'd be willing to bet what's left of Johnny's liver that he still has a few cans of Old Dutch left.