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Paul Schlacter is a fucking dick. Heís a Cleveland, Ohio native and an obnoxious foul mouthed prick that never has much good to say about anything or anybody. Heís constantly being accused of being the biggest asshole at the party and can always be found in the middle of a scuffle or utter tomfoolery. Heís also played in some great punk/hardcore bands and released records on his label, Noncommercial Records, that Criminal IQ founder Darius Hurley claims to be some of the best punk records heís heard in the last 10 years. Despite all this though, Paul can be a great friend and a very insightful thinker and has actually inspired me in many ways both through song and conversation. If you donít own anything Noncommercial Records has released and you claim to like punk-rock Iíd suggest getting on the ball ASAP. Paul usually refuses to do interviews with zine writers for some reason but was a kind enough fellow to agree to answer a few questions from me through e-mail. Read it and enjoy. Blow it up, Muthafuckazzzzz!!!!!!

CIDER LIVE

TB: First off, you started Noncommercial Records back in 1993 with Bob Zeiger, who has gone on to play in at least a couple other bands with you. What was your first release and why did you decide to put it out yourselves without the help of anybody else?
Paul: The first release was the Cider "Out to get Me" EP released in early '94. We put it out ourselves for a few reasons. For one thing no one else would have wanted to put it out and very few people liked our band or us as individuals back then. Fast old school hardcore was not too popular in the States in those days either. We were a real minority at the time. Also we wanted complete control and we wanted nothing to do with the commercial/business side of punk. We wanted to keep it personal and not rip people off. So me and Bobby barely scraped enough money together to press 300 copies and put it out, using our friend's printshop to make various shitty record covers for free. We probably sold the thing out in a few months or so.

TB: Of all your releases do you have one youíre most fond of? How about least fond of and for what reasons?
Paul: Truthfully I am proud of every release for different reasons and don't regret any of them. The main thing is that we have fun when we record and keep the tape rolling. I think a lot of bands take themselves too seriously. I think how we act on our recordings is how we would act if you hung out with us. In other words a bunch of childish morons who like to amuse themselves. Of course Cider started it all for us so I guess that has some significance. Plus I like the pure raw sloppy noise of the recording. We recorded it all live including vocals, playing about as loud as you could in this shitty old studio in Cleveland. Aaron had super distortion on his bass and same with me on guitar so there is a lot of strange noise on the recording which I love. It was also a shitload of drunken stupidity at that recording with Wedge and Chris Erba helping out with the backups and mayhem. I don't favor any release though. Everyone of these records was recorded with friends, not bands, and we are one big loyal dysfunctional family. We had a great and ridiculous time each time we recorded. We always put these records out for ourselves with little care if the outside world liked it. There were also many recordings in the past that didn't make it to vinyl. If it wasn't good enough to be released then it wasn't. I'm not going to put it out just to put out another release. For a bunch of talentless retards, we put a lot of thought into each record.

TB: I heard some story about you recently ripping off a huge bathroom mirror in some Cleveland bar so that you and several show goers could snort coke off of it. Though one of the most amusing stories Iíve heard in quite some time Iíve heard of endless stories about shit you and your friends have done and even witnessed some insane shit myself, such as causing mini-riots, punching out fat drummers, breaking through the window of a shoe store, etc. Is this the kind of behavior we can come to expect out of you and the Cleveland hardcore/punk scene? What do you think stems this behavior?
Paul: Uh, I donít really know what youíre talking about. Mirror? Coke? Weíre a Christian band. We donít do things like that. Haha. Seriously, there are a million stories of mayhem. I could easily write a book and I think people would think itís fiction but most of the shit you hear is 100% true and there are many secret stories too. Especially in the early to late 90ís. It got so out of control that I thought I was gonna die. I used to wake up bloody, bruised, injured every night. Especially in the early years of Cider, Ruiners, H-100s, Inmates, Darvocets, Nine Shocks Terror, Gordon Solie Motherfuckers, Proctologists, TKOís, etc. and Integrity (the early years when the Melnicks were in it). Every show was a fight, a confrontation, or a pit of garbage. We have had the cops show up at a number of shows and there have been a decent amount of arrests too. Guns were even drawn at one show back in the day. When Cleveland does a big show, we put all we have into it like it's the last show ever. Why did this shit happen? I think part boredom, partly the shitty weather 3/4 of the year and also maybe the fact that Cleveland is a polluted industrial dump. OK not all of it. I have lived in several cities across the country and seen shows all over and I must say nothing rivals the chaos of a good Cleveland show. People try to outdo each other and see who can take it further. There arenít too many rules. Even most of the females at shows take part in the mayhem. There are no real divisions or political correctness in most of the hardcore scene here. People just donít give a fuck and it is an ethnically diverse scene. We make fun of everyone and it doesnít matter because people are not PC and have a sense of humor.

TB: Correct me if Iím wrong, but so far youíve played guitar and sang in Cider, guitar in the Ruiners, have sung in the Inmates, played guitar in the Darvocets, and sang and played guitar in Brainwashed Youth. Am I missing anything? Tell us all a little about each band and where they differentiate and what separates these bands from the pack.
Paul singing with The Inmates Paul: CIDER was the first of all the bands on NCR and started New Years Day 1991. I was in other hardcore bands in high school too that played out and recorded shit, but thatís way in the past. Cider was started I guess by me and Bobby, who I feel is one of the best and most innovative hardcore drummers I have ever played with or witnessed live. He can always make a song 100 times better than it would be. Always keeps it interesting and is also a lunatic. At first we were a two piece and played a couple shows just with guitar, vocals and drums. It was later joined by Aaron on bass who made it nice and heavy and added some personality to the band. Basically there were only two bands playing fast hardcore when Cider started, Gag Reflex and Windpipe. We all seemed to pop up around the same time. Sick of a once great hardcore scene. Everything had gone metal, emo or tough guy and nothing good was coming out I COULD EVEN GET INTO. It got real boring.

Me and Bobby were both into old 80ís American, British and foreign hardcore and wanted to start playing old style fast/mid paced hardcore. We basically wanted to play music we wanted to hear again. We didnít care if two people saw us which was basically what happened at first. By the time we had played for a while, we instigated and promoted full scale riots and destruction. It was basically a big fuck you to the whole lame gay hardcore scene. Cider only plays live occasionally to make it more interesting, and for some reason there is always a problem with either the club, the police, the crowd or other bands almost every time we play out. This holds true even to this day. And those three bands at the time, Gag Reflex, Windpipe and Cider were the source of many other spin off bands, new younger bands and the inspiration for a whole new scene in Cleveland. Call it arrogant to say it but it is the truth.

RUINERS was basically Cider members mixed with H-100s, started around late 1993. I think this band was very inspired by early Social Unrest, RKL, Battalion of Saints and other Mystic shit. We were all best friends and forced Bob to play bass in the band even though he didnít want to and didnít know how. We used to have to reteach him the songs sometimes live. Also a couple of times he refused to play live and we had to talk him into it. Best drummer, but bass was somewhat foreign to him at the time. Eventually he got quite good and the band wouldn't be the same without him. It was basically an excuse for us to consume many narcotics and excessive amounts of alcohol. Every practice was a memorable mess and there was always broken glass and people passed out. Everytime we practiced or played live it was physically exhausting. I will never have more fun practicing in a band. Add Chris Erba with some of the craziest vocals and wild stage antics that I have ever seen and you have the Ruiners. Then some fags in Detroit stole our name and wanted to be a wannabe U.S. Bombs band or some shit. Ruiners always flew under the radar. Never got much credit.

INMATES, I think started around 1994 and was probably the most powerful and brutal band I was ever in. I just sang in that one. I liked not having an instrument to hold me back. I really liked to attack and scare the audience. Our live shows were real energetic and at times very violent. Aaron wanted to play in a band that was fast. He was really into bands like Gauze, Systematic Death, Zouo, Chaos UK, Discharge, Agnostic Front (old stuff) and Olho Seco. Him and Lenny were playing in Integrity at the time and wanted to do a band that was just fun and ripping fast. None of us wanted to associate it with Integrity or use the name to get popular. So most of the time we were playing no one knew and it didnít resemble Integrity at all except for the fact that it was very heavy. Wedge played drums who was also playing in H-100ís at the time and Ruiners. And Chris Smith joined on 2nd guitar to make it ten times heavier. He also wrote some killer songs. Chris Smith has been in almost every legendary Cleveland band at one time or another, and was always a guitar hero in the scene for a lot of us.

Darvocets live DARVOCETS was me and Bobby again on guitar and drums, Chris ďI donít believe in GodĒ Pellow on bass and Dr. Lar ET (a/k/a Larry Larry, a/k/a UFO Pilot) on vocals. Pellow was also playing in Apt. 213 and Ringworm among other bands. This band was quite different for him and for the rest of us. Pellow was not only into hardcore, metal and power violence, but his favorite shit was always the old late 70ís/early 80ís California punk and hardcore. He wrote some killer bass lines that helped give the band itís sound. I also like a lot of late 70ís british and Cali punk, almost obsessed with it at times. I guess our biggest influences were the Dangerhouse bands like Deadbeats, Rhino 39 and the Dils, Devo, Screamers, the great sarcastic Cali HC bands like Authorities, Vandals, DK, Decry and the UK bands like Killjoys, Sick Things, Ian Dury, Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias, Johnny Moped, Nosebleeds and of course a lot of sci-fi and humor thrown in too. Great shit like that. Larry had never sang for a band and we werenít sure how good he would be. He was one of the most most hilarious, hyper, sarcastic motherfuckers I had ever known so we thought he would be quite entertaining. We had no idea how much. He was also obsessed with aliens, abductions and government conspiracies. He was extremely paranoid and also had a family history with extra terrestrial beings according to him. It wasnít meant to be an alien only band. Thatís just the way it turned out. Thatís what Larry is into. He reads about it and listens to people talk about it constantly. Itís everything to him, but he also has a good sense of humor about it. The insanity just continued to grow with this band as time went on and we got a decent following of morons after a while. Darvocets is a band that is all about having a good time and Larry is the ringleader. And now after all this time, a lot of UFO and conspiracy fanatics are starting to approach Larry at shows which is pretty hilarious.

BRAINWASHED YOUTH was another side project that stemmed from Cider. After a Cider practice one day Aaron (a/k/a/ Brainwashed Aaron, a/k/a A Double) got behind drums and had no idea how to play. I made the most generic shitty punk riff I could think of so Aaron could play along to it. It was hilarious to watch him smash the drums as hard as he could, make great facial expressions, and stumble through the song. It was fun though And thatís all that mattered. The main purpose of this band was to make fun of punk and make the most stereotypical stupid punk songs. They were all catchy Brit inspired sing alongs. We played out very rarely and it was always a fun occasion. Weíd have like ten of our friends on stage doing the backups and laughing cause everyone knew our stupid songs. This was around '93-94 and then we didnít do anything for awhile. Once in a while we would jam the classics but that was about it until about 2001. We were both living in New York and Aaron said he wanted to learn how to play drums in a band. We figured, why not, so we recruited fellow Cleveland transplant Dan "The Hairy GreekĒ on bass! He was as stupid as us so it worked out good. It was a band to do locally while we lived here. Unfortunately Aaron got better at drums and ruined the band. OK, not too good. Then we started playing out and recorded a 7 inch that for some reason you gave a good review to. Just recorded a 12 inch last week too and the songs are real good.

TB: For the most part youíve only released a small handful of records, most of which have sold out with little or no advertising, that only you or your friends have played on. Is there a reason for this? Will this change in the future?
Paul: Well number one, that is all I can afford usually. Also, in the old days hardly anyone was interested in any of the bands. They either didnít like it or we didnít fit the mold. Hardcore kids are usually just as much conformists and closed minded as the oneís they claim to oppose. I guess also we werenít trying to get popular, just happy to have a record out. I like the idea of limited press one time thing. Money and recognition mean little to me. If they canít get the record, fuck 'em. As Bobby put it best ĒThe people that like our bands and buy our shit are the ones we want to like itĒ. Usually when we go to a town and meet people that weíve been corresponding with, it seems they understand what we are doing and we usually like them. It is definitely a minority.

Cider live in Albany

TB: I heard Ciderís initial name was the Wogs, but you changed the name due to some unknown circumstances. Care to let us in on the name change? Also, speaking of Cider, whatís up with this Cider Anthology disc I keep hearing is in the works?
Paul: That is a little known fact, yes. I guess we were familiar with the term from an old Stranglers song, a Crass song and a Stiff Little Fingers song. Stuff me and Bobby listened to a lot. We always affiliated the word with an undesirable, whatever race that might be. I guess we always thought of it as what the majority would consider a lowlife and liked the way it sounded like we related to it. In England and Ireland from what I have been told it is used as a racist term for a black person, but can be used to refer to other races and nationalities too. In Australia and New Zealand, I am told it is used to reference Greeks or Italians more. Apparently either way it is a racist term. Normally I would not care if someone was offended, but I definitely did not want to be associated with Nazis or racism so we changed our name. We are a very multi-ethnic band and make jokes about everyoneís ethnicity. Even though our intention was quite different, a lot of people said you just canít use that name so for once we decided to find a better name and listen to people.
Yes the Cider CD discography will be out in the near future. It has the first two 7 inches remastered, unreleased live tracks, three songs from a demo and a rehearsal. It has a lot of unreleased material along with lyrics, liner notes, photos, etc. I am quite proud of it. It doesnít even cover all the songs that we have done or haven't recorded, but it is the best of what we have recorded. It will be on my label and it will be out after my next release.

TB: Of all your bands the Inmates come across as the most menacing of the bunch in my opinion. I mean, some of those songs are just fucked. Take ďComing Out EarlyĒ for example, which is basically a pro abortion song. Now you and I know each other and you know there isnít a thing in the world that offends me, but what the hell was going through your head when you wrote that song?
Paul: I guess when I donít have a guitar holding me back, I am much more out of control when I sing. Itís just shit I feel. I am very angry at times. Where it stems from I have no idea. I actually consider myself a very nice, loyal and straight forward person if you don't fuck with me. Itís just I happen to despise most of the human race and believe if people would procreate less, this world would be a much better place. That song was inspired by a girl who was trying to get a friend of mine to stay with her by saying she was pregnant, which she wasnít. I guess I found it amusing but apparently a lot of people don't. What can I say, I have a sick sense of humor. Itís also about people who always think it is a blessing to have a kid or some religious thing, and itís not. They are always oohing and aahing over a baby and it annoys me. They canít even take care of themselves but theyíll bring a kid in the world that doesnít stand a chance. Selfish fucks. I know this shit first hand. Population Control is what we need. How many more morons do we need in this world. Sorry thatís the way I feel. Humans are filthy gluttons who consume and destroy everything around them. If we had less or eliminated ourselves, the planet might stand a chance.

Darvocets live 9/11

TB: On nearly of all the releases youíve sang on you often speak in this crazed British accent in between songs for some completely asinine reason Iím sure, but a lot of my friends have asked me if youíre actually British and if not why the fuck are you using a British accent. Care to enlighten us?
Paul: No I am not British, but major inspiration has come from a lot of great late 70ís Brit Punk and early 80ís UK hardcore like Disorder, Conflict, Flux of Pink Indians, Anti-System, Discharge, etc. I always identified with it because it was pissed off, urgent sounding and in your face. I guess a bunch of us really collected British shit just like people now idolize the Japanese stuff and borrow their style. They also had a knack for writing great catchy songs. So I guess it inspired me. I also like to make fun of it because I have a sense of humor which is not allowed these days in punk. I guess my goal is to make the stupidest record ever.

TB: As you and many others know Iíve recently begun taking and studying Shaolin kung fu and it has really done a world of good for me. You were actually one of my biggest inspirations for getting into martial arts. Youíve been taking Muay Thai for a few years now. Tell me a little about what it is you do exactly and give some of these real nihilist punks out there some insight into what it can do for you.
Paul: Yes I would say that Muay Thai is my other real passion that I have besides hardcore/music in my life. I am somewhat obsessed with it like I am with playing in bands, listening to and collecting music. It has been the best thing for me. I previously had a lot of anger and rage problems and itís really helped me deal with things like that and stress. Besides keeping me in shape, it gives me some discipline I needed and it gives me a shitload of energy that I never had before. It is a lot of fun and provides a lot of challenges. It's extremely practical and should only be used as a last resort. It humbles you quite a bit too, when you realize the type of men/women walking the streets who know this shit and can take you out quite quickly if need be. And of course I donít worry anymore when someone is trying to fuck with me either. Itís really carried over into the rest of my life, especially band shit. It keeps you active and young instead of feeling like a pile of shit like I was for a while. I recommend it to anyone. The worst thing you can do is be a one dimensional person that just sits on your ass and watches TV and has no activity in your life at all.

Inmates live on 9/11/05

TB: The Inmates and Darvocets just finished a 10 or 11 day tour while you were on crutches and many members of both bands were plagued with various illnesses and injuries. What makes a group of guys in their mid-30ís carry on through such illnesses and injuries when you could just reschedule? I mean most bands wouldnít even think of playing a single show if their guitarist had even so much as twisted his ankle.
Paul: Well itís not too often that all of us old dirtbags can get together to do even a mini tour because we all have other bands, full time jobs and other obligations. There is no way that me not being able to walk was gonna stop me from doing these shows. This is what I live for and Iím not gonna be a pussy about it. Wedge needs foot surgery and Aaron had some skin infection from Thailand, but we weren't about to let it keep us down. I think all of us are in this shit for life. We made it this far where most of the old schoolers dropped out years ago and only death is gonna stop me from playing.

TB: Noncommercial has always been a very slow moving and very untrusting label, but it seems as if youíre becoming somewhat active again and it seems youíre finally giving a tad bit of trust into other labels and allowing them to release your records. Whatís the reasoning for this?
Paul: Well, in the past I have dealt with many shady labels, shady distros and collector nerds that I didnít trust. People also like taking forever to release something when they say theyíre gonna right away, so I always felt Iím gonna do it myself because then Iím the only one to blame if it ainít done right. Well, besides the Inmates 12 inch on Human Stench, no one else has released my records up until a couple years ago. I decided to give Painkiller a chance with the Cider EP and then see how it went. Those guys did a great job and did everything they said they would in a timely manner and were great to deal with. Since that one went good, I went ahead and trusted them with the Darvocets 12" and Inmates reissue. Got nothing but good things to say about Chris M. and Chris C. at Painkiller. Cooch also really helped with the artwork too and made it look real good on all the releases because I suck at art. Also, I only have so much time and money. And now I got Gloom putting a Darvocets discography CD which is gonna rip tits, and Parts Unknown putting out the Wolfdowners 12Ē and Inamtes discography CD.

Darvocets live 9/11

TB: Last but not least, what does the future hold for Noncommercial? Iíve heard some rumors, but Iíd like to get it straight from the goatís mouth. Also, Iím sure youíd like to throw in a few last words so go for it here.
Paul: Well the immediate future is Battle of the Worst Bands 12Ē which includes the first Cider EP, first Darvocets EP, Ruiners EP and Brainwashed Youth demo on one record with a poster and shit. This will be out by August I hope. Then I also am putting out a Cider CD discography which includes the first two 7 inches, a demo with unreleased tracks, live shit and a rehearsal all remasterd on one disc with a nice booklet and shit. I also have a few secret releases coming out. Also have several records coming out on other labels. Brainwashed Youth just recorded 7 songs and Wolfdowners just recorded a three song EP that rips. Inmates are recording this summer and Darvocets also. Plus Darvocets/Inmates are planning a three day East Coast thing and fall West Coast/Mexico tour with Annihilation Time. Canít wait for that.
One thing I would to say to people that are in bands and feel like outcasts. Ignore what all the other hipsters are doing. If you're young and just starting out or feel like an outcast, that's good. You probably have a brain. Even if two people like it or no one, do it for yourselves, not to please others. If you believe in it and you're doing your own thing, that is all that matters. When we started Cider people criticized us because it wasn't like the current trend in music. We just kept doing our own thing and having fun in our own world.
NCR logo Last thing I would like to say is that people at shows are real boring in most cities these days. I long for the day when punk was so much more dangerous and out of control. So kiddies out there, stop worrying about all the records youíre gonna buy and your fashion and socializing and get in there and throw yourself around like a lunatic and wake up out of your fucking comas.

END INTERVIEW

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