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!!!!!!
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
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
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.
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 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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Visit Noncommercial Records: here and 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
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.
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
Pics provided by Paul, if you want a credit please contact us.
Contact Coppens: freakodepresso-at-hotmail-dot-com
To read more Coppens go here.
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