Imagine a 747 Jet Liner flying over The Atlantic at night in heavy turbulence. You’re flanked between Johnny Rotten on your left and Henry Rollins to your right. Suddenly the cabin pressure drops and the plane begins a sharp descent straight down towards pitch black ocean waters. Everyone assumes it’s the storm’s doing, but then you and your aisle mates look out the window and in between lightening flashes you catch the profile of that goblin from the Nightmare at 20,000 Feet Twilight Zone episode straddling the engine fiendishly tearing it to shreds. This somewhat describes what I experienced the first time I heard Cleveland’s Plain Dealers. They take ‘70’s British punk and tack it to a molten slab of 80’s American hardcore. And what you’ve got is some of the meanest, snottiest, white knuckle punk rock either side of the Atlantic has heard in quite some time.
Interview by Jay Castro
Please introduce yourselves and how you contribute to the Plain Dealers posse.
BECKER: I'm Becker; I play rhythm guitar/backing vox and do all this bullshit. I'm pretty stoked that I didn't have to spell check the word rhythm. That's a first. I tried to get Chic to answer some questions but he was busy. Mean Dean is gonna chime in on a few questions though. He plays lead guitar and pukes a lot.
DEAN: We are no posse, we are a street gang! No holds barred! That's what we’re about. We're the real deal.
BECKER – Dean drinks a lot too.
The band is currently in Cleveland, OH are all of you guys from that area originally?
BECKER: Yeah, our drummer Timmy is Italian though.
Last year The Cleveland Scene did a piece on you guys and someone said that “Cleveland still has a punk scene but kids aren’t as angry as they used to be.” What do you guys think of the whole Maximum Rock N Roll political correctness in punk rock now?
BECKER: I don't know what the fuck the shit in that magazine is?? That rag sucked back in the ‘90's and just got worse. I couldn't even read it when I was in jail, I'd read Source instead. It seems like a lot of the kids today are afraid of their own shadows, afraid to think for themselves. P.C. is a fucking lie. They're on some weak shit. Tallboys from Cleveland are ripping though. You know what the difference between a crust punk and a hippie is?? Not much.
DEAN: PC doesn't apply to us. From what I understand . . . we hate everyone!!! Anything goes with this band. Hate who you want, like who or what you want as long as you're dealing, you'll ride with us.
Your new 7” Terminal Darkness is on the British record label No Front Teeth. How did you guys hook up with them?
BECKER: Danny from Factory 13 Skateboards told me about NFT a while ago. I sent them out some tracks one night and two months later our shit was all over the world. Marco rules and so do The GAGGERS, major props to NFT.
I saw some pretty bloody pics of Chic on your Facebook page and I noticed you guys have played with some legendary punk bands (Channel 3, Zero Boys, The Business). What’s been the most memorable show you’ve done, good or bad and what made it so unforgettable?
BECKER: Fuck, I could write a book on this one. A lot of our first shows were pretty hairy. Chic just got out of prison and was on a huge fucking rampage. I think it was like our second show and our buddy Paul thought it would be funny to have us open for Negative Approach in Cleveland. The place was sold out and rumors were flying to look out for some skinhead attack and shit. I actually bought a new stiletto to wear on my belt for this show. That's how heavy the possibility of trouble was at the time. It was just fucking crazy man, second song in I had to boot some poor dude in the head while trying to reach for my blade and hold a chord. Turns out he just tackled Chic for fun and just so happen to have a shaved head. Next thing you know Dagger busts a bottle over his own head and gigged himself pretty good. I had no idea how gnarly it was cuz we just kept going with Rule #1 "Keep playing no matter what." The look on the faces in the crowd was pure horror, I'll never forget it. We ended up playing for about 40 minutes that night too. He probably would have died if he was human. Once the lights went on I jumped off stage and blood actually splashed everywhere. Most blood I've ever seen in my life. There were people covered in the shit from slipping and falling in it. It was like a massacre!!! Then Negative Approach still had to play!! Some chick just got her nose busted in a cat fight during our Valentine’s Day show. That was pretty cool.
When I listen to The Plain Dealers, I hear punk from all over the place. I hear Cockney Rejects, Black Flag, Sex Pistols. Is there anything you guys listen to that you think some of your fans would be surprised by? Any “guilty pleasures” as they say?
BECKER: Cockney Rejects?? Guess it's better than the standard Dead Boys/Stitches comparison. That one boggles my fractured mind. Guilty pleasures: I like The Jam a lot and have wanted to cover Billy Joel’s "You May Be Right" for over 20 years.
DEAN: Me personally, I love old country!!! OLD country! Hank Williams, David Allan Coe, Johnny Rebel, and shit like N.W.A, Ganksta N.I.P, Eazy mothafukin’ E. I love the oldies too.
The cassette is making a raging comeback. Do you think it’s a viable and collectable form of music or just another hipster trend that will soon go hobbling back to its dark cave of obscurity where in belongs?
BECKER: I have about a dozen cassettes that people have given me and I haven't opened one of them. I guess anything could be collectable? My one science teacher had a scat collection. Will the cassette stick around, who the fuck cares!
DEAN: Good luck playing cassettes 20 years from now, jack-off cassettes ain’t ever been worth shit and won’t ever be.
Where are the best places for people to hear or buy your music?
BECKER: Fuck if I know. Where ever NO FRONT TEETH products are sold. We have a store at www.plaindealers.us that has a bunch of records and t-shirts for sale.
DEAN: Come see us live!!!!
What does the band have in store for us in the near or not so near future?
BECKER: Who knows? Try not to self destruct. We got a bunch of songs to record so hopefully we can do that soon. Gig more. Maybe come out your way and skate some big ass ditches!! We'll crash at your pad, cool?