Live… Suburbia! An Interview With Anthony Pappalardo

Live Suburbia
Live Suburbia

Live Suburbia

Scott: Tell me about yourself, and Live… Suburbia.

Anthony Pappalardo: Live…Suburbia! was an idea that came from Max and I talking at a book reading at Brass City Tattoo in Connecticut. We found ourselves surrounded by friends in a suburban parking lot and realized that we had so many memories growing up that took place in empty parking lots. When your town doesn’t have much of any space you have to hang out becomes the center of your world. Hanging outside of a punk show…parking lot, grinding some overwaxed curbs…parking lot, sitting outside of a record store and analyzing every detail of what you just purchased…comic book stores…it all revolved around that and that’s suburbia.
We wanted to turn the spotlight away from cities that get all the acclaim for subcultures. If I see one more fucking book about CBGB 77 I’ll vomit. There were some good bands, some cool fashions, some great stories but in the end if some of those bands don’t break out and go pop the “world” doesn’t care. The hardcore scene in New York City is infinitely more interesting to me especially the early 80s stuff and even with the books happening now it’s under documented. Part of that magic was the mix of kids from the suburbs training in, going to a shitty part of the city and meeting other kids with different problems, struggles and ideas. You need the suburbs to fuel anything in culture and eventually any subculture becomes a store in a mall …in suburbia. The book is just as much a commentary on consumerism and marketing as it is a celebration of kids emulating and creating what they love without pretension.

Chain Of Strength - True Til Death

Chain Of Strength – True Til Death

Scott: What inspired you to archive and put together Live… Suburbia ?

Anthony Pappalardo: In addition to what I detailed in question 1, we wanted to illustrate the journey/timeline so many people we know grew up with. I’ll explain more in the next question as it kind of bleeds together. The idea was to show how visually stimulating and how interesting suburban cultures and folklore are. The only reason there aren’t tons of books about everyday things from the 80s and 90s is because no one realizes how fucking interesting a basic day in the woods in 1985 can be. Over the Edge was a movie that really inspired the book and that documentation of suburban malaise has been replaced by robot movies and shitty shit about over privileged kids being mean and texting. That’s the now and that’s the world, I’m not interested in that.

Faith - Subject To Change

Faith – Subject To Change

Scott: Back in the day, what would you say you were, Metal, Punk, Hardcore ? Maybe a little of each ?

Anthony Pappalardo: This is the journey Max and I discussed :

You first dig through your parents records and find a few you like, then you get your first albums and go for what shocks you the most, you get a dub of Black Sabbath from some dirt and you’re officially into metal, you discover bands that play fast and crave that speed, suddenly the cartoony image of bands like Anthrax rub you the wrong way and Slayer’s imagery isn’t shocking anymore, punk is snottier and makes fun of heavy metal, you’re hooked. Next you realize you live in the United States not England and punk loses a bit of it’s grip and hardcore sucks you in, all the while rap is growing and changing and you’re dipping in and out of it, at some point the caffeine wears off and you’re branching out and following what the hardcore forefathers are doing after hardcore…from Sebadoh to Quicksand you’re digging all over for new sounds…it’s the 90s…everything gets weird…the Beastie Boys “comeback” sell millions and play every style of music at once that you grew up on but you hate it. And now…here we are.

Suicidal Tendencies

Suicidal Tendencies

Scott: What are some of your favorite bands ?

Anthony Pappalardo: Here are five off the top of my head : Cold Cave, Guided By Voices, SS Decontrol, Loop and Prurient

Scott: What’s your playlist like on your iPod, Spotify, Pandora, your CD player, etc..?

Anthony Pappalardo: I just made this mix :

Migration -Sambassadeur
Dreams Never End-New Order
Party of The Mind-The Sound
Pendulum -Broadcast
High Pressure Days-Units
Looking From A Hilltop (Restructured)-Section 25
SORT SOL – Abyss
Crush The Flowers-The Wake
Kidney Bingos-Wire
Scandinavian Crush-Craft Spells

Scott: Do you feel that over time your music tastes have changed at all, what bands that you liked back in the day would you say you don’t listen to so much now ?

Anthony Pappalardo: I don’t think I’ll ever stop being interesting in finding new music and learning about older bands, most people stop in their 30s but with the amount of good music coming out now and old things being cataloged and documented I don’t think I could ever just spin the same things from the first 30 years of my life and be content. I don’t listen to much metal if at all anymore and maybe that’s because I haven’t been running as much. It’s not that I don’t like metal I just don’t care. Here and there I’ll suddenly want to hear Venom or something but never make it through a full album…ever.

SSD - Get It Away EP (1983)

SSD – Get It Away EP (1983)

Scott: Before LS, did the team of Pappalardo and Morton work on anything else ?

Anthony Pappalardo: Just the reading in Connecticut I talked about earlier.

Scott: What’s next for Pappalardo and Morton ?

Anthony Pappalardo: Max is constantly working hard with Heartworm putting out new titles including Boyd Rice’s latest book Twilight Man and his own works. I’m working on a new book as we speak which will be published in 2012.

Scott: Did either of you ever do any fanzine work or write for ‘zines back in the day ?

Anthony Pappalardo: My roommate John Lacroix started an excellent zine called Extent in the 90s and I wrote for that, prior to that I did a horrible zine called Frame of Mind which I just wrote about for a Finite and Flammable ” a zine about zines’ that was just published and came out really well.
I was super psyched to do a zine as a teen but I really didn’t follow through, I did one issue and then was onto something else.

Scott: How do you feel about the state of fanzine’s today ? As of late, the word on the Internet is that they are making a comeback.

Anthony Pappalardo: I love the idea of holding something you are reading but it’s not always necessary, there’s a fine line between a fanzine that really is that a FAN ZINE and some “artist” printing out 20 shitty photos and selling it for 20 dollars because zines are “cool” now just as cassettes are or any analog thing that can be appropriated and repurposed for a brand.
I think it’s awesome that people appreciate the tradition of fanzines and continue to make them, I’ve seen some hardcore ones that are awesome I just wish more were cut and paste, I love the results of something hand made and crude.

Misfits - Walk Among Us

Misfits – Walk Among Us

Scott: Tell me about the Live… Suburbia website, I was checking it out today and noticed that people can interact with it by telling stories of back in the day and uploading pictures to it. What a great idea, was this something you came up with to push the book or was this an inspiration towards it ?

Anthony Pappalardo: Initially we were going to aggressively gather content for the book by going to different suburbs, having parties and getting people’s images and stories but we realized it was going to be a huge undertaking and it could spiral out of control quickly so we made the site interactive to have that same interaction. Radio Silence took over 4 years to complete and we didn’t want to do something that crushed our souls to complete as things move so quickly now that an idea can be obsolete if you don’t move on it immediately.

Scott: I notice that LS is packed with show fliers from decades gone by, did you both collect all those fliers, and did you attend all those shows ? I still have all my fliers too.

Anthony Pappalardo: There actually aren’t many flyers in the book other than ones that are in the backgrounds of the photographs etc and they all tell the story of that time period. I love hand made flyers the most, especially when someone recreates a band’s logo or art work which usually is born out of necessity…how do I get this Misfits album art on a flyer…fuck it I’ll redraw it!

Scott: What’s your funniest memory from hanging out at a show ?

Anthony Pappalardo: I was changing into some shorts at a show in CT because it was a million degrees in the venue, I put my jeans on the wall of this bathroom stall and heard my wallet plummet into the hollow cinderblock wall. I tried to fish it out but it had fallen to deep into the wall. The singer of the band I was in at the time had a hammer in the trunk of his car so we waited for Hatebreed to start playing because they were the loudest band on the bill and smashed the wall to free my wallet. Said wallet also had the band’s merch money for the night so there was an urgency to retrieve it.

Scott: What are some of the bands you got to meet, and did any of them leave a lasting impression ?

Anthony Pappalardo: I met Alec Mackaye (Faith, Ignition, Warmers) in a rest stop bathroom in New Jersey, I politely waited until he was done urinating to approach him and he ended up hanging out with me on a patch of grass for about a half hour. Ten Yard Fight and In My Eyes got to play a lot of rad places and tour with great bands so we were always meeting people and I lived in a house in Boston where bands would always crash so it would be some dude from Jimmy Eat World watching the Simpsons in the living room one day, someone annoying from Joan of Arc reading a book in the backyard…just weird 90s bands 24-7. Through doing Radio Silence and being involved in hardcore I’ve met so many amazing people and that’s a huge inspiration. I like that it’s still a secret society, you pick up on things and suddenly you’re talking to a member of Rorschach in a black metal cassette store in Manhattan about the Cro Mags for an afternoon.

Scott: I was thinking, you guys could put together a LS documentary video, maybe submit it to the DOC Channel. Have you put any thought in to something like that now that the book is out ?

Anthony Pappalardo: It would be difficult but amazing to take it in that direction.

Scott: Do either of you play any instruments or ever been in any bands ?
Anthony Pappalardo: Max was in Cold Cave and appears on the Cremations CD. I was in Ten Yard Fight and In My Eyes, I have an album coming out now, a solo project called Italian Horn on Dais Records which I’m excited about , Robert Pollard from Guided by Voices did the album art.

Scott: What do you think of the digital age of music, the days of music being shared by friends by borrowing an LP or a cassette or CD is pretty much over, no need for the double cassette player or a stacked stereo system anymore.

Anthony Pappalardo: I personally don’t miss giant obnoxious stereos, I think that was a big 80s thing to have the fast car, the big speakers, big hair…big tits…it’s such a waste of space but I also live in New York so I probably couldn’t house anything that large. I love the state of music because it really separates fans from people who “listen to everything” aka Ben Harper fans who own a Moby CD too. If you want something you can find it and if you want an actual record the people making them tend to really put a lot of effort into making them look special, it’s a really exciting time. The bands that care really make albums and cassettes interesting now because they know the people who will actually buy them care a fucking lot. I love it.

Scott: How has the release of LS been for you, has the response to the book been well ?

Anthony Pappalardo: No complaints yet which is pretty insane for a book w/over a hundred contributors and touching on things that are so special to people, we were trusted with people’s lives and I think we did a great job showing the reality of the time period.

Scott: Which would you say was the coolest movie of it’s time, and whay ? “Urgh! A Music War!”, ” Suburbia”, ” Another State Of Mind”, ” The Decline Of Westen Civilization”, “The Decline of Western Civilization 2”, “American Hardcore”, “The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle, “Hated: GG Alin”, or “1991: The Year Punk Broke”.

Anthony Pappalardo: Another State Of Mind was shown on Night FLight which was the most important thing in my world at the time and that documentary is just absolutely incredible and perfect.

Scott: Any last words before we sign off ?

Anthony Pappalardo: Thank you so much!


Author: Scott View all posts by
Scott grew up in Miami, Florida interviewing punk, metal and hardcore bands, reading comic books, playing with Star Wars action figures, Shogun Warriors, and MEGO dolls. Scott's work has appeared in Flipside Magazine, Scrape Magazine, Zaphod Fanzine, El 'Zine De Eugene, Rational Enquirer, Maximum Rock and Roll, Rated Rookie Magazine, POPSmear Magazine, Crying Clown Fanzine, Slug & Lettuce, ThoraZine, Fact Sheet 5, 'Zine Guide, O/Z Magazine, Asian Trash Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, Euro-Trash Cinema and more. He has two culinary degrees and attended art school for a Visual Arts degree with a minor in Music Journalism. Scott was the owner of Action Games & Comics in Clermont Florida from January 1999 til it's demise in December 2011. Scott can sometimes be seen flying across Florida at supersonic speeds, you just need a good eye to catch him.. :-)

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