5 ‘suburban struggles’ Anthony Pappalardo faced as a teen

What counts in music today

Jonathan Hokklo

Anthony Pappalardo knows that the speed and ubiquity of the Internet and the gradual mainstreaming of skate culture, punk and metal music, and graffiti art has changed the landscape tremendously for suburban teens interested in those things. Pappalardo, co-writer Max G. Morton, and a group of photographers - some from the Boston area - capture life in those gap years between the first explosions of punk/hardcore and the breakthrough of the alt-rock generation in their book “Live . . . Suburbia!’’

An exhibit of photos from the book opens tomorrow at the Orchard Skate Shop Extension Gallery in Allston. We chatted with Pappalardo about “five constant suburban struggles’’ he faced growing up as a music-art-skate-loving teen.


1. Transportation: “There would be all these things you were excited about, like buying a new record or grip tape for your skateboard, but you couldn’t actually get there to get these things.’’

2. Finding your place: “As a kid you’re always a work in progress, and for me, everything I identified with would coincide with probably the least cool thing you could do at the time.’’

3. Being “straight edge’’ (i.e. not drinking or doing drugs): “Anyone you meet in that scene is instantly your best friend and anyone outside of it thinks you’re a lunatic.’’

4. Lag time: Whether behind the curve on album releases or unaware of differences in scene fashions, Pappalardo says staying in the know was crucial since “if you go to the mall wearing a certain button or T-shirt kids are going to be friendly and take you to the better record store or place to skateboard.’’

5. Police: He knows the men in blue had a job to do, but growing up Pappalardo felt targeted as a teen. “That’s from an illegal show in a kid’s basement that gets broken up to finally finding a curb that grinds well and you get kicked out.’’