On the brink of adolescence my best skate buddy Tim and I found a statue of the Virgin Mary with red paint on it in the woods. Convinced that this was the site of a recent Satanic ritual, we gathered the other neighborhood kids and went with flashlights in the dark to investigate further. As we huddled around, I spent most of my time trying to feel up the girl who lived across the street from Tim. I was making serious headway when we saw a car pull up at the edge of the woods and hit the brakes. Convinced it was the Satanists, we scattered like rats.
Experiences like this made me naturally inclined to love the new book, Live...Suburbia!, a collaboration between Max G. Morton and Anthony Pappalardo. Anthony grew up not far from me, and we actually share some friends, although we've never met. But clearly we shared more than that—skating, trying to impress girls, looking for porn in the woods, rumors of suburban Satanism and a love for the rebellion of rock, specifically metal, punk and hardcore. Max brings a darker, if not unfamiliar vibe to the collection of short stories and photos that make up the narrative loosely centered around drugs, family life and metal, calling to mind the older burnout kids who all somehow looked like Metallica's Cliff Burton.
Live... Suburbia! are the stories of Max and Anthony's youth, of my youth and the stories of a million kids like us that knew that there had to be more out there than what people were telling us at school, in church or on the news. Disaffected youth rebelling through skating and punk rock might be an old tale, but what's most fascinating about this collection of stories is the era when they took place.
This was a time without Internet, without the constant, ubiquitous ability to know everything about anything at any time. The bands we loved had to be discovered through commitment and caring meant devouring mixtapes, scouring Thrasher magazine, combing over liner notes, collecting fliers and doing our best to glean any and every piece of information from any source we could. This lack of readily-available facts also created an incredible culture of rumor, with Skinheads and Satanists and druggies allegedly lurking around every corner, and sometimes they actually did.
Punk and hardcore purists will enjoy the points of reference and personal tales, but ultimately these are stories about the mystique of rebellion and the passion it took to pull it off in a time before it was made easy. Live... Suburbia! is out on 27 September 2011 and is available for for preorder from Amazon.
All photos from Live...Suburbia! by Anthony Pappalardo and Max G Morton, published by powerHouse Books.