OT Downtown: Anthony Pappalardo’s Playlist for His Generation

Written by Staff on . Posted in Books, Posts.

In their latest issue, Downtown talks to author and "cultural historian" (though he hates the title) Anthony Pappalardo about his new book, Live…Suburbia and what it was like growing up in the Suburbia of the late 80s/ early 90s.

“I rode a skateboard, a BMX, kept weapons in my locker, cursed a lot,
liked heavy metal, lit things on fire, jumped off of stuff and, if
anyone I knew would have surfed, I would have been a walking Black Flag
lyric.” — Pappalardo

Check out Pappalardo’s "Playlist for his Generation" included in the feature.

For the full article by Danny Gold, head to Our Town Downtown

Playlist for his Generation

Black Sabbath, “Black Sabbath”
Hard rock, glam rock, metal…whatever I had been exposed to prior to
hearing Black Sabbath seemed tame, lame and a waste of my fucking time.
“Iron Man” and “Paranoid” were already in my brain somehow through radio
shows and mixtapes, but “Black Sabbath” was the song that left the
biggest impression. It barely sounds like music—it’s not conventional
blues rock, it’s just three notes and a disturbed man screaming and
babbling over it.

Slayer, “Black Magic”
Sabbath crushed, galloped and crunched. When I found out there was a
breed of heavy metal based on speed, I was hooked—and also terrified.
There was always this stereotype of metal being satanic or evil; Slayer
lived up to every stereotype from their sheer speed and lack of melody
to the pentagrams and other imagery made to piss people off. Just the
sight of their logo on your denim jacket sent a nihilistic message to
the other people around you the mall, school or woods.

Minor Threat, “In My Eyes”
Something happened to me in my early teens…a switch was turned and I
woke up thinking heavy metal was a boring, cartoonish fantasy. I didn’t
stop listening to it, but its impact was gone. Minor Threat played a key
role in making metal seem tame. Punk rock led me to its American
cousin, hardcore, and I was hooked. Fast, direct music played by kids in
jeans and T-shirts—it was deceptively simple. Minor Threat stand as one
of the most popular hardcore bands of all time, but they cannot be

Mission of Burma, “That’s When I Reach for my Revolver”
WFNX, Boston’s alternative radio station, would play MoB in regular
rotation, despite the fact that they had been broken up since the early
1990s. They’d be sandwiched between The Cure’s new single and a
Morrissey song—I thought they were as big as those artists. I didn’t
realize they were infinitely more influential than “big.” We’d buy any
record related to MoB, from Pere Ubu and Wire to countless indie rock
bands of the early 1990s that name-checked them. I’d listen to Burma and
imagine what it would be like to see them in the same way I’d wonder
what it would be like if Buckner had fielded the ball and the Red Sox
had won in 1986.

Sebadoh, “Scars Four Eyes”
Seemingly overnight, most of my friends went from aggro skate punks
living at home to confused kids in dorm rooms discovering these new
things called emotions. I’m pretty sure every dorm room in Massachusetts
came with a copy of Sebadoh’s record. Luckily for us, Lou Barlow was
our cool upperclassman, figuratively speaking, who had been through punk
and hardcore and was now digging through the crates for Nick Drake

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