Beth Stadnicki is serving as self-appointed tour guide of Allston’s rock ‘n’ roll community. “Like, everyone lives in Allston. It’s crazy,” says the 21-year-old publicist for CherryDisc Records, an independent label in Newton. “Here’s 32 Linden Street, where Ambulance Driver and Milk Money live, on the third floor where the Superman curtains are. And here’s 17 Mansfield, where Mike from 454 Big Block lives, and Daryll from Supahead, which used to be Headcleaner, and Mike who plays guitar in Slapshot. And here’s 22 Mansfield, where I used to live, and where Incinerator lives, and also Binky, who was in Love Pollution.” Wait, there’s Sean from Milk Money. “Pull over,” Stadnicki says. “Hey, Sean! How’s it going?”</p><p>One mandatory stop on the tour is 53 Gardner Street, dubbed a “rock palace” by Ted Condo, one of its residents. The six housemates are in four different bands, including Condo’s own 6L6. Condo is on the porch, decked out in white mother-of-pearl sunglasses, red hightop sneakers, and a black jacket with an “Allston — Rock City” patch sewn on the arm.
When money is particularly tight, they “couch surf,” moving</p><p>from one friend’s sofa to the next. If things get really bad, they opt for the indignity of moving back in with their parents in the suburbs.
Across the street is the plant where Herrell’s ice cream is made, a place staffed almost entirely by rock musicians
The dream: to rise from an Allston basement to stardom — perhaps with a stop along the way at rented rehearsal space in some South End warehouse, where at least the neighbors won’t complain about the noise.
Among the 50 or 60 people at the word-of-mouth event are a grunge contingent in filthy, tattered clothes; another group in baggy pants and baseball caps worn backward; and one old-fashioned punk rocker, with green mohawk, spiked leather jacket, and wraparound sunglasses.
Dozens of musicians have lived and practiced at 20 Ashford Street. One resident was Kristin Pfaff, who later achieved notoriety playing in Courtney Love’s Seattle band, Hole, before dying of an apparent drug overdose earlier this year.
There’s not much in Lower Allston, except for Clemens Market, which sells Vietnamese beer and frog legs from Bangladesh. But in Upper Allston, there are musicians’ hangouts like Steve’s Kitchen, the Avenue Deli, the Model Cafe, and the Grecian Yearning — or the Greasy Yearning, as it is known. Yes, there’s also Riley’s, “but no one really goes there,” Stadnicki says. And, a few doors down, there’s Gerlando’s, “where definitely no one goes, except for scary college students.”</p><p>Across Brighton Avenue is the Allston Mall, above some secondhand shops and a Chinese restaurant. It was here that the Allston Beat clothing chain got its start. The Allston Mall has also been home to a women’s cooperative art gallery, an underground newspaper, and Primal Plunge, an alternative bookstore that changed its name to the Bibliodrome before going out of business. Today, the only operating concerns seem to be B.C. Amps (“vintage guitar amplifier repair and modifications”) and a body-piercing studio called Rites of Passage.</p><p>There, one can get an ebony labret, an ornament worn in a hole pierced through the lower lip. Also available is a U-shaped metal loop that is inserted in the nose, and can be swung up out of sight into the nostrils when the situation doesn’t call for such adornments.
“There’s a lot of that in Allston,” Fanning says. “Wanna-bes. Might-bes. Coulda-beens.” Then she softens. “No, don’t write that down. I love Allston. There’re a lot of will-bes.”