Various - Not So Quiet On The Western Front (Cover Artwork)


Not So Quiet On The Western Front (1999)

Alternative Tentacles

"If punk is dead, what the hell is this?" This is part of the ongoing Alternative Tentacles "Reissues of Necessity" program, in which they rerelease classic punk albums that have been out of print for a long time, and they feel should be made available for the punk audience once again.

This compilation was originally released in 1982, in order to show off the Northern California and Nevada punk scene. It was put out to show off the new face of the punk scene while showcasing some of the original wonders. In 82 the punk scene was begining to shift from the inner cities to the suburbs. Instead of people in their late teens and early twenties who were fashionably bored Sid clones, and junkies. What appeared was younger kids from the suburbs and smaller towns full of energy and hope, willing to make the scene work, instead of writing it off as a dying fad.

One of the best aspects of this comp, is that it showcases the vast diversity of punk in this era, instead of the trademark punk of today(which is a ripoff of NOFX, Pennywise, Operation Ivy, and Bad Religion, or some combination of these bands). Here we can find examples of classical 77-style, manic punk thrash, punkabilly, raw 60's sounds, abrasive post-punk, and garage punk, all of which are laced with a progressive political stance. While I only knew a few bands on this album before, (Dead Kennedys, 7 Seconds, MDC,and Filpper), I can honestly say that every band on here rocks. This whole cd made me want to pogo around my room, and then go out and smash eveything.

One of the best things that this album has to offer, besides the great music, is a impressive booklet. In it are too essays written by original Maxium Rock and Roll writer Jeff Bale. In the first essay written in 1982 he talks about the move of punk from the city to the suburbs and how many people have just bought the punk image and not the punk ideals and belliefs (hmm sound familar). The second essay was written for the reissue, in it he talks about the curent punk scene, and how, much like in 82, some people are fearing the demise of the scene due to co-opting by the mainsterm, as well as forces within the scene itself. One of which is ironically Maxium Rock and Roll, which Jeff states he has had no connection with for quite some time. When i read these essays it makes me think, that perhaps punk is still relevant and that we as a scene will soon pass over the jocks and 13 year old girls that have been drawn in by Blink 182, Sum 41, and all those other Mtv "punk" bands. It seems that the scene has survived co-opting before, and will most likely survive it again if only those that are truely punk beleive in it and dont loose hope.

I think that my feelings about this are summed up in the last line of the essay from 1982; "Punk will either rise to the occasion and lead the cultural resistance to corporate exploitation, goverment repression, nuclear proliferation, militatry aggression, racism, sexism, and the moral puritanism of the New Right, or it will be co-opted and go the way of the hippie. ITS UP TO YOU."

All I can say is that everyone should go out and get this album, espically those who enjoy the old school style of punk rock. Even those who dont like old school punk, should pick it up to see where punk came from and the power that it once had.