Long before our humble burg blossomed into a model of artistic livability, Portland was a whole lot different. The longtimers are quick to point this out—no one moved here, Portland's music scene had no comfortable non-smoking venues, and on any given night at the Satyricon, things could get a little scary. This gritty environment was a fertile locale for the creation of some of punk rock's most ambitious acts, including the social/political punks in Resist.
Ward Young, guitarist for Resist, describes his band's role back in the dark days of Portland music: "Well, we didn't really fit in at all. What we were doing was a reaction to the state of the Portland punk scene—which wasn't good. The Nazi skinhead problem, coupled with the increasing grip heroin seemed to have on local musicians, was really frustrating. We were trying to create a scene that was a rejection of the problems and apolitical apathy that were plaguing the current scene."
And the band did just that, roaring along with a ferocious knack for channeling the chest-thumping anthems of early hardcore alongside a relentless blast of political punk. In song, and in image (their stark black and white album covers were more than just punk patch fodder; they symbolized the dark undercurrents of a band forced to shoulder the burden of a chaotic hometown while addressing the dilemma of a country on a relentless Reagan-fueled downward spiral), Resist transcended their pesky anarcho-punk tag in grand form. Eventually it all became too much for the band to handle, and they parted ways in 1994.
Reuniting last year, their Resistography only recently saw the light of the day with its sprawling two discs (50 songs total), essential video footage of an early band practice, and a not too friendly run-in with a pair of cops breaking up a show. It's a brilliant snapshot of a band, and a time, that represented a very different Portland. Says Young, "This used to be the ignored part of the USA, but now the secret is out and the genie isn't going back in the bottle. All the gentrification, and the influx of yuppies and trust-fund hipsters have me missing the old Portland."