By Margie M. Palmer
Local musician forms anti-Trump protest band
Longtime musician and community activist Melanie Peters was elated when she was asked to emcee the San Diego Women’s March. The local event was held on Jan. 21 — starting with a rally at the Civic Center and culminating with a march on the streets of Downtown — in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington.
“It struck me when I was up there, [amidst] the invigoration of all the energy that was coming towards me,” Peters said. “There were so many people looking at each other wondering, ‘what do we do now?’”
“When I was emceeing, I told people they should try to talk to their kids, their teachers and anyone they could, hoping to motivate them to do something more,” she continued. “That’s when I realized I should be taking my own advice and started asking what I could do.”
She quickly realized her best contribution to keep the movement going was to embark on a musical endeavor. Several emails and a few phone calls later, The Resizters were born.
“It literally took two and a half hours to put the band together,” she said, adding that three of her new bandmates are also from the LGBT community, while two others are staunch allies.
“We all felt we needed to do something, even if it was to just cover protest songs,” Peters continued. “It sounds cliché, but music joins people and brings them together. We’re covering songs like Woodie Guthrie’s ‘This Land Is Your Land’ — which most people don’t realize is a song about not being able to get a job during the Great Depression — to Nina Simone’s ‘Mississippi Goddam,’ which was performed at the end of the Selma-to-Montgomery marches.”
The issues at hand
Peters said the band’s drummer, Barry — who is also a nighttime DJ on local FM jazz channel 88.3 — was at Berkeley during the civil rights protests during the 1960s and told her he can’t believe the fight for civil rights is still happening.
“Our guitarist, Jeff, is married and he’s surrounded by strong women,” she added. “He’s appalled because he sees the women’s standpoint. He has a young son and wants to be a role model for his kid. He wants to show his son that we don’t sit around when something like this is happening and we can’t let someone like our current president be so openly misogynistic, and a liar, without doing anything in our power to fight back.”
In looking at social media, from posts about Rachel Maddow obtaining a snippet of President Trump’s 2005 tax return, to the questions about whether the current administration was colluding with the Russians during the campaign, the overwhelming undertone, Peters said, is fear.
“Everyone seems to be waiting for the other shoe to drop and it’s creating a lot of mistrust,” she said. “For us, the band allows us to commiserate and play these songs that someone else wrote, to protest President Trump’s rhetoric, his documented, flagrant misogynistic treatment of women, and to protest the people he surrounds himself with.”
For now, her greatest hope for this project is to support others who are also doing their part. Not everyone can run for office, and not everyone can play an instrument. Doing one’s part, she said, can be as simple as teaching children to be more open, and kind.
“One of the bandmembers was walking by a playground recently and she heard a bunch of kids chanting ‘build a wall, build a wall, build a wall!’ The rest of us were like, wow, what’s going on right now,” she said.
“More people need to realize that stuff starts with parents and I hope that people will do something, or talk to someone about what’s happening, and make an effort to do their part each day.”
Who are The Resizters?
Melanie Peters — rhythm guitars, vocals; Stacey Humphries — lead vocals; Laura Payne — bass, vocals; Jeff Musser — lead guitar, vocals; Jordan Liberman — keyboards, vocals; Barry Farrar — drums
They also often have — and welcome — other guest musicians to stop by and sit in.
Peters said that Farrar plays in various bands around the region but donates his time to this important cause, while Liberman, “a musical theater guy,” counts the group as his first rock-style band.
“[Humphries] is the best undiscovered talent I have ever heard,” Peters said. “Her voice is outstanding and she inspires us all to be our best. It’s her first band ever, too.”
According to their website, the band’s mission is simple:
“It is the goal of The Resizters to use our musical talents to support our community, and mankind, by representing those artists, from Woody Guthrie to Nina Simone, Creedence Clearwater Revival to Green Day, and motivating people to do the right thing, take an active stand in your community, and #Resizt hate, intolerance, ignorance and greed.”
Where to see The Resizters
- San Diego Chapter of NOW’s second annual fundraising event, PhenomeNOW, Women & Wine event, May 13 at the San Diego Foundation, located at 2508 Historic Decatur Road in Liberty Station. For details or to get tickets, visit tinyurl.com/lov6pkg.
- You can also check them out at San Diego Pride’s SHEFEST, Saturday, July 8. For more information about that event, visit tinyurl.com/lkfanwm.
How to #Resizt
You can bring The Resizters to your next event by contacting them through their website. The band’s site also offers information on ways you, too, can get involved in the #Resizt movement. Visit theresiztersband.com/about for more info.
—Margie M. Palmer is a San Diego-based freelance writer who has been racking up bylines in a myriad of news publications for the past 10 years. You can write to her at email@example.com.