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Outer Party, founded by Jeff Gunn (bass), Mitch Monsour (drums and vocals) and Wes Shirley (guitar and vocals), is a three piece political punk rock band based out of Eugene, Oregon. The three met in the sociology PhD program at the University of Oregon. A shared love of music and leftist politics brought them together. Outer Party started as a side project for Wes and Mitch, composing and arranging their early material in the confines of Mitch’s bedroom. Jeff soon joined, and punk music was never the same again. After Jeff left for the warmer climes of Southern California, Jill Harrison, a professor in the sociology department at the University of Oregon, assumed bass duties.
Outer Party’s music reaches back to punk’s roots. Inspired by social and economic justice, the band addresses issues such as police brutality, industrialized food production, sexism in the media, corporate dominated politics, and wage slavery. Musically the band is influenced by early punk bands like Black Flag, The Dead Kennedys, The Sex Pistols, and The Clash, as well as the protest folk of artists like Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan.
All the members bring unique social and political views to the group. Wes wrote his dissertation on the state repression of the animal rights movement. Mitch is studying the effects of alienation on social relationships within capitalist societies. Jeff is studying the coalitions built up around climate change denial. And Jill has a forthcoming book about the effects of globalization on Louisiana shrimpers.
Wes has been playing music in Oregon for ten years. Currently he leads The New Mexican Revolution, an indie-folk outfit with hints of Tom Waits and Eastern European folk music. He has also played in local bands such as Chesapeake Blue, Tilly Combs, and The McKenzie River Boys. Mitch and Jeff were in the Eugene rock band This is Not Art, before Jeff left for California. Jill played in several bands over the course of her years in Columbus, Ohio, including the Rosehips.