Hates Singer Looks Back on 35 Years of Houston Punk Rock

Categories: 1-2-3-4!, Get Lit

Hates 0308.jpg
Photos courtesy of Christian Kidd
As the singer, guitarist and chief songwriter for the Hates -- Houston's most enduring punk rock band and a local institution -- Christian Kidd (nee Christian Arnheiter, Christian Oppression and Christian Anarchy) has seen a lot.

And with the band nearing its 35th anniversary (with Kidd as the only constant), the man known even among non-music fans downtown as "the guy with the huge Mohawk" has put pen to paper for a memoir written with wife Alexis Kidd, Just a Houston Punk.

More a series of snapshots of his and the Hates' musical careers than straight bio, it offers a lot of recollection and reminiscences of the city's music scene of years gone by, from clubs like the Axiom, the Vatican and Pik-n-Pak to bands who once gigged across the city with names like Legionnaire's Disease, Jerry Falwell and the Vibrating Crosses, and Chernobyl Sunrise. The book takes the Hates story right up to the band playing recent Free Press Summer Fests.

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"Some books are really boring that have all these details. I think people want to read about my time in the Hates and the city," Kidd says from his home on a recent Sunday morning.

"I think it's really special that Houston had its own identity and underground scene for punk," he continues. "I mean, I'm not trying to slight that the Ramones and the Sex Pistols got big record deals, but they eventually became pop stars.

"We had this melting pot in Houston that were all artists and way-out people. And that's what was great about the Houston punk scene," adds Kidd. "It wiped the slate clean."

Now nearing 60 years of age and retired from his day gig working for the City of Houston's Building and Permits division, Kidd enjoyed looking back for the book, but is always on the hunt for the next Hates gig. The group's current lineup also includes Michael Dauzat on bass and occasional Rocks Off contributor David Ensminger on drums.

But, as he points out, those in the punk scene could be just as strict in their outlook as fans of any other music genre, as Kidd saw when the Hates veered toward rockabilly at one point.

"I could go and on with so many stories of people who had bad reactions to that. People are territorial. You have to look and act a certain way," he says.


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Cactus Music & Video

2110 Portsmouth St., Houston, TX

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4 comments
MizzDjinn
MizzDjinn

@eudemonist - yeah, it's a subculture, and you gain accceptance into any subculture in large part by your initial presentation.  There's a lot more room to play within this subculture than many others. Look at Blag Flag -- they did pretty much the opposite of what was going on in punk at the time, just to piss off punks.

That's pretty effin punk rock, kwim?

David Sabala
David Sabala

does he drive a scooter?? cause i swear i saw him and his glorious mohawk driving down dowling with his guitar on his back.

charlierock62
charlierock62

Accidently saw this band many times over the years.I love punk rock,but this guy just never rocked.Oldest in Houston ok,but also the worst.

eudemonist
eudemonist

"You have to look and act a certain way," he says.

Yay, punk rock!  Daring to be different, just like everybody else!

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