Hates Singer Looks Back on 35 Years of Houston Punk Rock
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.
Photos courtesy of Christian Kidd
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.
"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.