Music is your guardian, escorting you through the rebellion and angst of youth into the horizon of adulthood and responsibility.
Something you can believe in
Don’t be fooled, the rebellion and angst don’t dissipate with the onset of adulthood. This is why it's so important to always have access to the music of your own desire that you can identify with and believe in. The availability of such music can ease life’s transitions and affect your outlook and journey into the unknown that lies ahead.
If you were coming of age in 1977, this is what music had become - a soulless pot luck buffet of syrupy love songs, disco dance tunes, movie themes, mainstream friendly, adult contemporary music by male and female crooners, and the last vestiges of rock and roll bands clinging for dear life as they struggled to pull themselves away from the jaws of irrelevance to sing another day. Click here to see the Billboard 100 for 1977.
At this same time, the punk revolution was evolving as a reaction to this musical mediocrity.
The revolution will not get airplay
If you were restless and young in Houston in 1977, like Christian Kidd, aka Christian Arnheiter, desperate for music that spoke to you in a voice from your own generation, your avenues for musical rebellion against the mainstream were limited. In this environment, Kidd soon found he couldn’t connect with the dull, uninspiring music his friends were listening to so he sought out alternatives.
According to Kidd, back then there were only a few good record shops which carried non-mainstream music on vinyl, and one local club called The Island which served as a reluctant venue for punk rock acts, only because of their ability to draw in the crowds. However, most of the local music in Houston consisted of lousy cover tunes and “hard rock hippy drivel.”
Hungry for music he could relate to, Kidd was one of the few people lucky enough to attend The Ramones concert at Liberty Hall in Houston in 1977. Shortly afterwards, he traveled to San Antonio to see the Sex Pistols in concert. Seeing these bands opened Kidd’s eyes to the notion that you could march to the beat of a different drum without fear of retribution and it reinforced his faith in the power of music, specifically punk rock and its fearless snubbing of the mainstream conventions he too was rejecting.
Soon after Kidd’s musical awakening, he formed his first punk band called Guyana Boys Choir, then inspired by a reference from George Orwell’s 1984, he changed the band’s name to The Hates a few months later.
The real Kidd rock
Since then, The Hates have been through many personnel changes over their thirty-six year history. However, lead singer and guitarist Kidd has remained the band’s constant. He is the driving force and the heart and soul of the band and the Houston punk scene. Bassist Michael Dauzat and drummer David Ensminger currently round out the band with their intense energy and musical talents.
The Hates’ intensity shows no sign of wavering.
The Hates returned to Cactus Music recently for a free in store performance and book signing by Christian Kidd for Just a Houston Punk, his autobiographical reflection on his first hand experiences with the Houston punk scene. Don’t let the genre or the band name fool you. Kidd is quite affable and approachable and this has probably been a huge factor in his longevity and stature in the local music scene. He took the time to sign his book and chat with all of his fans and friends at Cactus Music.
Before the book signing, The Hates blazed through a lively set of many of their classic tunes such as “Gonna Get Pissed Tonight,” “No Talk In the Eighties,” and “Armageddon” and even introduced a few new ones like “Rock Zombie” to a good sized, enthusiastic crowd of veteran fans and the newly converted. Despite being a thirty-six year veteran of the local music scene, Kidd burned through The Hates set, driven by his true love and devotion to the music and the punk scene with an amped energy and passion younger bands would find difficulty matching.
As an added emotional highlight to the performance, Kidd introduced former Hates drummer Bruce Courtney, who last played with the band in 1985 and invited him on stage to play a couple of songs with his former band. Any doubts as to whether it’s all about the music and not the egos were assuaged when Ensminger graciously relinquished his throne to Courtney and stepped off the stage to join the audience - dancing and cheering on The Hates, while joyfully snapping photos of The Hates performance. This living, breathing, in person metaphor exemplified the punk rock tenet of breaking down the barrier between artist and fan and reinforced the idea of the music being of and from the people. It topped off an already full throttle performance evidenced by the beverage drenched, and Kidd-trampled set list at the end of the show - a testament to punk rock in all of its glory - a footprint and an artifact of a spirited performance by an equally spirited band.
Journalist Bert Woodall once described The Hates as “Houston’s first and last punk band” and truer words have never been written.
The hate goes on
The Hates arrived on the local music scene in the late ‘70s to rescue a generation of the musically disenfranchised, just as Kidd had been liberated by The Ramones and the Sex Pistols when the local music landscape had sounded so bleak to him. The Hates, led by Kidd, have been playing it forward ever since, wailing out their musical battle cry to fans in need of liberation from the cultural, political, and musically mundane. The Hates are just as important to the local music scene today as they were thirty-six years ago. The commercial music landscape is not much better, or maybe it’s even worse than it was in 1977. In these days of Auto-Tune, lip-synching, headset microphones, and style over substance in the music industry, you want The Hates on that wail. You need The Hates on that wail.
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