The Hates Commemorate Their First Show
I doubt that many of the kids who buy a guitar from the guy with liberty spikes at Fuller’s Guitar realize that they’re inches from a true Houston legend. However, that’s what Christian of The Hates is for the Houston music scene. These guys, or guy with lead singer and guitarist Christian Arnheiter have been as much of a fixture in the Houston music scene as Fitzgerald’s. I’d like to think that no band in Houston would have gotten where they are without bands like The Hates here in the days when Houston wasn’t taken seriously as a music town. In my life, I’ve seen clubs like The Axiom, Emo’s, The Abyss, and so many more come and go. I’ve seen bands like deSchmog, Dinosaur Salad, Bring Back The Guns, and so many more also come and go. The one thing that hasn’t changed and the one band that was going before most of us, and who is still going strong, are The Hates. Back when I was in high school, I’d see Christian riding around town on his scooter, before they were cool, with his liberty spikes up higher than I’d seen in person before. And no matter what genre is popular or what venue has the most attendance, The Hates are still here playing shows, releasing albums, and keeping things punk in Houston. On Friday April 1st, their first show, 37 years later, will be commemorated at Rudyard’s. Below is Christian’s account of how the band started, and that first show that would begin his life in Houston’s music scene.
Christian Oppression, Photo: Glen Brooks
“My first punk effort was in 1978, called Zyklon B. We held a video shoot at the U of H Art Barn, which was a space for sculpture students to create and house their large metal works. Armed with my first 10 original songs, we were interviewed by Scott Summers which aired on “The Little Ol’ Show That Comes on After Monty Python” on Channel 2 in May of that year.
By December 15th, 1978 we were called the Guyana Boys Choir and played our first and last show on the same bill as Clifton Chenier at a black tie event at the Masonic Temple. We played the same material as before, and surprisingly won a nod of approval from the Zydeco legend. This was the only live performance of this lineup which included Robert Kainer and Mike McMatthews.
I played and practiced under the name Christian Oppression with Glenn Sorvisto and Ed Felch, and our debut at Paradise Island was on March 23, 1979.
The first Houston Rock Against Racism event was organized by U of H student Henry Weissborn and the Direct Action Committee and featured New York’s Joy Rider and Avis Davis as headliners. It was cancelled from the campus grounds but was rebooked at The Island for April 1st, 1979. Local bands included Really Red, Legionnaires Disease, Vast Majority, and the debut of Ruse & AK-47. Originally booked as Christian Oppression, a conversation with Robert Kainer as the band name was literally being put up on the marquee convinced me to change the band’s name for good. I remember thinking that most punk songs kept talking about things they hated, like war or the government or whatever else. And there needed to be a band called The Hates. So I just ran with it. I had Ted Barwell take all of the letters for Christian Oppression off of the marquee and put up The Hates instead. The Orwellian “two minutes of hate” mythos that later sprang up around the name’s meaning seemed to confirm my original convictions, so I played it up. We have been The Hates ever since.”
Early Lineup The Hates, Photo: Courtesy of Artist/Facebook
I feel like you can’t call yourself a Houstonian if you haven’t seen The Hates perform. The band has a slew of albums from 1979’s “First Three Recordings,” to 2013’s “Shank,” and they never disappoint when they play live. If you want to do something cool for Houston, then selling this show out is a great place to start. The 21 & up show will have Action Frank on as direct support, alongside sets from Revels and Tony Villa. In celebration of the event, the band will be giving away three packages of one “Kool-Aid Man” shirt and one sticker, a Devil Boy shirt, CD and sticker; and a Markus shirt, CD, sticker, & a rare 7″ in three giveaways celebrating three decades of the band. The doors are at 9:00, things start at 9:30, and the cover is a measly $8.00.