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Original Punks

Gotta admire the longevity and stamina of Christian Arnheiter, elder statesman of the Bayou City's punk rock scene. Long after the vast majority of DIY punks have traded in their three chords for three kids and shredded T-shirts for shredded office building blueprints, he continues to lead the Houston-born and bred band The Hates. And long before the current crop of Green Day, Rancid and Offspring fans were even a-stirring in the netherloins of their parents, Arnheiter was making Houston unsafe for the status quo. Now, still sporting a huge yellow Mohawk (or whatever color he might like that week), Arnheiter leads the end of the millennium lineup of The Hates on its 11th record, the self-produced and stripped-to-the-waist Hates 1999: Forbidden Existence. Featuring 18 compact, pissed-off, mosh-friendly tracks, including a twisted take on a familiar rock tale in "Johnny B. Rude," Hates 1999 allows the trio (Arnheiter, guitar and vocals, Dave Deviant, bass and vocals, and Joel Juggernaut, drums) to really rail against the establishment.

Arnheiter formed The Guyana Boys Choir (which evolved into The Hates) in 1978 with friend Robert Kainer after seeing the Sex Pistols' first -- and as it turned out last -- American tour. Since then, there has been a string of recordings, stretching from sought-after, rare 45s and compilation appearances to the band's own full-length German import and numerous American CDs. The band's self-described "Texas Old School Pogo Punk" is fast and furious with a dash of rockabilly, but is still best experienced live. Check sound files and info at www.mp3.com/artists/9/hates.html or www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Gala/ 8409.

-- Bob Ruggiero

The Hates' CD release party and performance will be on Friday, July 2, at 11 p.m. at Instant Karma, 1617 Richmond. There will be a $5 cover. Call (713)528-3545.

Supersuckers -- Time and again a certain segment of punk rock makes the pilgrimage back to Hank Williams. His reckless living and true-to-life songs make him the Lou Reed of the late 1940s/early 1950s, a breathing touchstone for musicians who look further back than the Sex Pistols for inspiration. The Supersuckers made peace with its inner hillbilly a long time ago, melding power-chord to hoots 'n' hollers even when it was on Sub Pop during grunge's heyday. The foursome's five records between 1992 and 1995 churn with simple, amphetamine-laced guitars, bourbon-cured rhythm riffs and lyrics about getting drunk and laid, which only add to the redneck air. Then, with 1997's Must Have Been High, the band went full-outlaw country, even getting Willie Nelson to guest. A single with another country guy with a heart of punk, Steve Earle, followed. Billing itself as "The Bland Ole Opry Featuring the Supersuckers," the band has stayed on Williams's path without losing punk rock's intensity. The Supersuckers will perform Wednesday, June 30, at Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak. Call (713)862-7580. (David Simutis)

Con Funk Shun -- When it comes to ranking the great funk groups of the '70s, it's best to think of them all as one big, happy family. George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic are, of course, the mother. Sly and the Family Stone are the father. The Gap Band, Ohio Players and Lakeside are the children. And then there are the distant relatives (e.g., Cameo, Slave, LTD). And then there is that one relative you know only by name, not by association. The relative you don't hear much about. The black sheep, the red-headed stepchild, the Daniel Baldwin, if you will. And that relative in the funk family is Con Funk Shun.

Con Funk Shun has been laying down the f-word (not the dirty one) ever since the late '70s. Although the lineup has changed over the years, the brain trust of singer-songwriters Michael Cooper and Felton Pilate (the Donald Fagen and Walter Becker of funk) still remains intact.

Though times weren't always funky. In 1993 Cooper and Pilate regrouped, teaming up old members with fresh upstarts. Consider it a family reunion. Con Funk Shun performs Friday, July 2, at Club Grammos, 2525 Murworth. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Call (713)668-2239. (Craig D. Lindsey)

 
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