Christian Kidd, a.k.a. Christian Arnheiter, a.k.a. Christian Oppression, and mostly known as Christian from The Hates, is one of Houston’s longest-serving musical institutions and a beloved figure in both the music scene and the Montrose community. His massive contribution to the sound of H-Town is about to have its first major hiatus in four decades, though, as his career and employment are scheduled to end for several months as he recovers from shoulder surgery. This Sunday at Rudyard's, local bands and artists will come together for a benefit concert to help him through the coming months when he will be unable to work.
Kidd will have to have surgery to reattach torn muscles and tendons on his right shoulder by the end of January if the nagging injury is to be fixed at all, with a similar surgery due on the left shoulder at a later date. For 90 days he will be unable to play guitar in The Hates, ride his iconic scooter around town, or haul amps and equipment at his day job at Fuller’s Guitars. The benefit aims to help ease the bill load as he focuses on recovery during a rare break for one of the godfathers of Houston punk rock.
“Christian has been completely consistent,” says Hates drummer (and fellow Houston Press music writer) David Ensminger. “Been doing it nonstop since the ’70s. He spans these different generations, guys who were at the Island in 1981 and then their grandchildren now. It’s good for young people to see that continuity, that making this kind of music can last. The Hates has been the bedrock of punk rock in the community.”
In addition to his history fronting The Hates and their library of essential albums, Kidd has served as a radio DJ, a guest lecturer on music history and a frequent contributor to other musicians’ benefit concerts as well. In 2013 he published his memoirs about his life in the punk scene, Just a Houston Punk.
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Joining The Hates for their last show for the foreseeable future are Mell Hell & Texas Mod Crushers, Screech of Death and Gut Radio. There will also be an auction of guitars, albums, T-shirts and other items. Those who wish to contribute to Kidd’s recovery but who cannot make it out are encouraged to donate to his GoFundMe page.
Sadly, benefit concerts have become the go-to solution for local musicians in dire straits. The Houston Press covered how the Affordable Care Act affected folks like Kidd and others in a 2014 cover story, revealing how many musicians were able to secure health insurance thanks to the law. Incoming president Donald Trump and the Republican majorities in Congress now put that coverage, and the health of our artists, in significant danger.
“The medical system fails us and falls short, especially with someone like Christian who has to leave work,” says Ensminger. “Punk is getting older, and they’re reaching retirement age. They’ve committed a life to making really impressive music that will weather the ages, but they didn’t really have a lot of means of getting treatment. They make a lot of sacrifices for us, and this is how we pay respect.”
The Christian Kidd benefit takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday, January 22 at Rudyard’s (2010 Waugh). Suggested donation at the door is $10.