The premise alone is enough to pique Rocks Off's interest. The Hates, Houston's long-running Mohawk-fronted punk trio, will transform themselves tonight into The Blue Suedes, a Buddy Holly tribute band. The occasion? Cactus Music's third-annual toy drive, benefitting the Houston Area Women's Shelter. We can see it now - neon-haired singer Christian Amheiter (left) in horn-rims and a powder-blue coat. The tribute show was the idea of John Morris, the guy behind the newly-created Happy Jack Productions. The Tribute to Buddy Holly is his first show. After Morris approached The Hates about performing in the show, the band got the idea to branch away from their traditional punk material. "I think it has been a mixture of David [bass player Dave Deviant] being a rockabilly fan and picking up the upright bass that lends itself to us going in this direction," Amheiter said. "John became aware of this and John pitched this idea. It was his intention to do a Buddy Holly tribute, but we took it one-step further and said we'd write some rockabilly songs."
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Amheiter said he's going to play a telecaster at tonight's show to ensure a more Holly-esque, country sound. He said he's been inspired in part by punk bands that cross genres by covering, for example, boy band hits. "Wendy O' Williams did 'Dream Lover' by Bobby Darin," he said. "Our intention is not to... you know, sometimes a punk band will turn to psychobilly, etc. We're really trying to go for a twangy, more authentic sound." Amheiter said he tried to find a Buddy Holly suit to wear but could only find Elvis costumes. He might still try to dress up tonight. "I just hope people have fun," he said. "It's something for a different crowd than what we're used to playing for." As always with Cactus in-stores, the show and beer are free, but please bring a toy for the Women's Shelter drive. 5:30 p.m. at Cactus Music, 2110 Portsmouth, 713-526-9272 or www.cactusmusictx.com.