We were deeply saddened to hear that one of the founding members of Houston's most legendary punk act, the Hates, recently lost his battle with cancer last month.
Glenn Sorvisto died in Washington D.C. on February 24. "I am sorry that he is gone from this world, because he has always been such a bright light," said Hates front man Christian Kidd in a post on the band's " target="_blank">Web site. "I, for one, will always remember him."
Sorvisto answered an ad placed by Kidd after his previous band, the Guyana Boys Choir, parted ways. At the time Sorvisto was just a 17-year-old snare-drum player who had recently acquired a trap set. He and Kidd clicked instantly, and the Hates would debut on July 7, 1979 at Paradise Island. He remained with the band through 1980, appearing on both of their first EPs and in the comic book The Hates in Iran done by the Video Boyz.
Sorvisto's years with the Hates were marked with moderate success. "All the Whites" from their second EP went number one on KPOO-FM's radio charts, and footage of the band shot by the Video Boyz at Sorvisto's last rehearsal later netted Dale Brooks an award at the Houston International Film Festival.
Despite the band's initial momentum, Sorvisto left the band after graduating high school and returned to his hometown of Golden, Colo. He was replaced by Lawrence Baker, but was always fondly remembered by his bandmates.
"Separate the boy from his drum kit, and he was uncommonly kind, purposeful, and incredibly introverted person," says Kidd. "But whenever we played together, he would turn that quiet shyness of his into an intense energy that amazes me even now. Knowing the person he was, Glenn played drums with such an unexpected ferocity that seemed almost unreal.
I think that Glenn enjoyed the early shows we played together for his newfound form of self expression as much simply playing the music. One of my favorite quirks of his was his habit of wearing bright yellow pants with one red Chuck Taylor shoe and one blue Chuck. Not exactly the kind of preppy fashion he was once used to wearing prior to his punk rock baptism."
Sorvisto was diagnosed with tongue cancer in April 2010. Chemotherapy drove away the tumors in his tongue and mouth, but the cancer spread to his lymph nodes in December of that year. He had to have all the lymph nodes in his neck removed, and tumors resurfaced in April 2011, leading to the removal of half his tongue. Doctor's replaced it with muscle from his forearm.
He continued to fight the disease and complications from surgery, but around Christmas of 2011 he was hospitalized again. The cancer had spread through his throat, lungs and liver. The tumors in the throat were extremely aggressive, cutting off his airway. He had two surgeries early this year to help improve his breathing, but it was just too much for him.
"During Glenn's time in the Hates, he never said an unkind word," says Kidd. "It was simply not in his nature to do so. He was a pure joy to be with. I feel like some of my favorite moments with him were during our practices because part of me liked those nights of not having to share the pure delight of our camaraderie with a crowd of people.
"Of course we would go out there and give it our all, which was another kind of happiness to share; but somehow Glenn always understood that without having to say a word," he adds. "I will miss my friend."
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We'll sign off with a video of the Hates performing "Do The Caryl Chessman" from Sorvisto's tenure. RIP.