They still talk 'bout West Fest all way to Katy Cruising down by Numbers weekends in the '80s I'm not talking 'bout New York, London, Paris or Rome The greatest city in the world is Houston home sweet home

The Hates Pen a Uniquely Punk Ode to Houston

It's been a very productive year for Houston's own The Hates. Just months after receiving People's Temple in the mail, we're already getting MP3s for the next album Shank. First among those was "Houston," a long-overdue pun- rock celebration of the city that has been home to Christian Kidd and his band for more than 30 years of solid Oi!

Rocks Off recently had a chance to do a little back and forth with Kidd over the track. Hasta el jumpo for a brief interview.


The Hates, the 1970s Gas Crisis, and "Do the Caryl Chessman"

Rocks Off: Do I detect that rockabilly thing people are always trying to get you to do in the track?

Christian Kidd: It wasn't intentional. I'd been writing songs for the last couple of months, and I was at a point where I realized that the last three things I'd written were dark and brooding. For the sake of variety, I wanted to write something lighter.

Besides, ever since we'd won that contest at Cactus with our cover of Dean Martin's "Houston," my wife had been nagging me to write my own song about this town. It was only after I'd finished it that I realized that it could've been at home in a country western song. Especially the solo.

RO: Why have you always stayed here in Houston? You could've been big anywhere.

CK: Many reasons. Houston has always been good to me, and I really can't imagine living anywhere else. I first started getting serious about music here, and in its own way this town has always nurtured my creativity. From mohawk to guitar to every scooter I've ever had, I always get so much support from the people who live here.

Also, just about everywhere I go there are memories of my mother, who brought me here when I was young. She loved this town and instilled that love in me. Not to mention that my wife and I have made our home in the heart of the Montrose. There's not a cooler neighborhood anywhere. The Heights makes a close second, though.


Hates Singer Looks Back on 35 Years of Houston Punk Rock

RO: Do you ever get tired of being "Christian from the Hates" cruising down the streets in Montrose?

CK: But I'm not just "Christian from the Hates." Believe it or not, there's people who don't know I even have a band. Lots of people remember me from when I used to eat lunch downtown in my City of Houston jumpsuit. Others say that they remember me from seeing me take my mother out to dinner or shopping.

Most people just call me "The Scooter Guy." They'll even tell me what colour they remember the last scooter they'd seen me riding.

But I'll never get tired of any of it. It's like I was talking about before. People are so supportive of me just being who I am. And I have to admit, hearing, "Hates!" shouted out down the street as I scooter along makes me smile.

RO: What does Houston have musically other cities don't?

CK: I really feel like there's some kind of Southern outlaw bluesy bayou soul that creeps into music from Houston. We're just as cosmopolitan as any other major city, but there's this frontier spirit that seems to take hold and make our music a little bit different. Grittier, maybe.

But it's honest and I love it. No place in the world can make music like Houston can. No matter what genre you love most.

Shanks is due out at the end of Summer 2013.

Jef With One F is a recovering rock star taking it one day at a time. You can read about his adventures in The Bible Spelled Backwards or connect with him on Facebook.

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