On Feb. 3, Houston punk rock staple The Hates will play at Rudyard’s, their first show in over a year. The concert marks the first time frontman Christian Kidd will take the stage since his recovery from cancer.
In a writeup for the Houston Chronicle, Andrew Dansby details the story of Kidd’s diagnosis, and how the band that helped forge Houston’s punk scene is still recognizable today.
Kidd’s cancer was detected after he daw a physicians about a pain in his shoulder. Doctors found extensive damage, the result of the 62-year-old roadying his own shows for decades. They told him he would need surgery.
During his recovery, Kidd’s throat swelled up, and he found himself back in the doctor’s office.
A biopsy on a mass they found at the base of his tongue reveled it was stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma. If Kidd had never gone in for his shoulder, doctors might have never found it.
He spent the next year in treatment, undergoing chemo and radiation.
“I’ve always had obstacles to get over and around,” Kidd told Dansby for the piece. “But this was the hardest. Laying in bed at night not able to get up, feeling dizzy, month to month without feeling better.”
Despite the well-known reputation of The Hates, the band never made it as big commercially as some of the other bands of its era, and the year of recovery was tough financially for Kidd and his wife, Alexis.
Luckily, a steadfast community of bandmates, friends and people who knew Kidd as a Montrose fixture chipped in to help them get through.
He still has to go back for scans every six months, but Kidd’s cancer was declared in remission.
“This show is a landmark for his recovery,” Alexis said in an interview, “and getting back to his life.”
Hates drummer David Ensminger said of the comeback show:
We wanted a big, interesting concert. We wanted his comeback to be as public as possible because his sickness was so public on Facebook. A lot of people go off the grid and disappear. He didn’t. And we rehearsed and buzzed right through a set. He’s ready. This is not us going out and looking and sounding feeble. He’s picking up where he left off.”
Two weeks after the band’s return, they’ll be honored in a way one might not expect for a punk group: a classical music performance by composer Dan Visconti called ‘Legendary Love.’
Visconti says the piece was inspired by the relationship between Kidd and Alexis, as well as The Hates’ unique, raw sound. The River Oaks Chamber Orchestra will premiere it later in February.
The comeback of Kidd and The Hates, writes Dansby, was made possible in large part by the connection they have with the community, the people they’ve inspired by sticking around: “…a band that sticks around 40 years – even without bottling lightning and scoring a hit – will connect to music fans in a community. The Hates are such a band.”
And they aren’t going anywhere any time soon.