Christian Oppression, the second iteration of Hates frontman Christian Arnheiter’s band, perform at Houston’s Paradise Island club in 1979.
“In the past there have been alot [sic] of situations where people were up and pogoing, but there has never been fist fighting and destruction as went on at my last two shows. There were things being thrown at us, and I liked it.” — Christian Arnheiter on performing at the Island, WILD DOG #5 (1981)
Christian Arnheiter formed Guyana Boys Choir with bassist Robert Kainer and drummer Mike McWilliams in 1978. The band’s first live performance took place December that same year as an opening act for Louisiana Zydeco performer Clifton Chenier, at the downtown Masonic Temple.
Guyana Boys Choir was short lived, and Arnheiter regrouped as Christian Oppression with drummer Glenn Sorvisto and bassist Ed Felch. The band was renamed The Hates after Kainer rejoined Arnheiter. The Hates’ first two EPs were recorded at Wells Sound in Houston in 1979 on the band’s private label, Faceless Records.
“The punk scene in Houston is systematically suppressed,” Christian Arnheiter said in WILD DOG #1 (April 1979). Arnheiter commented in a 1981 interview (pictured) with WILD DOG that punk shows were becoming more violent at the Island — and that he enjoyed this response.
“There’s a punk crowd in Houston, and this is part of that hardcore crowd,” he said. “It’s building up; before you just had a few people going crazy in the crowd. There seems to be different factions, too…they really didn’t get along, and I thought it was great.”
(Original galley courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)
Before WILD DOG zine, Henry Weissborn, a sociology student at the University of Houston and President of the Direct Action Committee (Yippie Chapter), edited the organization’s underground zine, ULTRA (1978-1979), which covered civil disobedience, gay rights, feminism, marijuana reform, anti-nuclear campaigns, and the counterculture.
In 1979, Weissborn booked New York’s Joy Ryder and Avis Davis to headline a Rock Against Racism (RAR) outdoor concert/event at the University of Houston. The Yipster organized show was cancelled at the university campus, and the lineup was rescheduled at the Paradise Island club. Houston’s first RAR concert on April 1, 1979, featured first wave punk bands Really Red, Legionaire’s Disease, and Christian Oppression (The Hates). Vast Majority, a band Weissborn later joined as Henry “Bad Guitar” and helped to produce its only release on Wild Dog Records, made its first appearance at the venue, as did AK-47.
ULTRA #4, Weissborn’s last issue, covered Houston’s emerging punk scene in its last pages and notified readers about an April 1 “Be In.” Only weeks after the RAR showcase, WILD DOG #1 debuted in April ’79.
“We’ve only just begun,” Weissborn said in his inaugural Editor’s Note in WILD DOG. “The Houston punk scene is getting off the ground…the April 1 Rock Against Racism brought out virtually all the punk bands in town. Wild Dog hopes to keep the heat on!”
(Students of the University of Houston. Houstonian 1977 – Seniors: Voigt – White. Houstonian Yearbook Collection. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries.)
Legionnaire’s Disease, Ruse, and Christian Oppression at Rock Island and Old Plantation — two of Houston’s earliest punk venues — in April and September 1979. This tape is from Dale Brooks (pictured) of Houston’s Video Boyz.