The last several months have been rough for us all. Three deadly hurricanes devastated cities, including Houston. The president keeps threatening to start a nuclear war. We just had the worst mass shooting in American history. Tom Petty passed on to that great gig in the sky.
So how about some good news for a change? One of Houston’s most legendary and treasured artists, Christian Kidd of The Hates, just had his cancer declared to be in remission! His wife, Alexis, announced the good news on Facebook on Sept. 23.
“It’s so weird to look at the calendar and see that it’s only been six months since cancer became my intimate friend. I’ve still got some healing to do, but it’s so good to enjoy some of the simple things again — eating breakfast, going for short rides on my scooter with my sweetheart, playing my guitar,” says Kidd.
The diagnosis of Stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma came shortly after the shoulder surgery that left him unable to work or play guitar until it healed, putting The Hates on a hiatus. That hiatus continued once a tumor was discovered under his tongue, and that the cancer had spread to a lymph node.
Kidd was treated with targeted radiation and eventually surgery. The surgery resulted in him being unable to eat or swallow without aspiration, and a feeding tube was inserted for nutrition. He finally healed enough to eat again last month.
“We did not expect such positive results, so any potential celebration involving any of the many, many, many foods he has fantasized about over the last few months was thrown out of the window when we passed someone in the radiology waiting room who was munching down on McDonald’s,” says Alexis. “It just smelled so good! We both just kind of looked at each other and laughed and then we made a beeline over to the McD’s on the ground floor of the hospital.”
Houston rallied to the aid of Kidd after his diagnosis in order to help him with his various bills and expenses while unable to work, paying it forward for the many times The Hates have donated their time and talent in benefit concerts for other musicians over their long career. Houston Press writer David Ensminger organized the Rock For Light concert at Rudyard’s in May. David Garrick also organized a concert series dubbed Houston Benefit Week. Artists like Kyle Hubbard, Hallowbody, No Love Less, U.Y.U.S., and the All-Star Punk Squad, Allison Gibson, and Melissa Bransfield Waters all participated.
“This whole experience has been humbling in many ways, and I’m grateful for all of the support we’ve gotten along the way from so many,” says Kidd.
Kidd still have quite a bit of healing ahead of him. He is scheduled to have his feeding tube removed soon, and there’s a meeting with an oncologist later this month to discuss the best ways to make sure his cancer stays beat. He’s in good spirits, though, and attended the recent Depeche Mode concert.
The Hates were founded in 1978, and are a true punk legend. Kidd himself has remained the only constant, leading a rotation of tremendous musicians over the course of his career. Now in his 60s, he has outlived not only most bands but also many of the iconic venues that hosted them over the years. With his ever-changing Day Glo mohawk and distinctive series of scooters, he’s been a Montrose fixture his entire life.
He has also contributed greatly to furthering music in Houston outside of his own playing. Kidd is a guest lecturer on ‘70s music at the University of Houston, and has previously hosted radio shows. In 2013 he published a memoir, Just a Houston Punk, that was a series of snapshots about his journey through the changing music scenes of the city and the evolution of punk rock.
But have no fear. This is not the end of the story, and Kidd has no intention of stopping. The surgeries on his shoulders and mouth have knocked down, but not out. He says The Hates will return to the stage early in 2018 after having been absent for nearly a year. After the time we’ve all had lately, it’s nice to see a scary story have a happy ending, and for one of the greats to beat the odds to sing for us again.