John Harris: Plays Music in His Front Lawn, Gets a Double Dose of Taser

The Bad Drugs, fresh off a rollicking performance at Big Star Bar, were too pumped to let the night end on Saturday, May 5.

After leaving the Heights-area drinkery, the band headed to the drummer's house on Washington Avenue, where the garage-punk group would play an encore the front yard.

This open-air hoedown wasn't out of the ordinary, says Bad Drugs drummer John Harris, who dwells in a house that's flanked by the old Walter's and catawampus to Pearl Bar.

If that is par for the course, what happened 15 minutes later was a freaking disqualification.

A few songs into their impromptu set around 10:30 p.m., band members noticed a Houston Police Department squad car parked nearby so they stopped playing. When Harris went inside his house, he didn't notice that two police officers had approached two of his bandmates and requested Harris's presence outside.

Unsatisfied with the amount of time it took, one officer intercepted Harris, who had walked to the front steps of the house. "He wanted to see my ID," Harris recalls. "I told him I didn't have to because he was on private property."

That's when, Harris says, the officer came at him with a Taser.

Harris says, "I panicked so I jumped back. That's when I got tased twice. Somehow, it didn't incapacitate me so I got back up and slammed the door as hard as I could. That's when I saw that the officer's arm had been caught in the door.

"When I realized, 'Oh my God, I just assaulted an officer,' I surrendered."

Harris would be arrested and charged with assault and bodily injury to a public servant, a third-degree felony. Citing too much evidence against him (i.e., an officer's front-door-slammed limb), Harris accepted deferred adjudication and received two years of felony probation.

Harris's roommate was also arrested (and later let go) for violating the noise ordinance, which has caused quite a hubbub in Houston since the law was overhauled last October.

Harris feels like the insanity shouldn't have happened in the first place.

"We've had music inside and outside of the house plenty of times," says Harris. "The cops had never stopped by before. I'm not sure why things happened the way that it did."

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Steve Jansen is a contributing writer for the Houston Press.
Contact: Steve Jansen