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When a Texas Cop Attacks: Two Gallants Reveal the Bizarre, Alarming and Even Amusing Details

10/20/06, 11:42 am EST

two gallants
As you may have heard in one of the 485 places that covered the story, some scary shit went down last weekend between San Francisco two-man band Two Gallants and a particularly aggressive Houston police officer at the band’s show in Houston, Texas. We read up on the mainstream media reports, which generally conflicted with eyewitness accounts put forward on sites like MySpace. Then we got on the phone with the band. Our conversation was long and detailed, so we trimmed them up and give you info you may not have yet heard, like the fact that as he ran from the venue, Adam saw a police helicopter chasing somebody who may or may not have been him through the streets, and that Tyson had to call his 92-year-old grandmother from jail. Read both interviews after the jump.

ROLLING STONE: So we know the basic details of what happened. Can you tell us when you first saw the cop?
ADAM STEPHENS: I didn’t even know he was in the room until I saw him onstage.

RS: What exactly happened after he came onstage with you?
AS: All I did was question him. I just wanted to know why. You don’t walk up to the stage of a venue that has a license to play music. We’re not the ones to blame for it. You don’t come up to us. You go to the establishment first. We were still kind of playing. He was right up in my face, and then I just questioned him the second time. This was in a matter of seconds. For a second we really ignored him and kept playing. It all happened really quickly, within like maybe 3 seconds.

RS: After you questioned him the second time, what happened?

AS: He grabbed me by the back of the neck and threw me down to the ground, and it was pretty much the same time he grabbed Tyson as well. He was a really big guy, and we’re really little guys. He pretty much was in control.

RS: What did he want? Obviously, he wanted you to stop playing, but did you have the impression at all of being able to figure what it was that he was trying to get you to do?
AS: I really don’t think he really knew what he wanted, to be honest. I guess you could say, if you were really looking for a real reason, that it was initially to stop the music, and then after he created this ridiculous situation, it was to just start arresting people. He was yelling at me, something. I don’t really remember. You couldn’t really hear him, and then he went after some kid in the corner and took out his taser and started tasing this kid. I just remember seeing this single kid in a white shirt, and I remember just running over there as did a bunch of people, at least to distract him from this kid or whatever. I don’t know what I would have done, but it was just frustrating that he was attacking this teeny kid . . . He looked at me and said, “Get down on the ground, you’re going to jail.” He came at me with this hatred in his eyes. It was kinda frightening to look at, but he comes at me, and he starts tasing me and he tased me a couple times in the stomach. And then I just turned around and had to get out of there. There was no way I was going to get down on the ground for this guy.

RS: So he says whatever in this chaotic moment, get down on the ground, but did he even give you enough time to get down on the ground before he shocked you?
AS: No. No way. He was like coming right at me and yelling at me and then he went for my stomach and tased me a couple of times.

RS: What does that feel like? Not good, I would imagine.
AS: I mean it hurt pretty bad, but it wasn’t like debilitating. It didn’t paralyze me or anything. It was more like, if anything, it shocked me enough to immediately react and just like turn around and skirt out of there as quickly as possible. It was definitely something. If not that, then adrenaline running through me made me turn around and hobble to the bar and just like get out of the place really fast.

RS: Where did you go?
AS: I just went around the corner. A lot of kids, I think the kids kinda helped me out as far as blocking my way behind me and then I just ran around the corner and just kept running and running and running. I got, I think, five or six blocks. And then I was kind of hiding in shadows, and there was a helicopter flying over with a search light on it.

RS: A police helicopter?
AS: Yeah.

RS: They were out scouring the streets for you after this?
AS: I mean I don’t know if there was someone else running through the streets from the cops in the same neighborhood that I was, but if not, it must have been me.

RS: Were you sort of like, “Wow, this is kind of dramatic.” I mean this is obviously a terrible situation, but it’s like you’re Harrison Ford or something . . . I’m sure that didn’t occur to you in the moment.
AS: No, I wasn’t thinking of The Fugitive, but actually the first thing that ran through my mind was that this is what it would be like to live in a complete police state where the law just goes unchecked. If anything, this is definitely a step towards it if someone can come in and create this kind of complete insanity just by wearing a badge, you know?

RS: Now there’s also this claim being made by some people that you said “fuck you” to him or some other sort of “sexual profanity” I think they’re calling it. Did that happen?
AS: In my opinion, it definitely did not happen. I didn’t say anything like that to him at all.

RS: It wouldn’t have been that out of line for you to be like, “Fuck you, what are you doing?” You could see how that could happen, so the question of whether you remember saying something like that was important.
AS: I’m not denying that after he came up onstage and after he took us down and after we finally got back up, there might have been a few f-words involved in sentences that had a question in them like, “What the fuck are you doing” or “What the fuck is going on?” I can’t repeat verbatim what I said. I don’t know, but initially I said absolutely nothing that was offensive to him when he first came up and told me to stop, so I in no way caused it. I didn’t fuel the situation by saying something offensive to him.

RS: Are you planning to press charges against the officer or the Houston Police Department?
AS: Yeah, I don’t know if I should really say so yet. We’re definitely planning on it and we’re talking about it, but we haven’t finalized anything. I don’t know. It might be premature to say.

RS: But you’re official word on this is that you’re not just going to pretend it didn’t happen.
AS: Yeah. It’s definitely not over.

ROLLING STONE: So you were explaining that you’ve played many house parties and other shows in unconventional venues, where noise complaints are received and handled by police officers, but that this time was different. How so?
TYSON VOGEL: Every other time the police almost always wait until the song is over to come up and tell us to turn off the music because they’ve had a complaint. But he pretty much barged right in mid-song. I mean, it’s a little jarring; I think we both somewhat take responsibility for the little bit of irrational reaction we had, but it’s kind of hard especially when someone is being that aggressive, to just quiet down. I saw it escalating, and I ran over and got in between them both, and I was like, Please, back up, what is going on, let me know. And then, at that point, he really aggressively tackled both of us to the ground in one big swoop.

RS: When he tackled you guys, you were in the midst of asking him why?
TV: Yeah.

RS: And he never answered?
TV: No, he didn’t.

RS: But Adam was gone by the time he got outside?
TV: Yeah. I think Adam had a pretty good head-start. By the time the cop was out there, I don’t think he would have been able to follow Adam in any way.

RS: So when did you get arrested?
TV: I went out into the street to make sure Adam was alright and I didn’t seem him anywhere. I was walking back towards the door when the cop kind of roughly grabbed me and roughed me against the car and said I was going to jail.

RS: And he pushed you up against a car and handcuffed you?
TV: Yeah, and he was like, you’re going to jail. In the conversation I had with him he obviously didn’t read my rights, and he didn’t say off the bat why I was going to jail, and I asked why, and he said, “Because of your buddy, you’re going to jail,” and I told him I didn’t understand, and he said, “You’re getting in my business, and you’re obstructing my justice, you’re going to jail.”

RS: You were in the car an hour and a half before you even went to the station?
TV: Yeah. For the majority of the time, like four of five of the police officers were just like hanging out next to the police car next to us, kind of cracking jokes. They made some funny joke that I overheard through the window. One cop was like, “What does this band play? I heard it was indie grunge music?” And the other cop was like, “I don’t even know grunge, whatever, I don’t even know anything except the Indie 500, and that’s all I care about.”

It seems ridiculous — when the other cops came around, the cop that was aggressive totally changed his tune. He was acting all sweet and joking around. When I play drums I cut myself a lot in the process, and I think in the scuffle I had gotten blood from my hands onto his shirt, and he was kind of showing off his shirt.

RS: You saw him parading this stain on his shirt, telling the tale?
TV: Kind of, I don’t really know what he was saying. I was inside and I couldn’t really hear, but he was outside showing everyone the blood on his shirt, and it seemed kind of strange to me.

RS: Then, as far as you know, he didn’t receive first aid?
TV: Yeah. I mean, that’s for sure. I was told that the owner of the bar asked him if he was OK, if he needed any first aid, and he said, “No, I’m fine.” And the owner will back that up if need be.

RS: What did they book you for?
TV: That’s the thing, I should have asked, and I didn’t. The police originally told and I sort of interpreted it as I was obstructing justice, but I should have had the foresight to ask somebody about it.

RS: Were you able to make a phone call?
TV: Yeah, yeah, in the holding cell there were payphones where you call collect. But this is another funny thing: No one really has a landline, and you can’t really call anyone collect on a cell phone. I couldn’t even get through to my parents, I couldn’t get in touch to anyone. I unfortunately had to call my 92-year-old grandmother.

RS: That’s hysterical. So, you have to go back to Houston on Friday?
TV: Well, that’s what is supposed to happen, but we’re playing in Los Angeles that evening, and the tour hasn’t even ended yet. So we’re trying to figure out some way of doing this.

RS: Your appearance there is to contest the charges?
TV: Right.

RS: Are you weirdly anticipating this in a positive way, like, so you can confront these people and say you’ve been wronged? Or, is it the opposite?
TV: I’m actually really ready and wanting to deal with it. I don’t want to ignore this at all.

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Ron | 8/26/2008, 1:38 pm EST

Quite possibly the lamest picture I’ve ever seen. It looks like a Helicopter from the Sega 8-Bit System.

Two Gallants are amazing.

CW | 3/9/2008, 3:36 am EST

Shookie — Houston the asshole of the entire universe? You obviously haven’t been to Newark.

varertarols | 11/19/2007, 5:13 pm EST


charlie | 10/6/2007, 3:59 pm EST

hmmm…you guys photoshopped a helicopter into my photo? Its not even a good looking helicopter it looks more like a toy. To make it up to me maybe you can run an article on the band and I can shoot the photo for it. thanks

wrewrqwe | 7/13/2007, 5:00 am EST


hbfd9i7h | 7/12/2007, 5:36 am EST


rtut67uj | 7/11/2007, 10:30 am EST


gregseg4 | 7/10/2007, 7:21 am EST


oeqfigrw zynrxck | 5/14/2007, 1:20 pm EST

kygrvqzoa stqocui aeupo gsoywlmvf engdku qrfvcgkmd izqcfrlky

Google Bot | 4/26/2007, 4:42 am EST

Hi i’m drocher.
Good day

Lyns | 11/26/2006, 12:20 pm EST

I was making an attempt to stick up for you guys, it replied ’slow down cowboy’, i think i wrote a little too much, the thoughts there, always.

drewseph | 11/14/2006, 7:10 pm EST

It is obvious from my time in acquaintence with Tyson and Adam that they are not the violent types, and they are both scrawny and probably would not attack anyone as big as that cop, and as armed as he was. The question we need to ask is what kind of training and supervision procedures are in place in Houston and the rest of the U.S. in regards to law enforcement. Going onstage in a crowded bar, during a performance, and physically involving yourself with multiple people who have done nothing legally wrong is assanine. Think about it? A room full of people are intently focused on the stage and you choose this action. Maybe the patrons, ownership, or the band should bring charges of inciting a riot against the officer. All be told the crowd probably did solicit the tasering by involving themselves physically with the scared and ignorant officer. But, law enforcement officers are paid to keep control in these situations and to keep the peace. What about this officers actions were peaceful? I can personally remember at least a dozen time I have been at parties or outdoor performances by this band in San Francisco, and not once was there a physical confrontation or arrest of either the musicians or fans. These guys have even played guerilla shows on the sidewalk and in the parks! Choose your battles wisely kids because the war on social freedom is far from over!!!!!!!

door | 10/25/2006, 3:03 pm EST

all of you saying it was wrong what 2 gallents did, is fucked up, i stick up for them and there music and if you guys think thats wrong to stand up for what ou believe in and not let some fat ass cop boss you around, well thats just sad.

jonny | 10/24/2006, 12:13 pm EST


jonny | 10/24/2006, 12:13 pm EST


D | 10/24/2006, 10:03 am EST

It would take someone named Bubba to make a moronic comment like that.

francis guilardi | 10/23/2006, 5:55 pm EST

blah blah blah blah.

IJ | 10/23/2006, 2:18 pm EST

Maybe the officer involved was within the limits of the law, maybe not. That’s probably up to a judge or some kind of commission to decide.

When it comes down to it, it’s kind of beside the point. A skilled and professional police officer should have been able to shut down that particular show without any kind of violence happening, or even the need for any arrests.

If I was his manager in the Houston Police Dept. I’d be really annoyed at his hamfisted handling of something that should have been a lot more routine. Now HPD has gotten lots of unwanted media attention, and not just in the U.S.

A family member of mine was talking to a police lieutenant once. He told her that he really had three kinds of officers on staff. The top 10% did an exceptional job, and they were the ones you’d send in to take care of abused kids, and any other kind of situation where you need someone skilled and good at what they do. The middle 70% were there just to do the job. The bottom 20% were the kind of people you spend a lot of time trying to keep out of trouble.

bubba | 10/23/2006, 12:10 pm EST

the cop is used to respect from citizens and not f'’ing this and f'’ing that remarks…if a cop comes onto a stage, the first thing you should have thought of was there is an emergency and I need to hear what this guy is saying…find him the manager of the establishment and then back off…I have watched the videos and this cop is doing nothing wrong…he is in fear for his life because the patrons are out of hand…next time check out the venue you are playing before you come back…oh by the way…it is illegal to use the f”’ word in public anywhere in Texas…save that language for your home…

WTF | 10/20/2006, 5:38 pm EST

Your crappy mag didnt even put a link to their website…

Great article guys.

Ramon Medina from Houston | 10/20/2006, 5:32 pm EST

Thanks shookie blah for your branding houston based on one nutter cop.

Look I’ve been in Houston for years and seen noise complaints at various clubs and bars. I’ve never seen it go down like this -EVER. Noise complaints are pretty routine by the numbers stuff for cops. This one cop clearly had some issues and needs some action taken against him in the courts and by the department.

If you have issues with Houston may I remind you that you’d miss out on a lot of things you take for granted. Lightning Hopkins, Jandek, Albert Collins, Charalambides, Red Krayola, International Artist Records (13th Floor Elevators, et al.), Peacock Records (Big Mama Thorton, Clarance Gatemouth Brown, Bobby Blue Bland, Little Richard, et al). Really Red, destiny’s Child, Geto Boys, Comedian Bill Hicks, Director Wes Anderson - I could go on and on.

And just remember every time you watch “Roadhouse” (Don’t lie, I know you watch it every time it comes on cable) - the city that you call the asshole of the universe is also original home of Patrick Swayze.

Ed | 10/20/2006, 4:48 pm EST

Even since 9/11 the police all over the country are over reacting to ever situation. I was foricable thrown out by two Fort Worht cops at a college football game.Just because I asked an user to help me find my seat. They wrenched my arm so far back I was in pain for days.

ladylike | 10/20/2006, 4:45 pm EST

I have lived in Houston all my life….and yes, for the most part the cops here are pricks and do tend to act out violently when they have no idea how to handle a situation. I was at this show and can and will attest that the officer was WAY out of line, whether he felt threatened or not, there was no reason for him to put his hands or taser on anyone. Obviously, the right thing would have been for him to go to the sound guy or Roy behind the bar. I think it is unfortunate that incidences like this are what represent Houston and Texas.

mo | 10/20/2006, 4:41 pm EST

i have lived in houston all my life and i know that most of the cops here are pricks….it’s so unfortunate to have things like this be representative of houston and texas.

xcoachx | 10/20/2006, 4:25 pm EST

oh, Houston is ok if you live there. “asshole of the world”? No, that’s DALLAS, my friend.

donhenleysnewleatherhandbag | 10/20/2006, 2:46 pm EST


sorry, don’t worry, i also despise Body Count (despite the novelty value of Ice-T fronting a metal band)

This is ridiculous, though I highly respect the police, I also feel that we need to do something to monitor their actions. I mean, we need to find some way how to keep all of these insane right-wing, war-crazy, racist, conservative maniacs from “protecting” the public. There has been so many incidents involving the police and innocent citizens. This entire country is collapsing and we need to find some way to prop it up, SOON. (btw, by saying that i do mean taking control of congress back from the republicans)

thomas | 10/20/2006, 2:43 pm EST

I am so glad that you did a story on this crazy event. I was there and couldn’t belive my eyes when all that happened. That cop was way out of line and he shouldn’t be in a position to protect anyone. As far as I could tell he was conserned with one thing, getting in a fight. I want Adam and Tyson to get the justice they deserve, but more than anything I want to see a two gallans show in it’s entirety. so please come back to houston for one last show….

shookie blah | 10/20/2006, 2:29 pm EST

houston is the asshole of the entire universe. as a texan i’m not surprised at all by this.

i hope two gallants get revenge.

two gallants are a really good band, btw.

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