Published Aug 26, 2016In 1994, Beat Happening frontman and K Records mastermind Calvin Johnson teamed up with Built to Spill's Doug Martsch to form the Halo Benders. The pair went on to release three albums before taking a hiatus in the early 2000s (though they returned for shows in 2007 and 2010). Along with some excellent music, the two left behind one of indie rock's strangest reality TV moments.
While touring through Utah in the mid-'90s, the band were pulled over by some eager cops who were being filmed for the syndicated reality series Real Stories of the Highway Patrol.
The Halo Benders' driver was handcuffed and later arrested for possessing a one-hitter pipe with a tiny amount of marijuana. A visibly perplexed Johnson responds to the police by asking why they're pulled over, and things get heated. As a result, both Johnson and Martsch are also handcuffed.
In an interview with City Search many years ago, Martsch confirmed that the clip was real:
Oh...it did happen. Yeah. But I don't really want to talk about it. But...someone got in trouble. It wasn't me. It wasn't Calvin. Well, Calvin got in sort of trouble for smarting off. I never saw the episode. To me it was just a dramatic, bad situation. To some people it's funny, but to us, it was a bummer.
While it's undeniably frustrating to sit through, this is one hell of a surreal indie rock moment. Watch the Halo Benders' unintentional appearance on Real Stories of the Highway Patrol below.