March 10 [14:00 EST] -- The Rev. Horton Heat and his bandmates got a less then pleasant surprise when they rolled into Columbia, Missouri and promptly had their instruments and equipment confiscated by local police.
According to the band's management, the Columbia Sheriff, acting on a court order, approached the band after its March 4 performance and cited a default judgment levied against the act in a North Carolina lawsuit.
The Rev.'s management contends that neither they nor the group knew they were being sued, let alone that they had lost, but the court order mandated that the band either pay $30,000 or hand over its equipment. A bit low on cash at the time, the group forfeited its gear.
The band's management said that the suit was brought against the Reverend (through the band's management company) in late 1995, and arose from a financial dispute with a promoter. Management said that North Carolina law states that a plaintiff must only post a newspaper announcement
and mail a notice to the defendant when filing a lawsuit.
The band's management contends that they never received any notification about the suit, and were not there to defend themselves when the suit went to trial in early 1996. Missouri law apparently allows authorities to confiscate property based on rulings in other states' civil trials.
"We were sued, and didn't know it," a management spokesperson said.
Management said that when the band did learn of the suit, as its gear was being loaded into a truck, its lawyers were contacted and immediately began negotiating a deal to get the equipment back.
The next day, after coughing up $12,000, the band got its gear back and made it to its next show. Management said that their lawyers were now weighing their options, and noted that the situation remains unresolved.
"It was a very expensive inconvenience," the spokesperson said.