On Thursday, November 20, tattoo artist and musician Chip Harris was riding his Harley-Davidson Sportster down Okeechobee Boulevard on his way home from work. Somewhere by Breezy Lane, a woman driving west didn't see his bike coming. In one terrifying and tragic moment, she T-boned Harris' motorcycle.
Harris is both a master tattoo artist at Aces High Tattoo Shop in West Palm Beach and the guitarist for Lake Worth hardcore punk act Ten Paces. He has a fiancée and two daughters -- the younger of whom lives with him.
Harris was also known as the drummer of Patriot, a popular '90s hardcore act from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For the past year, Carmen "Frau" Enze has played bass with Harris in their latest endeavor, Ten Paces. She says, "It was Chip's vision. He was pretty much the heart of the band. He had all these songs he wanted to see come to life." The band just recorded its first LP and was getting read to mix it.
His good friend and former roommate, Sean O'Connell, who's remaining at Harris' bedside, describes the guitarist's M.O.: "He lets art control his life. Everything he does revolves around making other people happy."
Enze agrees, saying, "Chip is just a creative, driven person. He's well-respected and a really good musician."
At Aces High, when you walk in, Harris is always the first one you see, a significant presence at the busy shop. The store's owner, John Wylie, told us, "Chip Harris is a great artist, amazing father, and a genuine friend to many people." He calls the accident tragic, adding that friends and family are joining forces to help Harris out.
"That just shows how much he means to so many people," he says, "We are hopeful that over time, he can get through this, and we are here to support him every step of the way."
Harris now lies in a medically induced coma at St. Mary's Medical Center after having undergone major reconstructive surgery on the right side of his face. Harris is sadly uninsured, and his friends and bandmates are working on raising funds to help him and his family.
Enze says they're starting to work on organizing a fundraiser with other bands.
"He's got a 7-year-old daughter," O'Connell says, "and we're just trying to make sure she still has a Christmas."