Tunes From the Singing Tower

(Where carillons ring out on the seaside.)

Normally I wouldn’t care about this, but I witnessed it.


And this is a music blog, after all. Maybe Pitchfork will pick up on this tomorrow.

Originally published August 14, 2007
Against Me! singer arrested on battery charge
By Nic Corbett

[The lead singer of punk band Against Me! was arrested Monday night on a battery charge after he allegedly smashed a Tallahassee man’s head against the counter of a coffee shop, according to the Tallahassee Police Department.

Tom Gabel, 26, walked into the All Saints Cafe, 903 Railroad Ave., with his girlfriend to get some tea.

After he ordered a lemon ginger tea, he headed to the bathroom and saw an article about his band on the wall, which was clipped from the Tallahassee Democrat. Someone had drawn over the article.

Gabel told police it had obscene words scribbled on it which made him mad. He grabbed the article, crumpled it up and threw it in the trash.

Michael Hurley, 22, who was at the cafe with friends, said his friend Jared Smith, 22, asked Gabel why he tore down the article.

“(Jared) wasn’t trying to provoke him or fight him at all,” Hurley said.

Gabel started yelling at Smith, who sat down to drink some water.

“Jared said, ‘This conversation is over.’ Tom said ‘I don’t think it is,'” said Cody Cook, 21, a barista at the cafe and a friend of Smith.

Gabel then knocked Smith’s cup out of his hand.

Smith told police Gabel grabbed the back of his head by his neck and forced his head into the wooden counter.

A man came into the cafe, put Gabel in a headlock and headbutted him, Cook said. That man left soon after.

While Gabel admitted to police he purposely knocked over the cup, he denied hitting Smith.

Smith did not suffer any injuries, the report said. He told police he was more upset and scared than hurt.

Police arrested Gabel after the show was over, Cook said.

Gabel was taken to the Leon County Jail at midnight. He was released early this morning on $500 bail.

Against Me! was listed as one of the top 25 greatest live bands last year year by Spin magazine. The band, which is from Gainesville, released its first album on a major label in July.]

My version: I really didn’t catch anything up until the yelling and fighting started. I originally understood it as an argument over borrowing a newspaper, but it turns out to be a clipping about the band that got defaced, as you’ve read above. I was sitting with my friend Amanda and we looked up just in time to see a bit of a scuffle. It wasn’t much, but it was more than what was mentioned in the article; I think both parties threw about five punches at most before five rat-tailed, grungy, bearded bike kids jumped up to separate the pair. Another guy came in from the patio (some of my friends might know him as the “Act like you know!” guy) and indeed put Gabel in a headlock. Tom headbutted the “Act like you know!” guy and knocked his sunglasses off, and then in turn got headbutted himself. Gabel was soon thrown out of the cafe, the “Act like you know!” guy left shortly afterward, and eventually Smith decided to phone the police and hoped to press charges. Two police cars showed up behind All Saints and stayed there all evening as officers talked to the parties that were involved.

The show let out prematurely. I didn’t attend it — I was bouncing between the cafe and the Infoshop all evening, but I was quickly informed by those in attendance that a bouncer apparently threw a stage-diver back onto the stage, and the stage-diver fell and landed on a girl. She passed out and an ambulance was quickly summoned. Several minutes afterward another police car showed up. My friend Alex, her sister Katie and I walked around the side of the Infoshop and caught sight of Gabel being escorted to the police cars behind All Saints. We couldn’t tell precisely what was happening from our vantage point, but officers stood around for a few minutes, Gabel and his girlfriend briefly talked, and Lindsay informs me that Tom was crying when he finally entered the police car and was carted off to Leon County Jail.

Shortly afterward, the All Saints baristas changed the marquee and now it reads, “Tally Punks – 1, Against Me – 0, Tom does coke.” Very mature, lads.

P.S. (Thank you to Manley for posting the following.) This shirt’s going on sale soon in tribute:

And here’s a link to some of their music. I think this is all from their new album (which peaked at #57 in the Billboard charts last week). I won’t listen to it and don’t really care to examine the page, but I figure I’ll post it just in case anyone’s curious.


14 August 2007 Posted by | Against Me, Arrest, Battery, Coffee Shops, Jail, Legal, Music | Leave a comment