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- "I really just wanted special treatment. And some pancakes. Is that so hard?"
Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello (aka the Nightwatchman) attacked Seattle establishment 5 Point Cafe on Twitter on September 26 after being denied a "special room" (a room that doesn't actually exist, fact fans) for his entourage, because the bar was at capacity. The acclaimed musician and activist had just performed a benefit concert for 15 Now with Audioslave bandmate and Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell at El Corazon.
This obviously rankled 5 Point owner David Meinert, who responded on the business' Facebook page.
For the record Tom Morello - The 5 Point is totally pro-worker. We try to pay more than any other small restaurant, and on top of the higher pay, we offer health insurance, paid sick days, paid time off, retirement and profit share. Sorry if you had an issue with our staff, but typically our staff is awesome, and when they are not, it's usually a reflection of the customer. Act like a prick = get treated like a prick.
I have to say, your attacking a small business without knowing anything about it, or addressing your problem with them directly before you go on a public rant, pretty much sucks. Just lost a ton of respect for you, and I've been a fan for years, both of your work in Rage and your work for workers rights since.
PS - rock stars don't get special treatment at The 5 Point. We couldn't give less of a shit. Sorry...
PSSS - turns out he and his crew didn't get let in as the place was at capacity and there was a line. No one was being let in. According to our doorman who I totally trust, Tom and his crew were all totally rude. Quote from the door guys "I knew who he was, we had no room, his whole party was being rude. He wanted a special room in the back. Clearly had no ideas what it is like inside. I've told bigger rock stars than him no."
I asked doorman Eric Roach to describe the scene at the 5 Point when Morello and his crew rolled up. "When he showed up, I had just cleared out a bunch of people and turned away a couple of parties," Roach said in a phone interview. "It was Decibel Festival last weekend, and the 5 Point was really, really busy. I came inside to check on the bartender a couple of times and found him in the closet leaning against the wall saying, ‘Nobody should have to deal with this.’ There was only one bartender and one waitress on that night. Just before Morello shows up, both the bartender and the waitress adamantly did not want to have anybody else in the bar. I’d already gotten rid of everybody that was on the porch. We were already over-served. When Morello shows up with his group, maybe a little before 1 a.m., I had to say, ‘I’m sorry. We’re full right now. I’m not letting anybody in.’ It was at the height of our busyness.
Roach says Morello didn't seem drunk or drugged up.
"In fact, he didn’t come off as being a jerk, other than that he wouldn’t take 'no' for an answer," Roach said. "One of the first things out of his mouth is, ‘Does the owner like Rage Against the Machine?’ I said, ‘Probably, but we’re full right now.’ Normally I try to be witty with my answers, but the whole party kept trying to get in. ‘Isn’t there someplace in the back you can put us, away from everybody?’ I said, ‘No, man, it’s not that kind of place. We’re really small; I don’t have any room for you.’ They just kept asking me. I’m sure I looked irritated. The fact that he thought I was rude may be his interpretation of my irritation.
"At the point where he said, 'We’re gonna go to IHOP,’ I said, ‘Great. IHOP’s up the street. They’re a lot bigger than we are. Have a good time.’ He said, ‘I’m gonna tweet you.’ I told him, ‘My name’s Roach—R-O-A-C-H, if you’re gonna tweet about me.’ Then he actually did tweet about me. Whatever… The rudest thing he did was the tweet. Really, dude? You took time out of your day to insult me, the door guy who won’t let you into a place? I would’ve loved to have helped the guy. We’ve helped all kinds of stars. Hell, Sinbad was there a couple of weeks ago—had a great time."
Roach said the whole exchange lasted only about five minutes and then the entourage left, annoyed. "The whole time I kept thinking there was a hidden agenda; to know that he was there supporting 15 Now and how David [Meinert] was adamantly against Sawant’s approach to the minimum-wage increase. It doesn’t seem like much of a coincidence to me."
If you're wondering, yes, Roach is a Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave fan. And, no, he's not going to jettison their music from his collection. He really wished he could've helped them out. "The best things about those bands are the singers, anyway," Roach concluded. "Zack de la Rocha and Chris Cornell are two of my favorite singers. If I wasn’t in the business [Roach is also a stagehand for various venues], I probably wouldn’t know who Tom Morello was." ZING.
A subsequent tweet [see below] by Morello made conciliatory gestures, but even those had conditions, and Meinert appears to have forgiven him for the negative outburst. After all, this ultimately resulted in major publicity for his eatery/bar. If this incident proves anything, though, it's that even lefty-activist musicians can act like obnoxious prima donnas with the
best worst of 'em.
Check out the concert itself below.