Against Me! singer arrested on battery charge

By | August 15, 2007 at 6:12 AM

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.

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