Rock star tries to end feud with Seattle institution, but did he make it worse?

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Tom Morello

Tom Morello

SEATTLE — When trying to end a heated online debate, is it best to try to clear the air or just let the conversation die?

Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello went with the former Tuesday.

Morello has been engaged in a closely watched he-said, she-said with the owner of Seattle’s The 5 Point Cafe over a now infamous Friday night incident.

According to previously posted blow by blows, Morello — who was in town to perform at a benefit show for 15NOW — tried to go to the cafe to grab some dinner after the show. Morello says he was rudely denied a table. The 5 Point’s owner says Morello was the one who was rude. Then the two engaged in some Twitter back-and-forth, with people from around the world weighing in to impart their infinite wisdom.

Now, Morello has taken to his Facebook page outlining — in his words — what happened when he tried to secure a table at Seattle’s The 5 Point Cafe Friday night.

Here’s what he said, in full:

Subject: Pancake-Gate

I regret that my twitter salvo about the treatment I received at a Seattle restaurant and the subsequent digital tempest in a tea pot may have taken away from the important work of those organizing for a $15min wage and the Seattle show I played on their behalf.

When next in Seattle I would be happy sit down over a beverage–or sooner on the phone–and discuss the matter to conclusion with all concerned. The restaurant, the incident and my bruised feelings don’t matter. What does matter is the hard, tireless work put in by those committed to fighting for a more just world.

If interested however here is the non-140 character blow by blow of the “Encounter At @The5PointCafe”:

Our team of musicians flew to Seattle for a benefit show for 15 Now, the grassroots campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15. I’ve long been a supporter of this particular campaign as well as the national drive for a living wage.

The show itself at the former Off Ramp went great. I was reunited with former @Audioslave band mate @ChrisCornell for the first time in years and together with the raucous crowd it was really a special evening. A good deal of money was raised for the 15Now cause and we wandered into the Seattle late night happy…and hungry.

Two of our hosts from 15Now a band mate of mine, a woman from management, and my brother from Kenya comprised our party. Someone suggested Five Points, a spot I remember fondly from back in the day. I had some reservations because one of our 15Now friends said that while the owner was a good guy and treated staff well, the restaurant itself was on “the wrong side of the minimum wage issue” and had attempted to water down the $15min wage legislation by drawing out the implementation period and adjusting for tips to make it more palatable to small businesses. I am 100% on the side of an undiluted $15Now initiative which is in my view the only “pro worker” position, but hey we were hungry so let’s give it a shot.

The restaurant was packed and spirited and we asked the doorman “party of 6 for dinner?” He said they were at capacity and it would probably be a 10min wait. No problem. Then ten people or so left the restaurant. “Can we come in now? Those people just left.” No. “Why?” I’m not letting anyone in. “Wait a second. Are you at capacity or are you not letting anyone in?” I’m not letting you in. “So you’re no longer at capacity but we can’t come in?” No. “Um ok. How about we order take out and sit at one of these 20 empty tables outside?” No. “Ok what’s really going on here dude? Some of us have traveled a long way. He’s from Kenya! I’m from the 90’s!” I’m not letting you in. “Say, is your manager here? Maybe he’s a Rage Against The Machine fan? He might even raise your pay to $15 an hour!” More people leave the restaurant. It’s clearly under capacity. Then our friends see that inside the restaurant several tables are occupied by friends of ours from 15Now. “Hey look we don’t even need a table. We’ll just join our friends who are already inside?” No. “Really? Why not?” I’m not letting you in. “Can we just go TALK to them and see if they have room for us?” No. It was like a hipster version of a Studio 54 doorman. At that point my band mate made a flavorful declaration and we decamped to the trusty, attitude free, IHOP where we enjoyed a drama free stack of hotcakes.

To be clear: at no point did myself or anyone in our party “demand special treatment”, a “private room” or any other ridiculousness.

I was however pissed at the rudeness of the doorman to my friends and my younger brother–of whom I’m quite protective. I question what underlying motives the doorman may have had. Bad day? Anti-Kenyan? Preferred the Spin Doctors?

Whatever the cause, it is unfortunate that MY actions in response have diverted attention from the great work done by 15Now. “Twitter bitching” is counterproductive as it invites grossly misinformed conjecture not easily dispelled in 140 characters. Lesson learned.

As I’ve said before Seattle is truly an advanced society with its $15 minimum wage, its legal pot, it’s gay marriage, its great music and its Seattle Seahawks.

Next time we’ll call ahead.


While a valiant attempt to end the conversation, many on Morello’s own Facebook page claim he is still throwing Internet blows. What do you think?


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  • Joey

    He is actually very smart (at least from a marketing standpoint)……he understands that he is a marginal-at-best guitarist with a clearly irrelevant band and this is a great way to get some free publicity. How else would he be able to do that?

  • TMN

    He’s right. That happens ALL THE TIME in Seattle. There’s often a “perceived” line out the door created purposely to make a place look full. If it wasn’t that, than it was the other thing that happens ALL THE TIME in Seattle – the weirdly rude doorman who use their temporary power on whoever they decide they can or should. It’s very typical hear and a real shame – I’ve decided not to go to several places because of it.

  • Jenna S.

    Clearly a one-sided make-me-look-like-the-good-guy-victimized account of the events. No, I wasn’t there, but who says “say, if your manager here”. And by his own account “maybe he’s a rage against the machine fan. He might even raise your pay to $15 an hour” was trying to get special treatment. What a DB.

  • Kip

    Was it 5 point, or the 5 spot on Queen Anne? Big difference. The 5 spot has never been American, or anything about America, they don’t even have American beer, or American cheese available on the menu. Hmmmmmm??? I had an out of town friend there a few years back, and we got up and left after we already had a table. Over rated, and under anything. Now if it’s the 5 Point? I’ve never been, and they just appear as pompous, and rude.

  • sidroast

    Tom Morello was in Rage Against The Machine. Brought to you by Epic, a subdivision of Sony. How can he claim to speak for working-class individuals?

    Who cares if the 5-Point is rude, they’ve always been rude, Tom is not uncovering anything new or shocking.

  • John Eugene

    I have no clue what music he is known for and I could care less… What I see is a childish fool that needs to have the last word. I have no use for people like this… Thanks for your participation in what ever you were here for, now go away. We can manage just fine in Seattle without guys like you.

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