Franklin: Everybody played at Churchill's, bands like I Don't Know, the Goods, Diane Ward, Matthew Sabatella.

"They asked, 'Will it be possible for U2 to have a VIP section?'" Dave Daniels says. "And we said, 'Umm, no. It's not that sort of place.'"

Daniels: There was a sort of genre of music that developed here. Sometimes they would turn up if nothing was happening, and say, "Dave, we haven't got anywhere to rehearse. Can we rehearse out back?" And I would say, "Sure." They would buy a couple of beers. Kreamy 'Lectric Santa, Harry Pussy, Trash Monkeys, this sort of off-the-wall, extreme stuff that really no one wanted.

Loose: Every Thursday with Rat Bastard was a total boon for the punk rockers, because if you wanted to have a show at Churchill's, you could almost always do it on that night. He would let nearly anybody play before he did his own thing. That was your shot.

Churchill's muscle: Nicky Bowe and Mr C.
Photo by Marta Xochilt Perez
Churchill's muscle: Nicky Bowe and Mr C.

Location Info


Churchill's Pub

5501 NE 2nd Ave.
Miami, FL 33137

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Central Dade


Franklin: I remember my first show. I was brought in by Rat, and he was like, "If you're going to play in Miami, you're going to play at Churchill's." I got up there and there were like two people in the audience. It was probably 1 a.m., and it felt incredibly unsafe.

Elba: The early '90s you literally felt like you were taking your life in your hands... When I hear people say it's in a bad neighborhood now, I'm like, "You don't even know what it was like back in the early '90s."

Loose: When I discovered the place, I was like, "Oh, OK. This is interesting." But I was never afraid. Of course, I was very young, so maybe I was just too naive.

Roger Rimada, former Monotract member: People think Churchill's looks like shit now, they should have seen it back then, in 1996. I was in there in the daytime to drop off a demo. It was 2 o'clock, and even in the daytime, it was a really intimidating place. It was a dark and dank place with three or four barflies just sitting there, and it smelled like Churchill's smells. Now it's like a nice Churchill's. Back then, it was a total fucking dump.

Toth: I would fall in love with the street people and kind of be mad at Dave for how he may have treated them. But I went home, and Dave had to live with these people every day. I was here once a month, and I'm glorifying Bob White. In the end, Dave has been very fair to those people too.

Elba: Bob White? He was a guy who was always there. Dave never really liked him because he'd bum off people to get a drink. But he was a really nice, sweet guy. The weirdest thing about Bob White is he has the most fucked-up handshake. I could never shake his hand. You never knew what to do.

Toth: Another [regular at the bar] is Joaquin, a Cuban refugee who for many years during the '90s and the early 2000s worked Churchill's parking lot as the official portrait-drawer. Everyone at one time just thought Joaquin drew the same person. And people would keep their Joaquin, but I had decided I'm gonna collect these and make sure there's something different, it's not the same chick with big tits or the same dude. And I've come to find out he was really drawing these people and at least putting in a little time... My joke is that Joaquin saved all his money from the 2 million portraits he drew and is now the new owner of Churchill's.

Amid all the experimental noise, Churchill's has also showcased notable names.

Rimada: I saw Harry Pussy play their last show there. And I thought they were fucking terrible. I thought they were the worst band I had ever seen. And the guy who opened for them was wearing glasses with a beanie on his head, and he was wearing a Sebadoh T-shirt and shorts, and he was just wailing. I thought that guy was the worst thing I'd ever seen, and I thought, "I'm never coming back here again. Tonight was a total bust." Turns out Harry Pussy was one of the most revered bands in all of noise music. And the guy that opened for them was fucking Rat Bastard. I was like, "I'll never see this guy again," and, of course, I end up having a 20-year, very close friendship with him.

Rat Bastard: We would invite other groups to play with Scraping Teeth [Rat's band, named the Worst Band in America by Spin magazine in 1993]. In fact, that was the first Marilyn Manson show. The first Marilyn Manson was not Brian Warner. The first Marilyn Manson was Cindy Deats, a girl. She was this intense girl. She would smoke those long extension cigarettes. Long black hair, beautiful girl, bright, would write like two pages of fresh lyrics and sing them that night. Scott [Putesky] comes to me one night and goes, "Listen, I got this great idea. Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids and Cindy's Marilyn Manson." I go, "This is good. Let's do it on Thursday." And then after, she goes, "This shit sucks. I'm never fucking doing this again." And it did. It sucked compared to what they used to do. Their other stuff was amazing. So he's fucked because he's got three channels of music [already recorded] and she's like, "I'm not even singing on that shit." We worked with Scott, and they came to my studio in North Miami. We threw Brian on there. We mixed it, and then I released it on Dossier Records out of Berlin. And then Brian became part of the band.

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Pretty obvious why Rat Bastard is one of the worst bands. They don't even know a band's history but claim they do. Cindy Deats was in a band with Scott known as "India I love You" and was never known as Marilyn Manson. 

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