Churchill's Pub: An Oral History

The beer is cheap. The noise is glorious. The ladies' room is disgusting. The men's room is worse. For 35 years, Churchill's Pub has stood at 5501 NE Second Ave. in Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood. That 73-year-old guy with the thick white hair and beard sitting in the shadows, sipping on cider, is Dave Daniels, a former British promoter and owner of this establishment since 1979. Recently, he sold the place, leaving behind a legacy of punk rock and total artistic freedom. From its humble beginnings as an old-timers' day bar, this watering hole has evolved into one of the few music venues in the world where anything goes.

The pub's new proprietors, including real estate developer Mallory Kauderer, haven't announced any major changes, but the shift in ownership does mean the end of an era. So to capture three insane decades of jazz, noise, punk, metal, heavy drinking, performance art, and international soccer, New Times gathered the stories of those who have made Churchill's a cultural landmark.

What follows is the oral history of Miami's greatest rock club.

Nicky Bowe, pub enforcer and co-owner of Donkey Barn Motorcycles: Churchill's is about freedom. There's stuff that goes on that any other owner would walk out, flip a switch, and say, "Get them the fuck out of here."

Chuck Loose, former Chickenhead member and Iron Forge Press founder: You can just do whatever you want at Churchill's. It's where you go to light yourself on fire or ride a motorcycle across the stage.

Steven "Mr. Entertainment" Toth, longtime Churchill's volunteer: There's only one rule at Churchill's: no stage-diving. Anything else goes. Anything.

See also: A Look at 35 Years of Churchill's Pub Flyers (Slideshow)

Dave Daniels, pub founder and owner: Back in England, I'd been a promoter. Then in Miami, I'd worked on cruise ships. So I did that for a year. But I didn't want to get institutionalized, like so many people seem to do. And I got off, looking for a pub to buy in 1979. This [the current Churchill's Pub location] was actually one of the places that I looked at, but it was an elderly couple in ill health who owned it, and the old man was going a bit crazy, so there wasn't a deal to be done.

See also: A Look at 35 Years of Churchill's Pub Flyers

Instead, I ended up getting another place, a very small one, not too far away, at 35 NW 54th St., near Overtown and Liberty City, which I called Sir Winston Churchill's Pub. I bought it on the first of January, 1979. It wasn't much more than 1,000 square feet. It was just a pub. That place was beginning to do well. We were doing 30 or 40 lunches. But then the riots happened.

In 1980, after four Miami-Dade Police officers were acquitted in the beating death of a black man named Arthur McDuffie, outbreaks of violence, arson, and looting tore through Overtown , Liberty City, and other Miami neighborhoods. Churchill's original location was unharmed, but many nearby businesses fled.

Charlie Pickett, former frontman of the Eggs: At that time, Overtown was also absolutely drug-infested. And oddly enough, the people who were going over there to get drugs were able to get in and out safely, even during the riots. They were known there. They went in. They got their drugs. And then they left. It sounds almost incredible. But it was absolutely foolish to venture into that part of town for any other reason.

Daniels: Just before the riots, the crazy old man who owned [the current Churchill's Pub location] must not have been paying his taxes, because it was sold on the courthouse steps. The building was a pub serving beer and wine on the corner, with two storefronts. It used to close at 7 in the evening. It was an old-timers' day bar. The people who bought it, though, weren't really interested in running a pub. So they approached me... Meanwhile, the other neighborhood was completely changed by the riots. So I unloaded the old pub. And I concentrated on the new place.

By late 1980, Daniels had renovated and renamed the Little Haiti bar Churchill's Pub. But he was still mostly serving its longtime clientele: a hard-drinking gang of working-class senior citizens.

Frank "Rat Bastard" Falestra, leader of the Laundry Room Squelchers and International Noise Conference founder: Yeah, Dave opened up this bar. He didn't have nothing else to fucking do. It was called Charlie and Harriet's. That's where the C and H comes from. He turned it into Churchill's Hideaway. I went to high school right there at Curley. I used to come with my fake ID.

Daniels: At that time, there were 20 bars within two miles of here. And now they're all gone.

Rat Bastard: This was an old neighborhood, so you still had these old guys that used to work for the phone company, electrical company. They'd retire, and they just drank.

Daniels: My favorite customer to this day is Howard Quinlan, much more than these hot little girls with great legs and pretty faces. He was in charge of maintenance at the Jewish home. He would do odd jobs for me. But he would never let me give him money. He would only allow me to take him for steak and beer. Another was this little woman called Kitty Hobin. She probably weighed about 75 pounds. Small, wizened, 80 years old. She used to come in every day. Always short of money. So I'd often lend her 80 bucks per month.

By the mid-'80s, Daniels started booking bands when a few rock 'n' rollers and punks happened upon the pub.

Pickett: The Miami music scene had lost its latest club, Flynn's, around '83. There had been 150 to 200 fans every weekend.

Rat Bastard: That was the legendary punk rock place. But when Flynn's went out, Dave had the whole ball rolling. All those bands started coming to Churchill's. I didn't really go there. I'd snuck in to get a beer. But one day, some punk rockers like Todd Jenkins and Malcolm Tent, they walked in and Dave was like, "Oh yeah, I used to book Manfred Mann and Eric Clapton and all these people." So, they're like "Wow!" He's like, "Would you like to do music here?" And they go, "Yeah, we'll play right on the fucking floor."

Daniels: People tell me that they played Churchill's, beside the front door, before we knocked through the wall. But I don't think so. There were dartboards there. They would've ended up with a dart in the forehead.

Malcolm Tent, founder of Trash American Style record store: There was this little expatriate community of Brits, and they would play darts and eat their kidney pies and stuff. It wasn't really a hub of frenetic activity.

Rat Bastard: I came in here, and I says, "Hey, man, I've got a band. Myrin & the 2 Wotz," my high school band. We played this show and all these college kids showed up, over 150, maybe 200 people. Dave was the fucking bartender. He almost had a fucking heart attack 'cause it was three deep of these crazy fuckers with pitchers, going, "Ehhhhh! Come on, man! Refill it!"

Daniels: About that same time, Charlie Pickett came in to see me. So we sat at the bar to talk, because I'd seen Charlie play and I'd liked his band... After an hour, I said, "Are you going to come and play for us?" And he said, "Oh yeah, I'll come." ... And the first time that Charlie played, we had 250 people.

Pickett: When Churchill's started doing music, we'd go in there for sound check and we'd annoy the last of the regulars, because I don't know an amp setting below 10. These guys would shake their heads, finish their beers, and then split.

Tent: I remember specifically there was an uneasy sort of coexistence between us and the Churchill's regulars, who just wanted to come in on a weekend night and eat bangers and mash. We'd be there at the door, trying to collect money for the band, and they didn't quite understand why they had to pay to get into their Purple Hearts' bar.

Rat Bastard: Over time, the neighborhood changed and there were less drinkers.

Daniels: The old-timers would die. Literally.

By the early '90s, a growing Churchill's scene incubated essential Miami acts like Harry Pussy, Kreamy 'Lectric Santa, Holy Terrors, and the Goods. Rat Bastard's regular Thursday-night shows were key.

Rat Bastard: Dave gave me Thursday nights. Shit, it had to be '88, maybe.

Daniels: We've had this sort of very special relationship with Rat. Early days, Rat was wonderful for Churchill's. He looked after all the sound equipment, for which he really wasn't getting paid.

Brian Franklin, singer/songwriter and co-creator of Hearing Damage: The Rat Opera: The brilliance of Dave to sit back and let noise develop. Let Rat drive away crowds, before people realized this is something that will attract crowds. Let the scene catch up with Rat instead of forcing Rat to fit into the scene. I don't know if it was brilliant from a business standpoint, but in the long term, it worked out. It certainly worked out for the artists, and it certainly worked out for the art.

Tent: Whether Dave understood or cared about any of that or not is really open for debate, but the fact that he just allowed it to happen was enough.

Daniels: I was tempted at times to say, "Rat, do you think we could bend this a little, do a little more of that and a little bit less of this?" But the way that Rat created this movement [laughs] ... I don't call it music. Maybe some form of entertainment.

Tent: It was definitely a magical time because we had a whole little scene going on. So many great bands like Prom Sluts, the Morbid Opera, and non-punk rock people like Leo Casino, a Liberty City band. There were a couple of exiled hippies in town, and they would do their thing and had a sort of anarchist political bent. It was really a case of anything goes.

Pickett: At Churchill's, it was never just punk. It was independent music, and not only rock. There was a whole influx of University of Miami jazz people, and they did a very avant-garde thing. That's why the place was so infectious. No band ever went into Churchill's thinking, "Oh man, I have to play this and nothing except this."

Rob Elba, member of the Holy Terrors and co-creator of Hearing Damage: The Rat Opera: There were other clubs that weren't like that, like Rose's or Stephen Talkhouse. Like with the Holy Terrors, both those places we only played once 'cause they said we were too loud. Churchill's was the only place where everyone could play.

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

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.

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.

Bowe: I remember someone calling on the phone, "Is Iggy there? Can I speak to him, please?" So I walk down and say, "Is Iggy here?" No, no. So I say to Mike Toms [former manager], "Do we have a customer here called Iggy?" He's like, "If she calls again, you just always say, 'No, he's not here.' " And I asked who we were talking about, and he said, "Iggy Pop," and I'm like, "Yeah, whatever."

Loose: One night, Iggy Pop came poppin' in. It was just another random punk show. So a murmur started going through the crowd, like, "Dude! Iggy Pop! Iggy Pop! Iggy Pop!" He just came up to the bar, and he ordered a Coke, and he was chillin' out. Of course, though, everybody had to go up to him and say, "Oh my God, you changed my life, man!" And I think he got a little annoyed with it after a while. He didn't seem uncomfortable, just maybe a little dismayed, as if he didn't expect the place to be packed with so many punk-rock fanboys.

Toth: When they had the Real World on Miami Beach, they decided to come over here and film one of the episodes. They show up, and of course, the guy in Kreamy 'Lectric Santa plays bass naked. At the door, Kreamy 'Lectric Santa had a friend who was called Punch, who was kind of a homeless guy. I guess he got his name because he smelled so bad that it felt like you got punched in the face when you saw him. So I walked up to Punch and I said, "Punch, make sure you charge these people from MTV when they come here, and instead of $5, charge them $10 as MTV people." So they come here, and they can't get shit because it's just too crazy, and they can't put the stuff on TV. So in the end, all they got was like one five-second clip of the band ending. They didn't talk about Churchill's.

Churchill's is also known as a place to watch international soccer. In 1996, U2 even stopped by while recording in town — not to play but to watch the English FA Cup Final.

Bowe: Mr. C even charged U2 to get in for a soccer game about 14 years ago.

Mr. C, Churchill's doorman: In England, we're big into football. You know, what you Yanks call soccer.

Daniels: The match was Liverpool versus Manchester United, and U2 was supporting Man U because Roy Keane, who is Irish, was playing for them.

Mr. C: The English Cup Final is like our Super Bowl. So Bono and the boys decided to spend that special day at Churchill's with us.

Daniels: We'd had a phone call from the band's people during the week. And someone asked, "Will you be showing the game?" And we said, "Yes." They asked, "Will it be possible for U2 to have a VIP section?" And we said, "Umm, no. It's not that sort of place."

Mr. C: Yes, the VIP room, in those days, was the back patio with a bunch of fuckin' chickens. So we caught all the birds and fixed it up real nice.

Loose: What? There's a VIP section?

Daniels: Anyway, they didn't commit to coming. But it was a 10 a.m. game, and about 9, the group, some modelesque girls, and a bunch of hangers-on arrived. But I think it had been Bono's birthday the night before, and they'd been partying all night. So they were fucked up.

Mr. C: We used to charge $20 to come in. You got free breakfast and a free pint. I'm on the door, and we're always expectin' a couple of hundred people. But I had been told that U2 were comin', and I wanted to know, "Do I charge them?" And the answer was, "Absolutely." So I'm out there takin' the money when a big yellow taxi pulls up and a manager type says, "What's goin' on?" And I say, "It's $20." And he says, "You do know this is Bono and Edge of U2?" And I say, "All right. Well, I'm Mr. C. And it's still $20." He's trying to haggle. But in the meantime, Bono had walked up, and he said in his real Irish accent, not the fake one: "For fuck's sake, just pay the man." And they handed over the $100 for their whole party.

Bowe: They came in and they ended up having to sit on the back patio in the little alcove, with a canopy over the television so they could see it.

Daniels: In the end, U2's team, Manchester United, did win, one to nil. But Eric Cantona, who is French, scored. So they weren't entirely happy.

Mr. C: At the time, we didn't have a liquor license. So one lad who also supported Man U ran out and bought some vodka. And I got to share a shot with the U2 boys.

At Churchill's, you might meet a rock star, but you also might have a gun pulled on you in the middle of a raucous noise set. And that same guy might even end up being a future friend.

Rimada: It was a regular Thursday night at Churchill's. It was me, Tom Squelcher, and Rat making completely cacophonous fucking crazy-sounding shit, like normal. This guy out of nowhere just yelling at us, "Stop it! Stop it!" He's pulling at his hair, and we just ignore him. It's like a regular occurrence. They tend to freak out here and there about the noise.

Rat Bastard: I see this guy on the floor with a pool stick; you can't hear a fucking word he's saying. And finally he gets up on the stage. All of a sudden, he takes the pool stick and throws it on the ground. So I'm like, oh, he's going to come and choke me. But he reaches in his shorts and pulls out a gun. He walks up and points it right at me and says, "Now you're gonna stop." Unfortunately for him, I am not afraid of guns. I've had many guns pointed at me, because I grew up in New York and this area here. If it were a knife, maybe. I says, "Go ahead and pull the trigger."

Rimada: Rat acted as if he was not shitting his pants, but I saw his face. His jaw dropped totally.

Rat Bastard: And the guy had this weird facial change, and I'm thinking, "OK, I'm dead." He stepped back, put the gun in his pocket, like he was in a state of shock, and jumped off the stage. Then Barbara, the longtime bar manager, was like "You motherfucker!" and runs and throws him right out of the fucking place.

Lilah de Hellion, former bartender, founder of the Hellion Burlesque troupe: I was amazed Rat just kept playing; he really didn't blink. When the guy came down, he wanted another drink. He was really drunk. Barbara came out, and she said, "If you give me the gun, I'll give you a drink." I had seen that he had another gun in his belt. And I told her that. And she was like, "Oh! The other one too!"

Rimada: The guy was just frustrated. He pointed the gun at all of us, and we weren't stopping, so he just kind of gave up and walked out of Churchill's.

De Hellion: The guy ended up catering my wedding.

Rat Bastard: It turns out the guy is a supernice guy with three kids, but the music just made him nuts. He came in and apologized and bought me a beer. I was like, "Yeah, don't worry about it."

Toth: And then he was in Rat's band the next week.

Violence is often self-inflicted at Churchill's. One of the pub's most infamous moments is Chuck Loose's self-immolation stunt, which went very wrong — and it was all caught on VHS.

Loose: So yes, I was in this band called Chickenhead, and we were very, very self-destructive. One day, I made this really brilliant plan to light myself on fire during a show. I'd visited New York and seen this band called Fifth Column, a weird industrial group, and the singer burned his hair. So I was like, "That's such a great idea!" At the time, I was living in a house with a pool in the backyard. So I tried it out by dousing my shirt in lighter fluid, setting myself on fire, then jumping in the pool to put out the flames. After, I thought, "Well, OK. That wasn't so bad. I'll just jump off the Churchill's stage and roll around and it'll go out." Obviously, that was the hubris of youth... Basically, I went through the routine that I'd practiced, dousing myself in lighter fluid, lighting my T-shirt on fire, and letting it burn for a little bit. But at a certain point, I realized, "Oh, this isn't good." So I pulled my flaming shirt over my head, scorching off my eyebrows. I ended up with a few third-degree burns on my body too. So I had to go to the hospital, which was also awesome, because I had to explain why I was wearing makeup and all this silly punk-rock gear and how I managed to barbecue my chest and face. The nurse asked, "Where were you?" And I was like, "Churchill's." She just kinda looked at me and walked away. She already knew the place's reputation. But we're talking about Churchill's. And in context, lighting yourself on fire was no big deal.

Toth: I think Chuck got banned because of that, but obviously, he's played like 900 times since.

Loose: Well, when I lit myself on fire, the sound guy told me that I was banned for life. But he got fired like a week later. So my ban for life was dissolved. Then I rode a motorcycle on the stage. And this other sound guy told me that I was banned for life. But he got fired like a month later. So my ban for life was dissolved. Again.

Bowe: You have to do an awful lot at Churchill's to actually get banned for life.

Elena Davila, bar manager and former Jell-O wrestler: It's really more like a suspension. Nicky will tell them to come back in ten days.

Mr. C: We're old-school. We have a tussle with someone. We usually won't hold a grudge.

Rat Bastard: People have been banned for throwing bottles.

Davila: The most recent one was somebody that went to the bathroom and broke a pipe glass over somebody's head while they were pissing.

Bowe: The true banning for life is Dave caught somebody pouring their own beers one night. And that's a no-no at Churchill's. I think they got a quarter of a cup out of the tap, and they're banned for life. The whole time I've been here, that's the only time I've seen Dave drag someone out by the scruff of the neck.

Mr. C: And the truth is nobody wants to be banned. Because your mates are still gonna come here. There's no loyalties. Your friends will choose Churchill's before you.

The line "Only at Churchill's" is no bullshit. Or, well, maybe, it does involve actual poo.

Loose: One of my most vivid Churchill's memories is a turd, just rising on a wave, like it was coming after me, as the toilet overflowed.

Rimada: Has someone talked about the chicken in the trees? In the past, they only had all those chairs in the back. It was this dark place for people to do drugs and other illicit shit. You go back there and you'd see eggshells on the floor. It was just bizarre. You would look up through the moonlight and the weird streetlight yellow glow pouring through the trees, you'd see these chickens just chilling up there. Why the fuck was this chicken in the tree laying eggs? It was the kind of thing that could only happen at Churchill's.

De Hellion: They would go up in the tree, and you had to be careful when you'd sit out in the back patio, because they'd shit on you.

Bowe: A band from France, Costes, that Rat brought in, the girl had her period on him, and then he shit on her and started rubbing it all over himself.

Rat Bastard: Costes is one of the greatest performance artists in the world. He's played Churchill's twice for free... He's so intense, he actually spent five years in prison for his art.

Bowe: Then he ran for the crowd, and the whole crowd took off for the other side of the bar. He said, "No, those idiots; it was chocolate pudding." He put a bag up his ass, so when he stuck his finger up it, he punctured it with a long fingernail. And he did it so perfectly, everyone thought it was shit.

Rat Bastard: I said, "If someone took a dump on the stage, you'd smell it from a mile away." That's a combination of chocolate pudding and sauerkraut.

Bowe: There was Wednesday-night Jell-O wrestling. These girls were lesbians, bisexuals, whatever you want to call them — all of them had something to do with Churchill's. Some were bartenders; some were in bands. Eight of them sat down together and said, "Let's do this." It became kind of a theatrical thing. They'd sell the ringside seats for $12, the outer-ring seats for $10, and it was $7 to get in. Three to four hundred people would come in here on a Wednesday night. So all the perverts would have the $12 seats, all the semiperverts around them, and these girls would make a fucking fortune.

Rat Bastard: It wasn't just Jell-O. What they did was use different foods. They did peanut butter, spaghetti, some weird ones.

Davila: Dave was really upset because it's not really Jell-O; it's like some Jell-O-like substance. But Dave really wanted us to make boxes and boxes of Jell-O. So he bought a ton of boxes of Jell-O and was like, "Why don't you guys just make it?" We were like, "Where do you think we're going to store all of this stuff to fill a whole pool?" So we have tons of Jell-O if anybody's interested.

In the club's final weeks under Daniels' tenure, some of the original Churchill's acts — including Charlie Pickett, Henk Milne, Rob Elba, Juan Montoya, and Jim Camacho — came back for a last hurrah. Kreamy 'Lectric Santa flew in from Asheville, North Carolina, to offer tribute, and Rat Bastard played his final set at the pub.

Daniels expects to leave Churchill's by the end of May and has plans to live between here and England and write a historical-fiction novel set in his hometown. And yes, he will still watch the 2014 World Cup at Churchill's Pub.

Daniels: The thing I'm going to miss the most is the contact with young people. I sort of have a rapport with these young girls, and miniskirts are getting back to nearly as short as they were in England in the '60s. That contact has kept me a bit younger.

Toth: As much of a pervert as he is, as creepy and dirty as the place is, he's one of my favorite family members. Dave has always been nice to me, and I like him better than some of my family members for sure.

Bowe: I wonder what Dave's going to do. We've argued, screamed, and shouted at each other, left, come back. It gets pretty crazy at times. That's how it goes. But I'll always walk back through the door and say, "Hey, that doesn't mean you're not going to come to Christmas dinner."

Daniels: I've been here too long. I'm completely exhausted. I'm working too many hours, and I'm too old. I'm looking forward to being able to stay in bed all day and travel.

Franklin: I think a lot of people in this scene took Churchill's for granted. I think they saw it as an institution and didn't realize how blessed we were to have a place we could experiment in. That's not particularly necessary for a scene to have. You do that stuff in a garage or your house or maybe in a warehouse, but you don't necessarily have a stage with new customers, where there's a built-in audience; that was a luxury Miami musicians had for 30 years.

Rat Bastard: He doesn't interfere with the artistic or musical event. He lets anything happen at Churchill's. That's why he has been successful and stayed in business for 35 years. All these other brain surgeons that think they run music bars around here, but they don't know their ass from their elbow.

Pickett: People make music. And there's only eight notes. But somehow, over 3,000 years, those notes have resonated and continued to resonate with the whole world. So music matters, and when there's a place to create music, play, and help it flourish, that elevates everybody. Churchill's is that kind of place. And I can tell you that it's changed my life.

Daniels: Anybody I'm having a drink with, the toast is, "The best days of Churchill's are still to come!" I want it to succeed. I want it to be better. I don't want it to fail because I'm not here.

Franklin: Everyone's talking about Churchill's as if it's dead. You know, it's interesting. If there's a demand, a need for Churchill's, there will be a Churchill's.

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Liz Tracy and S. Pajot