Longform

Churchill's Pub: An Oral History

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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.

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Liz Tracy and S. Pajot