Sunday, September 19, 2010


Breakfast in the Terminal Bar was, by definition, very late in the day. Even back in the midtown Manhattan, mid-1980s, the Terminal Bar – on 9th Avenue, if I remember a-right – diagonally across from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, had a very bad and very wide reputation as a dangerous den of whores, pimps, predators, winos, thieves, junkies, and a broad selection of other specimens of end-of-the-line, forty-deuce, gris-gris gutter trash, but did we care? Hell no. The Terminal Bar was the first joint we would encounter if we headed north after leaving The Last Words Of Dutch Schultz rented rehearsal space in the notorious Music Building. To walk on by and go all of another block to a marginally safer designation of watering hole tended to offend our entrenched alcoholic machismo and thus the boys in the hard core of the band – Johnny Collins, Wayne Kramer, Moose Bowles, Henry Back, and the late Cleveland Dave – became just one more demographic in the place of stainless steel industrial d├ęcor that looked like it could be hosed down after a rough night, and offered 69 cent daytime specials on really foul whiskey. We were the musicians. (The ladies of the production tended to balk at the Terminal’s ambiance and swore that we were insane.) And maybe we were, but we never actually encountered anything worse than the usual hustles, irritations, importuning, and unasked gin blossom memoirs. They do say the Lord protects fools and drunks, and we qualified on both counts.
I even immortalized the joint in song. The tune was called “The Leader Hotel” and it can be found the Tijuana Bible Gringo Madness CD and also on The Deviants Barbarian Princes (Live In Japan). The verse goes…

"Next door there is the Terminal Bar
Which is where the terminal go
W.C. Fields hanging out with G.I. Joe
You can make for a while
Though you may not feel too well
The drinking stops you thinking
At the Leader Hotel."

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The secret word is Memories


Mark Haspam said...

There's a great short movie about the Terminal Bar.
Could only find an excerpt online:

(you'll find the whole thing in a DVD compilation of american short movies here:
it's worth it)

Mark Haspam said...

There's a bigger (8 min) excerpt here:

Jon said...

The Terminal bar is also name checked in the song, "Minnesota Strip" by the Dictators.

Valerie said...

Come on Mick, let's have the sequel to "Give the Anarchist a Cigarette.