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Minique Flambeau

Excerpts from "The Music in the Walls; Stories and Anecdotes from Tinker st. Cafe 1988-98", someday to be published memoirs by Jerry Mitnick, aka Minique Flambeau

I had been a working musician most of my life, living in N.Y.C. It was a great way of making it through this thing called life. I played in three or four bands at a time to make a living, and it was always musically fulfilling. A blues gig here at Dan Lynch’s, a country gig there at O’Lunneys, the "War is Over" rally in Central Park, a world beat gig at a college, a new wave gig at CBGB’s. My career was well rounded and I considered myself successful and fortunate just to be able to keep doing what I loved to do. I would always have enough to pay my bills, and still afford an occasional movie..Of course, like any decent nyc musician, you always have a backup plan: carpentry, dealing, male prostitution, stock broker, sweat lodge management, etc. Mine was drivin a taxi when gigs thinned out. It kept food on the table through the thin times.
It was in August 1988, that my partners and I opened up The old Espresso Cafe music club in Woodstock, N.Y., and renamed it the Tinker Street Café. A roster of acts, dazzling by any standard, has graced the venue. Besides Bob Dylan, who lived upstairs when he first arrived in town in ’63, and names like Butterfield, Hendrix, Tim Hardin. Rev. Gary Davis who played there in the 60’s, later acts to grace the stage from ’88 on were John Hammond Jr., Maria Muldaur, Gregg Allman, Steve Jordan, The B-52’s, R.E.M., Burning Spear, Living Color, Jewel, Dave Matthews, just to name a few. Being a musician myself, and always looking to jam, I had a backline of amps and drums set up on stage, so that any time players came in the club, there was a vibe to jump up and kick out the jams.
Frequently, there were cancellations from bands that for one reason or another couldn’t make the gig. Hang Time (aka the Cancellations), a group featuring Rob Leon on guitar, Peter O’brien on drums and myself on bass, was the go-to band that usually filled in those last minute voids. I never minded the cancellations, because that meant that I got to play with these guys. We were so nicely locked in musically, and it was a joy to experience.
Soon after closing the Cafe and up to the present, i took to performing locally with different bands, and thought that it was time for me to put all my songs and recordings in my own CD's, so that's where i shall leave you, the listener, to hopefully sit back and enjoy the music....later, Minique

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