Mr. Blink has
outlived members' expectations
LaCrosse Tribune, LaCrosse, Wisconsin. October 22, 1998:
It's hard to imagine a time when there was no Mr.
The La Crosse rock band was first formed in 1989, a side project for members
of three other local bands, Union Jack, Disorient Express and Buzz Butler.
It was only intended as a summer project, but it has long outlived all
of those bands to become one of the best known on the La Crosse music
One of the five-piece band's most visible gigs is its annual Saturday
night marathon set at Oktoberfest. It has also opened for REO Speed wagon
at the La Crosse Center and for other bands like the Bodeans, Kansas,
and Dr. Hook.
It has performed in UW-La Crosse theater productions of "Hair," "Jesus
Christ Superstar" and "The Caucasian
Chalk Circle," for which band members wrote an original score. But
the group's bread-and- butter is playing at La Crosse bars like John's,
the Alpine Inn, the Popcorn Tavern
and the Haberdashery in the Radisson
Hotel - that last spot "when we're feeling loungy," says singer - guitarist
"And we need some cash," adds drummer Tim Konczakowski.
The group is an anomaly of sorts in the here-today-gone-tomorrow local
rock band scene. Despite a number of personnel and style changes and instrumental
switcharounds, it has stayed together for almost a decade now and shows
no signs that it will stop anytime soon. What keeps the band going?
"Tolerance," says Caucutt's wife, Nancy Stoll Caucutt,
keyboardist and only member for its entire run. That, and a willingness
to try new musical ideas. With a repertoire of more than 50 original songs
and dozens of covers in styles ranging from country to reggae to jazz
to rock to blues, Mr. Blink gigs tend to change from night to night.
"You just have to make it interesting for yourself, you know," Nancy says.
"You have to challenge yourself in different ways. Take chances. Experiment.
Try new things."
That attitude is reflected in the group's eclectic recordings, which include
two cassettes ("This Place In Time" and "Altitude Is Everything") and
a CD ("Tune-Up").
The disc, released earlier this month, collects some of their fan's favorites
from tapes along with some new material, Mike Caucutt said. Recorded at
Sleepless Night Studio in Madison, it's also the best-sounding release
As always, there are lots of styles to choose from here - everything from
the jazzy ballad "What To Do?" to the
rootsy rock of "Runaway" to the Leslie
organ-driven funk-rap of "I Went To College."
The band's approach was perhaps best summed up by a reviewer from the
Des Moines, Iowa-based Muse News, who wrote of "This Place in Time":
"This tape has more personalities than Sybil". This willingness to try
many styles and do other people's songs as well as their own has made
the band attractive to local bar owners, who like Mr. Blink's ability
to draw consistent crowds.
On the other hand it hasn't always endeared them to the current hip crowd.
"Bands that play only originals often look down at bands that do covers
and, in our case, have heckled us at shows, wrote hate graffiti on bathroom
walls and generally treated us with disdain and contempt," writes Mike
Caucutt on the band's web page. "Here is my position and Mr. Blink's philosophy:
First of all, relax. It's only music. It's not war, disease or a competition."
He says bands play covers for many reasons, not the least because they
like to play a certain song. "Mr. Blink believes in tolerance and diversity,
and tries to apply a sense of balance to this imperfect world." Caucutt
continues. "Anyone that is familiar with our band knows that we play covers
and originals at our shows and everyone seems to have a good time. And
isn't that what it's all about?"