“Flames! Flames on the side of my face,” says Madeline Kahn in one of her most quotable—and improvised, by the way—lines as Mrs. White in 1985’s Clue. The flick, based on the popular board game by Hasbro, was a total flop for Paramount Pictures at the time. But these days, nary a Halloween goes by where you don’t spot at least a couple of Kahn-heads donning sultry-strong exposed shoulders, a pearl choker, a blunt black bob, and, of course, a rope.
And now, while keeping Kahn top of mind, picture this, too: a brown corduroy, fur-lined jacket, worn-in jeans, a coffee cup, wispy strands, and a sepia-tinged outlook on life. That would be Harry Dean Stanton, in one of his final roles as Carl Rodd in Twin Peaks: The Return (2017). What do these two individuals have in common? Other than residing at the cross-section of many an eclectic sexual reawakening, together, they embody Ganser’s answer to the dreaded question, “what kind of music do you play?”
“Genres are boring,” says Alicia Gaines, the Chicago band’s purveyor of cavernous vocals and sludgy basslines. “I’d rather identify with a character.”
Her bandmates Charlie Landsman and Brian Cundiff are in total agreement. “I fucking love Harry Dean Stanton,” says Landsman, Ganser’s mustachioed guitarist, whose equal parts precise and tizzied plucking often sounds as if it’s cutting through to his insides. He turns to Cundiff, “And you like Crispin Glover a lot.”