Strange But True

The Rank Strangers have terrific--if bizarre--chemistry, a trunkful of hooks, and a singer/songwriter who says he lives "in an Old Testament world." They may be the best local band you've never heard of.

"I get a kick out of that mailing list," says Dunlap, "although I've gotta say, I've spent some days puzzling over them cards and trying to figure out what they mean. My wife is like, 'Who's that weird friend who keeps sending those postcards?'"

Back at Sandy's, Mike Wisti is saying, "When you see Dog Day Afternoon and Pacino's going nuts, you know, that to me is rock & roll. Movies to me are like songs, and great songs are like movies. My personal favorite is 'Asbury Park.' It's got just a great, huge cinematic feel. It's not a very good song, but it's got such purity and innocence; it's like the sound of a guy who's just turned the valve on. Or 'Thunder Road,' that's a movie. 'Screen door slams, Mary's dress waves,' that's like a script direction, it's so clean.

"You know," he says later, "as I get older, and having somehow avoided being handed the brass ring, I don't believe in trends. I just keep doing what I do, hoping it's gonna come around to me, and if it doesn't, that's unfortunate, because there's nothing else I really want to do."

"I went out to play softball with Mike and some other guys one time," Billy Dankert remembers. "Mike's glove was laced with a guitar string. I just thought that was so perfect."

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