- Here Come the Mummies is an 8-piece funk-rock band of 5,000-year-old Egyptian mummies with a one-track mind.
- Nashville’s Here Come the Mummies is a fun-rock band composed of professional musicians (some rumored to be Grammy winners) who are believed to be under contract to various record labels and so keep “under wraps” so as to prevent contract disputes.
Even in the days before Branson became BRANSON, it was still a throwback C&W playground — albeit circumstances were a lot smaller and the hillbilly shtick troweled on a lot thicker. Back then, Boxcar Willie was a Branson mainstay, and when he needed a band he would reach out to nearby Springfield and tap the Skeletons to back him up. As Skeletons’ guitarist D. Clinton Thompson tells it, although the group had already been called the “best bar band in America” by Rolling Stone, this did not impress Willie.
“Boys, you gotta have a gimmick,” he declared as he passed out black T-shirts silkscreened with the appropriate osteology (bones to you uninitiated).
Stay with me: There’s a reason for this seeming digression.
Here Come the Mummies is a crack eight-piece funk band from Nashville that for more than a decade has successfully teased out its particular “gimmick” — a riotous performance concept featuring anonymous players in mummy gauze; “horrifying” onstage antics and skits, and lots of bad puns. The band members quite literally keep their identities under wraps, all while transforming infectious funk grooves into a show-stopping festival act that can hold its own onstage with giants like P-Funk and Al Green.
That skilled studio musicians would band together to make their own music is not without precedent: think of Memphis’ Dixie Flyers, L.A.’s Wrecking Crew or Motown’s Funk Brothers. That the band would go to great lengths to remain anonymous, while specializing in so publicly taking over the stage and rocking the house — well, that’s certainly novel. The musicians, some rumored to be Grammy winners, are thought to be under contract to various record labels and so keep “under wraps” to prevent contract disputes.
As the Mummies prepare to perform in Columbia for the third time on June 4, I reached across the ages to interview band member Eddie Mummy about the perils and problems presented by making music as 5,000-year-old corpses.
YOU TOUR ALL OVER THE SOUTHEAST MIDWEST. SINCE MANY OF YOU ARE STUDIO PLAYERS, HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU SPEND TOURING AND RECORDING AS HCTM?
We don’t have a particular formula for this, but we do devote a lot of our time and energy to music — writing it, recording it, performing it, using it to mop up spills, and/or as a translucent bathroom window treatment, etcetera. Being a truly independent band, outdoor festivals are a wonderful way for us to reach new fans. Then we can pack a club or theater on our next visit. We just came within a hair’s breadth of selling out The Blue Note. Next time!
YOUR MUSICAL CREDENTIALS AND INFLUENCES ARE CLEAR, BUT I AM WONDERING WHERE THE COSTUMING AND STAGECRAFT COME FROM.
Baby, with regards to our rags, they have been mingling with our decrepit flesh for centuries. Believe us, these mothers are seriously “baked-in.” You can’t order the broccoli cheese casserole and “hold the cheese.” You dig? We are just being our decrepit, molding, dusty selves. As to stagecraft, it is just part of the basic job description. This has been true since ancient times.
HAVE ANY HCTM MEMBERS QUIT THEIR DAY JOBS YET?
This is our day job … and our night school, come to think of it.
WHAT IS THE PLAYLIST FOR THE TOUR BUS LATELY?
We are on about Prince, Billy Preston, Ray Charles, P-Funk, Allen Toussaint, Ella Fitzgerald, Louie Prima, Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Sly and the Family Stone, ELO, Oscar Peterson, Otis Redding, Bill Withers, The Commodores, EWF …
We are just hoping to engage people every which way we can, and to blow your socks off at our shows, baby.
Here Come The Mummies’ June 4 Summerfest appearance will be the group’s third show in Columbia, but it is the first free show, so plan to bring the kids as the band promises there will be enough dance-funk and onstage antics to entertain young and old alike.
Summerfest shows start early and always seem to strike the proper balance between boisterous block party and slightly out-of-hand family reunion. It is one of Columbia’s only festival events to straddle and unite the north and south parts of our city.