Admit it. You’ve always been just a little bit curious what sort of music long-dead ancient Egyptian mummies might enjoy. After all, it’s got to get awfully boring inside those sarcophagi, so it begs the question: What might the brethren of King Tut rock out to? Better yet, what music might they make among today’s varied sonic soundscape?
“Terrifying funk from beyond the grave,” according to the official biography of Here Come the Mummies, an allegedly 5,000-plus year old funk outfit currently in the midst of a national tour supporting their latest full-length, Carnal Carnival (which just dropped on Tuesday on, what else, Sphinxter Records). The tour includes a ghoulish pre-Halloween date on Saturday at Rancho Mirage’s Agua Caliente, quite appropriately in the middle of the desert. So does that mean this is a homecoming of sorts for the gauze-wrapped gurus?
“Totally, baby. I miss the dry heat, though we may take a pass on sleeping in the sand and the camel rides,” says an anonymous Mummy in an e-mail interview with the Weekly (our request for a telephone interview was politely declined, as “You see, us mummies do not talk unless we are playing music.”)
This sense of anonymity is obviously part of the allure of Here Come the Mummies, a fact that makes it near impossible not to draw parallels with another band of mystery men just as elusive: The Residents. While Here Come the Mummies may not be as prolific as The Residents have been (despite having several thousand years’ worth of a head start), rumors swirl that beneath those bandages might be a few Grammy Award-winning musicians.
So how exactly does a funky band of mummies come together, anyway?
“We were a nomadic band of musicians close to 5,000 years ago, when we chased the wrong girls,” says the anonymous Mummy (anonymummy?).
“Actually, the girls were just right, but their father did not take to us well. Times have not changed. He could have had us run out of town, but he cursed us for all eternity instead. I think we won in the long run, for we are still chasing daughters five millennia later.”
If there’s anything these undead undulators enjoy, it’s chasing the ladies. Chalk it up to centuries upon centuries of pent-up mojo if you will, but when a band describes the overall themes of their work as “booty,” “need more booty” and “look at that booty,” it says something about their priorities.
“All our songs deal with love and the amorous adventures we all enjoy,” says the Mummy of Carnal Carnival, a disc he says is named as such because “it is a short way of saying The Circus of Carnal Pleasure.” As for why the band gravitated towards funk more than any other genre, the answer is short and sweet.
“Have you ever seen many chicks dancing at a jazz show?”
While some may associate morbidities like mummies with tales of the macabre, it’s apparent that the often nine-piece ensemble doesn’t take itself too deathly serious (our Mummy listed the band’s influences as The Three Stooges, Don Knotts and Scarlett Johansson, so make of that what you will.).
That being said, however, the quality of the Mummies’ musicianship is nothing to joke about; the band is tight as a drum, and their live show is something that must be seen to be believed. Slip-ups rarely, if ever, happen, and while they claim the band’s biggest live disaster was the fall of Pompeii, they can’t conceivably be blamed for that. But once again, at the risk of beating a (un)dead horse, they’ve had eons of practice. They’ve seen trends come and go, some good, some . . . well, not so much.
“The best [thing to happen to music over the last 5,000 years] is definitely a tie between the electric bass, for there has never been a funkier instrument, and Stevie Wonder. The worst is most new country, and its business of cookie cutting.”
If you were planning on resting up for Halloween itself on Sunday, adjust your sleep schedule accordingly; Here Come the Mummies live and in person (well, maybe not that first part) is as good of a Halloween spooktacular as you’re likely to find. So put your dancin‘ shoes on and party like it’s 1999 B.C., especially if you’re a lady, as your presence clearly ranks above every potential highlight of a 5,000 year-long career.
“Every time women show up and dance, it’s a highlight to us.”
Amen, Mummy dearest.
Here Come the Mummies at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32-250 Bob Hope Dr., Rancho Mirage, (888) 999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com. Sat, Oct. 30. 8PM. Tickets $20-$30.