Interview: Here Come the Mummies

A Mummy group hug.

Although extensive literature exists regarding the nature of werewolves, vampires and (due to an explosion of popularity in recent years) zombies, the legend of the mummy remains a bit unclear. This veritable dearth of information regarding the best way to escape and eradicate this monster may be due to the fact that mummies, unlike their generally verbose ghoulish counterparts, do not speak.

However verbally reticent, mummies do manage to make some rockin' music. One mummy-based band has made a living at it: Nashville's Here Come the Mummies, who have brought their bandage-wrapped funk to stages across the nation since 2000, performing funk and R&B before massive, gyrating crowds. Here Come the Mummies will perform twice this week at The Vogue; Friday is a sell-out, but tickets for their Thursday night show remain available.

Although much mystery surrounds Here Come the Mummies, the most pressing (and most likely to remain unanswered) question involves the identities of the band members themselves. Rumor has it that this spooky collective is made of several Grammy-winning performers under contract to different record labels.

To legally protect their funky fun, members of Here Come the Mummies have taken on monster identities. Sounding not a little unlike the Seven Dwarfs, mummies Java, Cass, Oozie, Spaz, Eddie, K.W. Tut, Bucking Blanco, Midnight, Rah, Ramses, Teste Verde, Flu, and The Pole have all crafted individual bios, giving their fans all the gory details about their undead life. Much mythology surrounds these particular mummies; they claim to have rocked Egypt 5000 years ago, to have been unearthed in the '20s, and to be cursed eternally to walk the Earth in search of the ultimate riff.

Now the band is preparing to launch a whole different kind of outing: they will be cruising to Cozumel, Mexico from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., during the last week of January 2012. Here Come the Mummies will be the house band (ship band?) for a whole boat full of groovin' fans, for whom they promise to perform every single one of their songs while on board.

Although Here Come the Mummies perform year round, one can expect a little something extra at their shows this Halloween weekend. The band has encouraged fans to don their best mummy costumes and join in a Best Dressed Mummy Halloween contest.

Here Come the Mummies are admittedly a little sensitive about their name-only relation to '90s punk band The Mummies (see our question below). The Mummies, a garage punk band from San Mateo, Calif., also performed in tattered mummy costumes. And, while officially broken up, The Mummies occasionally re-unite for a ghoulish (and much more lo-fi) experience.

Most recently, Here Come the Mummies stopped by Indianapolis to play at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. They also played to great acclaim on The Bob and Tom Show, once in 2009 and again in 2010. Currently, Here Come the Mummies are touring for their fifth studio album.

Vocalist and percussionist Java Mummy recently answered some rapid-fire questions from NUVO, refusing to take any seriously.

NUVO: How'd you come with the idea of concealing your identities by dressing as mummies?

Java: We ain't dudes in suits, baby. We are mummies living large from a curse over three thousand years ago. Dig? We is what we is, sugar.

NUVO: Does dressing up as a mummy — with your face concealed — allow you to give a less self-conscious performance? Or say things that you wouldn't otherwise say?

Java: Being undead is what gives one license to be incessantly naughty.

NUVO: What funk bands do you admire? Do you hope to launch a trend of undead-themed music?Â

Java: There is all kinds of great bands out there to dig upon [including] Earth, Wind, Fire, Stevie Wonder, Billy Preston and Marvin Gaye. You get the idea. We are cool with other undead types, though it seems to be fairly rare to be both undead and funky.

NUVO: How are Halloween shows different than performances during different times of years? What's the average mummy fan like?

Java: Our show is the same all year through. Most of our fans just want to have a good time, like to sweat, and are sexy.

NUVO: What's your favorite mummy movie?

Java: Bubba Ho-Tep. [Editor's note: Bubba Ho-Tep stars Bruce Campbell as an elderly Elvis Presley, rooming with an undead JFK at his nursing home. The unlikely pair take on an ancient Egyptian mummy dressed in cowboy garb.]

NUVO: Are you concerned that your music won't be taken seriously because you're wearing mummy costumes?

Java: Not one bit. We have no intention for you to take us seriously; we don't even take ourselves seriously. This is not art, it is a good time.

NUVO: What are Bob and Tom really like?

Java: Besides having wicked senses of humor, and being super nice, they are exceptionally well hung, sexy droids. For real.

NUVO: Has anyone ever approached you saying that you ought to listen to this great band, The Mummies?

Java: If you mean The Mummies, the "Original Kings of Budget Rock" from the 1990s, then no. When that band is brought up to us, it is usual followed by a string of insults from some uptight kid. It is a shame, because we are fans of theirs. If you are referring to us as The Mummies, then I should slap your dog's ass, for that is not our name.

NUVO: Do you ever feast on the flesh of the living?

Java: We certainly munch on living flesh, though only in the sexual way. We are not zombies, just ribald, wrapped, undead dudes.

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