Here Come The Mummies return to Chattanooga on September 6 at Track 29. Tickets, which are still available, are expected to sell out soon. Their last appearance was a sell out on December 31st, last year.
I have known the boys in bandages for a number of years and have been lucky enough to be granted a couple different interviews with them. Despite our close relationship, I only get mumbles and grunts from the band when we converse. For instance, after their record-breaking Riverbend performance in 2012, I congratulated Eddie Mummy on breaking the all-time attendance record for the Bud Light Stage. His answer?– “Urrrghh”. (Actually, after a few years of getting to know them, I was able to interpret that as, “Thank-you for booking us; you are the greatest guy ever, Bob Payne.”)
In my latest conversation with the one mummy that can speak, Java Mummy, we delve in to their newest hit CD – Cryptic. We also dive into a bit of what makes these guys in gauze tick.
Q. I have read all the reviews for the new “Cryptic’ CD and they are all glowing. I agree. I did find a bit more variety in the music, with old school funk, some great R & B, and even a little island reggae sound. It seemed to me that several of the songs “featured” some individual highlights of the various music instruments, such a killer guitar riffs, keyboards, drums, percussion, and of course those famous horns. Was there a specific effort to showcase the individual musical talents of the group?
A. There was no such design; we simply thought it would be cool to cover many of the genres to which we enjoy listening. Our main problem during the making of Cryptic was choosing the songs to cull: there were so many great tracks vying for a slot.
Q. Your newest CD – “Cryptic” – seems to perfectly blend some Mummy funk with old school R & B. As always, the lyrics are “radio ready”, but still have the double entendre thing going on that have been on so many HCTM songs. How in the world do you guys think this stuff up?
A. Bobby, you know we are mummified 12 year olds. Nothing makes us laugh more than glorified penis jokes, and when we work, we like to laugh.
Q. The harmonies on all your records are great. Cryptic is the best to date, in my opinion. How many different voices do we hear on Cryptic?
A. You sure know how to make a girl blush, Bob. There were five of us singing: Cass, Eddie, KW Tut, Spaz and myself.
Q. Why is it that you guys only mumble and grunt when spoken to, yet can sing so beautifully? Help me, as I am conflicted on this. I have known several of you for many years, and all I have ever heard any of you say is some unintelligible grunts. It’s confusing to a person born in the 20th century.
A. We understand. It is weird for us too. The reason is all a part of the curse, which lead to our mummy-dom. We can only talk while playing music.
Q. Just as a test a couple of years ago, I had a friend that is a Professor of Ancient Languages at a major university write out a message in 3,000 year old hieroglyphs that only a handful of people on Earth could possibly read. The message, written in a very rare script, was as follows – “Outside are 20 beautiful women awaiting your presence.” When I presented the Hieroglyph to the band inside their tour bus, all but a couple sprinted to the door and ran outside, mumbling and carrying on like they were crazy. Those that ran outside were obviously looking for the women and could read this cryptic message that my professor friend had prepared. A couple of Mummies just stared at the message and mumbled. My question is: are these guys illiterate to the language of their time, or are there possibly gay mummies?
A. All the above. There are so many of us, there are mummies covering nearly every spectrum.
Q. Almost everyone believes that some of you are studio type musicians that have recorded on some of music’s finest songs, even garnering Grammy awards and such. My question is: Do the other musicians present think it is strange that a mummy would be sitting in the studio with them on a recording session and how do they handle the Mummy funk from those old bandages?
A. Normally, they keep us separate due to the stench.
Q. Do you sleep in a Sarcophagus? (Actually, I suppose it is Sarcophagi, or is it Sarcophaguses?)
A. Yes, and we travel in a Sarcophabus.
Q. Over the years, I have heard many bands that record well, but really deliver a poor live performance. Obviously, they have the advantage of using studio musicians for the “perfect” sound, as well as a ton of engineering. When it comes to performing the songs live, however, they just can’t get the job done. HCTM is the exception to the rule – your live performances are darn near perfection. People and fans want to know – how much do you practice?
A. As a band, rarely, but we do have the advantage of playing together for several millennia.
Q. What is in store for Here Come The Mummies fans, after Cryptic? Will we see the return of the trombone in live performances?
A. I wish we had room in said Sarcophabus for another mummy, because Boy Algea is bored of playing Dig Dug in the Crypt basement. Perhaps we will try to get him out for our live DVD shoot show October 4th in Nashville.
Q. You have done hundreds of interviews. Sometimes, they all sound alike, with the same old tired questions. I try to make mine a bit different. Who is the best interviewer ever? (Go ahead, say it – you know you want to.)
A. You know there is only one you, Bobby!
As you can see, interviewing Here Come The Mummies is a tricky proposition, as their answers are often somewhat cryptic in their own right. What isn’t questionable is the musical talent of this band. I get out to see about 100-150 live performances per year, and I have to say they are the most talented live band out there today. If you are smart, get your tickets in advance for $20, as the tickets are $5 more at the door and they will probably not have any available. For tickets, I’ll be your friend and make it easy on you. Just click here - http://track29.co/tickets?Page=http://public.ticketbiscuit.com/Track29/Ticketing/172425.
For local music info, try www.chattanoogaentertainers.com or www.chattanooganightscope.com. They both have great local music info and schedules. For local info on Country music, try Jim Boles’ site www.chattacountry.ning.com.
Email Bob Payne at email@example.com or catch him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/davrik2000.
- Photo2 by Mummy Larry