When it comes to alter-egos, the folks who make up Here Come The Mummies, a funk rock group performing at Neighborhood Theatre, have it all down pat. They perform dressed as mummies onstage — the costumed visuals akin to groups like Gwar and Mac Sabbath. The band also uses discretion towards revealing their real life identities. Hence, this interview's weirdness.
Since the band's start in 2000, members have come and gone without their true identities being unraveled. Why is it all kept "under wraps"? The band's website states that it's due to possible record label contract disputes. Most of the musicians also perform in other bands. Creative Loafing snagged an interview with Here Come The Mummies' Mummy Cass and Midnight, who talked music, muses and mummy mishaps as their undead alter egos.
Creative Loafing: Who has been in the band the longest, and are you surprised by the longevity of this music project?
Mummy Cass: We are all ancient, so certain details get lost in the mist, y'know? But we were a band of mortal men before the Pharaoh cursed us. Now we wonder the earth in search of the perfect riff. Then we are supposed to finally be able to rest our souls!
Midnight: I don't really wanna rest my soul. I'm kinda diggin' the 21st century.
Mummy Cass: He has a point.
How do you describe the band's sound?
Mummy Cass: It's funk and rock and soul and a dash of other styles to keep it interesting, like that little bit of rot you taste in a perfect strawberry.
Are there other bands that have influenced the band's sound and style?
Mummy Cass: The biggest influences on our sound would be closer to Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, Parliament, Sly and the Family Stone, The Isleys, and lots of others. But the thing is, when you imitate others, it still comes out sounding different, like your own thing.
What's the hardest thing about performing in mummy gear?
Mummy Cass: Well, our dusty, decrepit, rotten limbs sometimes won't cooperate. And we've been wrapped up tight for aeons. These rags have "baked in" over the centuries, and we'd be hard pressed to say where they end and semi-preserved flesh begins.
Midnight: That, and the better portion of our brains were removed through our noses back in the day. Good thing we all started off above average. Well, everyone except Spaz.
Have you ever had anything crazy happen or has anything ever gone wrong while your were onstage in your mummy gear?
Mummy Cass: I lost 7/8 of my tongue while playing guitar with my teeth (good thing I started off above average). High E-string sheered it right off. A little, fleshy, pulsating gift to the second row.
Best reason to perform as a mummy?
Mummy Cass: One thing remains the same no matter how much time may pass. Chicks dig music. And Mummies. That's three things.
Did you guys have a specific inspiration for this project?
Mummy Cass: We've got nothing but inspiration. We've been doing this so long, you think we'd be bored by now, but because we are all overgrown kids inside, we find inspiration all around us, all the time. We breath the stuff.
The new album is Underground. Thematically, how did you find inspiration for the album?
Mummy Cass: That's right, Underground came out August 1st, and we are really proud of it, but we already have a new, new album, A Blessing and a Curse and it came out awesome, too. See what we mean? Inspiration finds us.
How many people are currently in the band and what stage names do they go by? What instruments do they play?
Mummy Cass: Usually, there are eight of us, and there are a few auxiliary mums for when somebody loses a finger and has to hand stitch it back on, or when K.W. TuT simply cannot be roused from the catacombs after a tiring motorcycle journey. Most nights you'll see Eddie Mummy on drums, Spaz on keys, myself on guitar and lead vocals, TuT or The Pole on bass, Ra on tenor, The Flu on alto, and Midnight on percussion, keys, talk box, and Bari. It is a big sound, big sound.
Are there any new techniques or instruments that you've added to the set?
Mummy Cass: Midnight's talk box is probably the most fun new sound. And his hat, lovingly hand-made by our faithful sound man Jonee Quest, is the best new accessory.
Have you guys played Charlotte before? Any fond memories?
Mummy Cass: Yes, and we love it. The Neighborhood Theatre has been great! Thanks for helping us get the word out that Charlotte needs to come get its booster injection of Original Undead Funk!