Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hot Mummies On Mummies Action!

I'm loathe to admit this, but I've been suffering a bout of 1990's nostalgia for, oh, the past decade or so. First it started with a Netflix run of all those indie-slacker films from the 90's starring Parker Posey and/or Eric Stoltz. Then it was buying skateboard decks on eBay from that period. And more recently, it was purchasing on vinyl all those old shoegaze, riot grrrl, garage rawk, and even some (uggh!) grunge albums that I once had on cassette.

Needless to say, it's pretty fuckin' sad. I'll never be in my late teens/early 20's again, so why waste the time looking back, right? Well, for starters, the 21st century is pretty dismal so far. Secondly, the 90's were pretty awesome. I won't go into it, but yeah; good times for a lot of things then.

One such 90's band I've recently rediscovered is the super lo-fi garage rawk ruckus of The Mummies. For those unfamiliar with this band (and it should be said that if you aren't, it sucks to be you), The Mummies were a four-ish piece band from the Bay Area who played ear-bleeding, organ-fueled garage punk akin to The Phantom Surfers, Supercharger and The Mighty Caesars. They recorded their "budget rock" records using the absolute shittiest equipment they could seemingly find, and wrapped themselves in bandages when performing on stage while insulted everyone in the crowd between songs. They didn't give a shit about getting famous, and only released their records on vinyl since they had a seething hatred of CDs (up until the turn-of-the-century, that is).

In other words, The Mummies were (and still are) fuckin' awesome!

Anyhoo, while updating my iTunes library (as per my OCD), I was going through some songs that didn't have names and album art, when I stumbled upon a couple of songs by The Mummies lacking both. I figured like Big Black, The Mummies probably wouldn't have any records or songs on iTunes (if the band hated CDs back in the day, they must absolutely despise the digital domain format, right?)

But here's where it gets hilarious. 

Clicking on the "ping" button, iTunes took me not to The Mummies (they aren't on there at all, by the way) but instead directly to a band called Here Come The Mummies. At first I thought I had stumbled upon some brand new Mummies records, or at least some sort of best-of recordings - since the dates for these albums placed them in the mid-Aughts. Pressing play on one of the songs, however, revealed these records not to be by The Mummies or yore, but rather a newer band that plays a sort of hyper-kinetic, funk-twinged novelty-rock (as one reviewer notes, Here Come The Mummies' funk-fueled antics are perfect for any fan of The Dave Mathews Band, Coldplay and U2 looking to "cut loose"). It was like looking into the alternate universe on that show Fringe; sorta similar, but different.

While both bands outfit themselves in bandages, head to toe, Here Come The Mummies and The Mummies are complete and total polar opposites. The Mummies DIY punk ethos dictated lo-fi production values, black and white album cover art and a sneering disdain for, well, almost everything ('cept food, 'cycles and girls, of course). Here Come The Mummies, on the other hand, are a fairly slick outfit, with high production values, photoshopped album covers and a party vibe Sammy Hagar's fans would appreciate. 

A boner-inducing 7" record by The Mummies.
Here Come The Mummies' Everlasting Party (note the clown in upper left-hand corner). 

Now I don't know, because I wasn't there, but something tells me that the members of Here Comes The Mummies had to know about The Mummies, since it appears that the former is remarkably similar to the latter. I mean, I could be wrong (and often times I am), but c'mon! "Mummies." Musicians dressed in bandages! This is just too much of a co-winky-dink, dont'cha think?

Sure, Here Comes The Mummies play horn-infused infused party funk (think Red Hot Chili Peppers meets Weird Al Yankovic), but I can't help but think that these "wacky" dudes totally ripped The Mummies off. Let's ponder it: one day back when, the members of the as-yet-to-be-named Here Come The Mummies are having a pow-wow, trying to come up with a hook for their band, when one of them comes tumbling in to the clubhouse with a Mummies record in hand and an alleged Grammy in the other. "Guys, check this out! Let's dress like these dudes and ape their schtick! They're totally obscure. Who'll ever know?"

"Okay," said the unidentified, alleged Grammy-winning lead singer. "But just to cover our asses, let's call ourselves Here Come The Mummies." Then they toasted with some Mike's Hard Lemonade or Miller Lite's or whatever and got to work on "wrapping" their funk energy and stage make-up around their new mummy theme.

Simply cut off the "Here Come" and *voilĂ !* instant The Mummies sticker!

Between these two groups, it's simply a matter of taste, like eating a burrito at La Taqueria versus one at a Chipotle. One is authentic, delicious and resides in a "colorful" part of town, while the other tastes like a funk band.

Ultimately, it comes down to this: The Mummies were punk rock-n-roll, through and through. They were dangerous, hilarious and fun to get shitfaced to. They didn't like you, but you still loved them (the way all dysfunctional relationships should be). Here Come The Mummies, on the other hand, are some sort of good time Charlies, whose funk-flavored shananigans go over well with the Starbucks, galleria mall and Erotic Ball set. One band had a converted ambulance they used as their tour van, while the other plays ocean cruises. One band is The Mummies, while the other most certainly is not.

Gimme budget rock, any day.

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