Macabre costumes equal instant publicity in the world of showbiz. Without them, Alice Cooper would be less shocking and Marilyn Manson much less peculiar. But stunning the audience isn't always the goal. For Nashville's Here Come the Mummies, dressing up is a way to downplay fame and, perhaps, record-label contracts.
The funk band's live act consists of nine musicians, including some Grammy winners, but they never reveal their names or faces. Instead, they wrap them in monikers and mummy garb, respectively. I recently asked percussionist and vocalist Java Mummy what it's like to party crypt-style.
What's the hardest thing about being a mummy and a musician?
I posit that it is easier being a musician when you are a mummy because we are so sexy and our libido so strong that the inspiration runs higher than for most human musicians.
Vampires only come out at night. Is the same true for mummies?
We in the HCTM camp come out anytime there is a song to be played or a sexy lady to be wowed.
Do you ever let groupies unwrap you after the show?
Of course, though they must go through a rigorous testing process. Only the physically fit are permitted to attend a mummy romp.
Do you play a lot of stuff by dead guys?
We only play original material, for we have too many creative mummies to take the time to play outside songs.
How is mummy funk different from, say, James Brown-style funk?
Well, we tend to genre hop a bit. Anything that makes you move is fair game: soul, funk, Latin, pop. What I will say about our funk is that it is always built on a strong and catchy song. We rarely just repeat a riff indefinitely.
How do a bunch of funky mummies celebrate the post-Halloween holidays?
We enjoy it like most folks: We spend it with our harem in our spa, enjoying endless feasts and camel rides.
Is there anything else you'd like to tell your fans in Madison?
Get ready. You are going to see nine mummies laying down two hours of thumping grooves, syncopated horns lines, fantastic harmonies and crazy antics. You will sweat.