Monday, February 8, 2010

Garage Podge dept.

Sometimes by the sheer grace of all that's not right in this world, something amazing happens and nobody seems to notice. That seems to be the case with The Mummies, a California band that somehow flew under the radar of all that is right with rock and roll.

While the radio stations became more corporate in the '80s and MTV was carving it's ugly niche in rock and roll history, these boys from San Mateo were taking the local scene by storm, playing gigs up and down the coast. The venues ranged from sullied bars with names like Tina and Linda's and Al's Bar to regular gigs at pizza parlors. They were even known to take the stage at open mike sessions. Dressed in tattered cloth... They were the Mummies afterall... This band had a knack for bringing the garage to each of their shows. They might epitomize what the garage sound is... I was shocked when I discovered that the Mummies were indeed from the '80s and not of the pre-punk era of the early '70s.

My first impression of listening to The Mummies Death By Unga Bunga!! was a mix of euphoric delight and cautious trepidation. I was at work and surrounded by people whose taste in music was vastly different from mine. I could hear the savage beats of the drums and the side-splitting guitar riffs and the screeching howl of the vocals and the Lee Dorman-like bass... But it just wasn't loud enough.. And being at work in that situation, I knew that I would have to wait to turn it up. Luckily I didn't have to wait long. As soon as I got home I opened it up to full volume and gave my ears the smashmouth beating that my brain had been craving up to that point. From the first song on the CD (or as in this case my Ipod to which I loaded the CD as a suggestion from my pal Driver 13...), Introduction To The Mummies to the final and 22nd track on the CD, a secret mystery song titled ???, I was finally in the state of euphoria without the trepidation.

And I was literally pissed off at myself for not having heard this band earlier. I mean seriously. Where the fuck had I been?

This band had several aspects that made it aesthetically pleasing. They skirted the mainstream by playing low budget venues and spent most of their time on tour wagging their middle finger at not just the corporate music world, but also at everything else that made up the '80s... Plastic, glamor and glitz. They were a long ways away from the material world that other bands were singing about in that era.

They defamed themselves further by using archaic and often-wrecked equipment which actually led to that "bringing the garage with them" sound that is so electrically appeasing. Instead of traveling in a padded bus with all the frills, they chose instead to tour within the (dis)comforts of a white 1963 Pontiac ambulance, with THE MUMMIES painted drearily on each side. In the spirit of being "low budget" they only released their music on true vinyl until 2003, when after a 9 year break up the band reunited with the release of  Death By Unga Bunga!! in the CD format.

The band soon broke up again, this time seemingly for good and lied dormant until October '08. Then... As in most cases with mummies, they came back from the dead once again to play a show in Spain, of all places. That led to just a few more shows in the states in the summer and fall of '09... Which leads us to the here and now.

Will the curse of The Mummies bring us a new CD release?... Another tour?... Only by the sheer grace of all that is right in this world.