Last night was supposed to be this straightforward hangin’-out-at-the-club sort of night; I’d heard that a couple of fellas from Bay Area garage punk bands of the early 90s were going to knocking around a few goodtimey rock-n-roll tunes, and it was an opportunity to get over to Oakland and stay out late for a change. Little did I know that “garage punk legends” THE MUMMIES were going to be playing their first show (at Oakland’s Stork Club) since they broke up in ’93 or ’94, as a super-secret-surprise prelude to a money-grubbing European tour in a couple weeks. Honestly, it was just happenstance that I made it out there; partial penance for all the times I got a phone call the day after some event saying, “dude, you won’t believe what you missed last night”.
So THE MUMMIES were a band that I probably saw at least a dozen if not more times circa 1989-93. Their shit-fi, organ-drenched, heavy-bash approach to 60s garage was just what I was looking for at the time, and though it’s hard to call them innovative in any way, shape or form, they sort of “led the way” into hundreds of like-minded bands who played sloppy but ultra-panicked SONICS-styled rock. Even though they dressed up in filthy mummy outfits, I still had a blast at their shows, and the records were pretty hot as well. I haven’t given them too many thoughts since then, my contention being that of the local bands of that ilk, SUPERCHARGER are the ones that have aged the best, and the Mummies were perhaps buried in the legacy of lame-ass bands who claimed them as the One True Band. But I still got a goofy grin on my face when they hit the stage. Thankfully it was sans costumes this time; they rightly deduced that fortysomethings jumping around in Halloween outfits would, uh, “stain the brand” a bit.
Guitarist Larry told me before the show that they hadn’t even practiced since the early 90s, so it was nothing short of amazing to hear the band on total fire like they’d not missed a practice session since the Clinton years. THE MUMMIES played a bunch of material from their 45s, their one official LP, and of course Sonics and Larry & The Blue Notes covers, among others. The kids, many of whom got the word in time due to frantic text messaging all over the Bay Area, went nuts. Some paunches, bald spots and décolletage were present among those reliving their wild and drunken youth (like me), but the Mummies fellas themselves all looked fit as a friggin’ fiddle. They’ll be wound up and driving Europeans crazy in a few weeks, and hey, who needs practice, right?
Postscript - looks like it's just a single show in Spain, that's it. More details here.