The Mummies were an American garage punk band from San Bruno, California, formed in late 1988 by Maz Kattuah (bass guitar) and Larry Winther (lead guitar). The band’s original lineup also included Trent Ruane (organ, saxophone) and Russell Quan (drums). The group became a key musical force in the emerging San Francisco garage punk scene alongside the Phantom Surfers and the Untamed Youth, distinguishing themselves as being more crude than their contemporaries. Jokingly adopting the moniker “The Mummies,” they quickly became known for their style of dress, wrapping themselves in tattered bandage strips and rags like actual mummies. This homemade choice of attire was influential on the local garage punk scene, with newer groups also dressing in similarly gimmicky clothing.
Exhibiting a defiantly raw and lo-fi sound, dubbed “budget rock“, the Mummies’ rebellious attitude and distinctive performance costumes exerted a major influence on garage punk and garage rock revival acts later in the decade, as well as in the 1990s. Their recorded output was intentionally completed with poor, cheap equipment, including their first and only studio album Never Been Caught, which was released after the group’s initial break-up.
The band was influenced by R&B and 1960s garage rock bands such as the Sonics and the Fabulous Wailers. They created their own unique lo-fi sound, however, according to promoter and musician Jorge “Real Boss Hoss” Ojeda:
“[The Mummies] created the ‘budget rock’ sound. They recorded their own records on cheap, damaged gear and self-released them.”
Starting with their debut at the Chi Chi Club in February 1989, the band was committed to a “do it yourself” approach, optimized by their cheap, vintage gear and Farfisa organ, a characteristic instrument of 1960s garage.
“We recorded nearly everything we did on a rack-mount cassette 4-track,” explained Ruane.
Keeping with their total disdain for modern technology, the Mummies refused to publish their music on compact disc, and often brandished their vinyl covers with the slogan, “Fuck CDs”.
Several singles followed in the early 1990s on different record labels, most notably Estrus Records, which also distributed a compilation album of the Mummies’ singles, The Mummies Play Their Own Records!, in 1992. In 1991 the Mummies recorded an album’s worth of material for Crypt Records; however, the band felt the results of the recording sessions did not appropriately capture their lo-fi sound, and discarded the material. Nonetheless, the songs were later featured on the bootleg album Fuck the Mummies, and the band re-recorded the material. They disbanded in January 1992, shortly before their first and only studio album, Never Been Caught, was released.
The Mummies – Shitsville (1990)
Regal Select Records [RS-01013]
The Mummies – Never Been Caught (1992)
1 Your Ass (Is Next In Line) 00:00
2 Stronger Than Dirt 02:26
3 Little Miss Tee-N-T 04:40
4 Come On Up 07:00
5 Sooprize Package For Mr. Mineo 09:13
6 Rosie 11:08
7 Shot Down 13:58
8 The Ballad Of Iron Eyes Cody 15:58
9 Skinny Minnie 18:14
10 She Lied 20:25
11 The Red Cobra #9 22:25
12 The Frisko Freeze 24:42
13 Justine 26:03
14 Mariconda’s A Friend Of Mine 28:02
15 The Thing From Venus 30:12
16 Shut Yer Mouth 32:14
17 Jezebel 34:14