Funk group Here Come the Mummies takes Belly Up Aspen
IF YOU GO …
Who: Here Come the Mummies
Where: Belly Up Aspen
When: Monday, Jan. 8, 9 p.m.
How much: $25-$35
Tickets: Belly Up box office; http://www.bellyupaspen.com
George Clinton may be the elder statesman of funk, having played for nearly 50 years. But, to hear them tell it, the members of the eight-piece funk band Here Come the Mummies have been at it for a few thousand years longer.
The band, which headlines Belly Up tonight, performs in full mummy wraps and in mummy character under names like Eddie Mummy (on drums), Spazz Mummy (keyboards) and KW Tut (bass).
The bandmembers’ true identities remain secret. Speculation is that they’re actually Grammy-winning, Nashville-based studio musicians who are under contracts to labels that wouldn’t allow them to tour and record as Here Come the Mummies, so they keep their faces and voices disguised. But the band is sticking to the story that they’re thousands of years old and were cursed by a pharaoh “to wander the Earth in search of the ultimate riff, forever.”
Asked what we can expect out of the show, guitarist and lead vocalist Mummy Cass said, “Eight undead Egyptian mummies throwing down libidinous original fun, in a nonstop orgy of sound and light.”
Added baritone saxophone player Midnight Mummy: “The most fun you can have with your clothes on, possibly more fun than you sometimes have with your clothes off.”
The band doesn’t play novelty songs in the “Monster Mash” tradition, however. They play down and dirty, dance-centric funk.
“We think it is just baked into our personality as a band,” Mummy Cass said. “It’s that hint of rot at the center of something sweet, you dig?”
Despite the gimmicky surface, this is a serious funk band. Here Come the Mummies has earned acclaim for its unhinged live performances — sharing bills with the likes of Parliament Funkadelic and Mavis Staples — and recorded nine studio albums since 2002. Their most recent record is 2016’s “A Blessing and a Curse.” Their party-friendly sound honors the legacy of funk music while pushing it forward in wild, improvisational shows that could make you forget about the mummy suits.
“We’re all standing on the shoulders of giants, so we feel it is best to just follow creativity wherever it may take us,” Mummy Cass said. “Sometimes, it’s fun to look back. Sometimes forward. Or just to dig on the here and now.”
The band is unconcerned about the mummy wraps distracting from the music itself, or turning off music fans who might think themselves too cool for the costumed funk.
“It helps them project their wildest fantasies onto us, the unknown,” Mummy Cass said. “That’s the most fun you can have with your brain.”
The Mummies’ local debut, they promised, will be a night Aspen won’t soon forget.
“We won’t rest until your beautiful town collapses in a sweaty danced-out heap,” Midnight Mummy said.
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Painter Annie Decamp met the Denver-based artist Michael Dowling at a show a few years ago, and asked if he would mentor her.