Even if you’ve heard of Here Come the Mummies, you don’t really know the band.
That’s because the funk-rock outfit comprised of a rotating cast of about a dozen musicians has a tightly wrapped secret — their identities are concealed under mummy costumes.
For the past 16 years — or, officially, about 5,000 years if you listen to the band age provided by singer/guitarist Mummy Cass(anova) — the group with names such as Eddie Mummy (the drummer), Spazzy Mummy (the keyboardist) and Will Pharaoh (the trumpet player) has brought its mellifluous stew of sound around the country.
Legend has it that Here Come the Mummies is a collection of Grammy-winning Nashville session players — which may very well be true considering their taut live performances. Mummy Cass conceded in a call earlier this week from Nashville (hint hint) that in between Mummies gigs, one of the guys in the band is a death metal musician.
Given the band’s visual presentation, some might assume that eardrum-bashing metal is their specialty, but instead they call upon influences such as Stevie Wonder, Prince and Earth, Wind & Fire.
“There are times we’ll see a puzzled look in the crowd and sometimes we see guys who come out and think it was going to be heavy, but for the most part, people are smiling and having a good time a few songs in,” Mummy Cass said, adding with a chuckle, “I haven’t seen anyone get upset and leave.”
Here Come the Mummies is playing — no surprise — Dragon Con this weekend for the second consecutive year. They’ll take the stage at the Hyatt Regency’s Centennial Ballroom at 11:59 p.m. Saturday (live performances are included with a Dragon Con badge), and if this year’s gathering follows the pattern of their 2015 performance, the band will hardly be the only costumed people in the room.
“Every place we play, people are pretty open-minded and curious, but it’s almost like they were ready for us,” Mummy Cass said. “They spent their time dressing up so they were willing to embrace it.”
The band returns to Atlanta on Sept. 8 with a show at City Winery, where it will also play — fittingly — on Halloween.
Last month, Here Come the Mummies released a new album, “Underground” (it’s technically their eighth studio album if you don’t count the four EPs they dropped in 2014), and its lead single, “Read My Lips,” is a saucy horn-infused jam with a few lyrical nods to “Three’s Company.”
The band went old-school — even by mummy standards — by recording at the Nashville outpost of the legendary Ocean Way Recording studio instead of its own studio (dubbed “The Crypt”). All of the members played in the same room at the same time — a novelty in the Pro Tools era — and recorded on analog tape.
Mummy Cass said the band relished the experience.
“All these years on the road with mostly the same guys … we still like each other, which is an accomplishment in itself,” he said.
Here Come the Mummies, which has never played a cover song in any of its shows, will probably add about four songs from the new record into its live set.
While the band is still courting larger audiences and plans to continue to expand its mummy fan base, when the day comes to ditch their shards of linen cloth and call it a career, Mummy Cass doesn’t think the members’ true identities will be unmasked.
“Probably when it’s over, it will be done and everyone will be smiling and happy and we’ll just move on to the next thing.”
Here Come the Mummies
11:59 p.m. Saturday at Hyatt Regency’s Centennial Ballroom (admission included for Dragon Con attendees), 265 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta; 8 p.m. Sept. 8 ($22-$35) and 8 p.m. Oct. 31 at City Winery ($25 general admission standing, $40 VIP), 650 North Ave., Atlanta. www.dragoncon.org; www.citywinery.com.