Yesterday afternoon, I witnessed a man getting publicly fired from a record store. The owner yelled "Get out!" along with bickering from the guy that was getting fired and then the owner yelling back "I don’t care! You’re fired!" As far as record store humor/pathos goes (coincidentally, most of it’s happened at this one particular store), it was at the top of what I’ve seen.
Similarly, 15 years ago, I was living in Athens and practically living in the bins at the big record store downtown. One day, I walked in and saw an enormous stack of Mummies singles just sitting there in the new arrivals bin. Even in ’93, these records were as rare as hen’s teeth. I immediately went to the bank at the opposite end of the block, withdrew fifty bucks, came back and bought every Trash Rock ™ single they had. When I went to the cash register, Manfred from The Woggles (who worked there until ’97 or ’98) immediately huffed "Where did you find these!?" to which I nudged the new arrivals bin. He looked quite irritated and instantaneously jealous. Again, one of those hilarious record store moments. I walked out and was never to see that remaining incredible stash of records show up ever again. Thanks, Manfred.
What I later found out is that one of the main buyers at the store was lifting multiple copies of records the store was buying for his own personal inventory. This was in the late 80’s and early 90’s when Pre-BS, AmRep, Estrus and Sub Pop singles were lining the back wall of any half-respecting record store with collector’s prices on them. And here he was, stealing from the store. And not just stealing, but also being on the payroll while stealing. Fucking shitball.
So when the powers that be found him out, he was given two options both which left him humiliated, penniless and thrown out on to the curb. First option was to explain everything to the cops. The second option was to give his entire record collection to the store. He went with the second option. And seeing as how the record store wanted to recoup some of their lost revenue, they immediately started to put a tiny fraction of the stock out on the floor. It was in those nano-seconds that I got every Mummies single known to man.
The Mummies were a tongue-in-cheek band that reveled in their disinterest in fidelity, gear and talent. And what do they have to show for it? Only one of the most enviable discographies in all of rock (punk, garage or otherwise). All trash. All hooks. All brilliant. Oh, and Billy Childish liked them. That speaks volumes, yes?
Much like every other bay area band of the time, they never made it even remotely close to Georgia. The Mummies did play a lot though, but it wasn’t for the South to enjoy. In the mid-90’s, they broke up. Shortly thereafter, I was broke and sold all of my singles (along with much, much more) to buy my first computer. Fortunately, everything has been reissued on singles comps that perfectly explain why this is one of the best 90’s bands ever. Ever.
A few years ago, I remember the whole Die Slaughterhaus/Black Lips/Carbonas contingent created a Mummies cover band and performed at the old Lenny’s. This was before the Vice douchebag factor really changed the vibe of shows here in town, so it was blissfully incredible.
So now we flash ahead to 2008, and Jay Hinman reports that the Mummies played a low-profile show in California this past week in preparation for their "final" show in Spain this coming October. It’s mighty tempting, but what isn’t tempting when you can actually afford to fly to Spain, huh? And here’s an interview in Wired (??!!!) with Trent.
I’m including a bootleg 7" of Mummies Peel sessions from ’94 that many of you probably don’t have.
(post script: The store I mention at the beginning of this piece is NOT this one. Names are withheld to protect the innocent and tremendously stupid, though.)
The Mummies – The Fly (Peel Session ’94)
The Mummies – The Ballad of Iron Eyes Cody (Peel Session ’94)
The Mummies – Just One More Dance (Peel Session ’94)
The Mummies – Baba Diddy Baby (Peel Session ’94)
The Mummies – High Heel Sneakers (Peel Session ’94)
The Mummies – That’s Mighty Childish (Shitsville 7″)
The Mummies – Doin’ The Kirk (Shitsville 7″)