Beyond their inspired low-budget visual gimmickry — they drove around in an old hearse and perform wrapped head to toe in gauze bandages — San Francisco’s Mummies played lo-fi garage rock with a convincingly reckless spirit and a frantic R&B edge.
Pretty much summing up everything you need to know about the Mummies, Never Been Caught (whose wonderfully trashy cover art depicts the stylishly draped men cavorting in a variety of activities) fields seventeen tunes, divided between in-yer-face originals by mastermind Trent Ruane and well-chosen vintage covers. English kindred spirit Billy Childish was so taken with the foursome that he released Fuck CDs, It’s the Mummies — similar to, though shorter than, Never Been Caught — on his Hangman imprint.
The Mummies Play Their Own Records compiles the band’s non-album singles up to that point, adding four new tracks. Party at Steve’s House — ostensibly recorded live in the titular domicile — takes a somewhat more jollier frat-rockish direction, with the emphasis on slyly moronic originals (“Don Gallucci’s Balls” is a tribute to the Kingsmen member and Stooges producer) whose formal mastery is so complete that they might as well be covers. The sleeve art includes photos of two band members swinging from nooses.
In keeping with the band’s staunchly anti-digital stance, all of the Mummies’ official releases were vinyl-only, helping to ensure their obscurity outside of the indie and garage-rock underground. Nevertheless, some enterprising (if underhanded) soul released an unauthorized CD — packaged with a rubber-stamped plain white sleeve — which consists largely of sub-par tracks recorded (with ex-Raunch Hand Mike Mariconda, himself the subject of a song on Never Been Caught, producing) for an unissued album on Crypt.