The Mummies have done a lot of things. They’ve thrown keyboards around onstage. They’ve kept their lo-fi punk sound and B-horror-movie look alive for decades. And they did not let their 1992 breakup stop them from occasionally reuniting to headline festivals in Europe.
But there are a few things they haven’t done—played Reno, for one.
“It’s not been easy to book them,” said promoter Pete Menchetti. “I’ve been trying for 10 years. After I saw them at a show in Sardinia, I was talking to Trent, their singer. And he said, ’We used to go to Bizarre Guitar all the time in Reno to buy instruments. … We got so many great vintage instruments, you know, like our organs, and our box guitar and stuff, we got them all at Bizarre Guitar.’ I said, ’That’s crazy, because my mom’s house is over off of Oddie Boulevard, where Bizarre Guitar is, and I used to go to the arcade next door to play video games. I must have bumped into you guys at some point.’”
Menchetti’s not 100 percent sure that was the clincher, but, in any case, The Mummies are headlining his upcoming Debauch-A-Reno festival, scheduled to mark the 25th anniversary of his company, Sticker Guy.
Menchetti, who grew up in Reno, started Sticker Guy in 1993 and, soon after, a subsidiary record label, 702 Records, that later became Slovenly Recordings. He was an activist who organized events such as Critical Mass and joined the effort to try to save the historical Mapes Hotel in downtown Reno, which was demolished in 2000.
Eventually, Reno and the U.S. started to seem like they weren’t the right environments for him to organize in.
“When I saw the Mapes go down, and I realized that maybe really half the city was in favor of that, I thought maybe this city was not for me” he said.
He moved to Naples, Italy, where he had family ties, and opened a bar.
“I saw a massive potential for the music scene [in Naples], for rock ’n’ roll. People are so full of energy and enthusiastic. It’s a much bigger city, and it’s an amazing city. … I felt that my efforts would be more fruitful there because there’s just more people there and more enthusiasm.”
“I moved around Europe, moved to Amsterdam and then to Spain, and then back to Amsterdam, and I’ve just been all over the place since then,” he said. “I’ve got itchy feet; I love to travel. … But what the USA has me coming back for—besides, of course, my family and business and my friends—is music. A lot of the best bands on the planet are from the United States. They’re the ones headlining the biggest festivals in Europe.”
Menchetti runs Sticker Guy and Slovenly from the road.
“I’m in constant contact with my employees here,” he said. “My employees, most of them have been with me for five years and up. The longest-running employee, David Bruce, has been there for 15 years.”
He also organizes events such as the We’re Loud Fest, which has brought Slovenly artists to Greece, Italy, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
Even though he finally gets to host The Mummies in Reno soon, Menchetti stressed that the Debauch-A-Reno is “not just a Mummies show.” There’s also two-day lineup of bands like Reno’s Alphabet Cult, the Spits from Seattle, and Gutara Kyo, who’s never played outside of Japan.