You'd have to search pretty hard for a more incredible rock & roll act than ? & The Mysterians. Formed in 1962 in Saginaw, Michigan, the Mexican-American teens named themselves after a late night TV sci-fi flick The Mysterians. They scored a #1 hit with 96 Tears in the sultry summer of '66, released a couple of amazing LPs and 45s and then vaporized from show biz and seemingly the planet. In 1997 "the voices from the future" called the boys back into action and The Mysterians dutifully heeded that call.
Beating the dreaded "oldies curse," the re-energized Mysterians delivered their Vox-driven rock & soul stage show to stunned audiences coast to coast. Bedecked in matching orange shirts emblazoned with large black question marks, the original band members laid it on thick with their soulful Michigan (by way of Texas, by way of Mars) rock & roll beat. Frontman Question Mark's boundless energy and sheer unearthly talent went uncontested as he rocked the Mysterians into the new millennium.
Coincidentally, three of the best live shows I've ever seen are Mysterians shows. First up was their NYC comeback at Coney Island High (recorded for the Can You Feel It? LP) where they scorched the place to the ground (musically speaking). Second was a few months later at Central Park Summerstage where Q appeared to have dropped out of the sky and turned a jaded daytime New York audience on it's collective ear. Third show was at Lakeside Lounge where they electrified the telephone booth-sized room as well as entertaining the passersby outside the window on Avenue B.
Question Mark's stats are simple: He hails from Mars, celebrates his birthday on the 13th of every month, his favorite color is orange (rumor has it a new favorite color is in the works) and he hates peanut butter. He's also one of the friendliest, funniest and coolest lead singer superstars working the circuit these days.
Last week Q's house (which also was home to his manager and his manager's wife) caught fire and he lost all of his possessions along with some of his beloved animals. Without any insurance, they're living in a trailer until better circumstances can be worked out. Benefit concerts are being arranged and info for helping out Question Mark can be found here.
Question Mark is no stranger to FMU and has appeared several times on these airwaves. Check out this clip of an unfinished Mysterians documentary. Click on the trailer for a cameo by the Black Hole of Rock & Roll.
The Mysterians had lots of cool songs but their original of 96 Tears was, is and will always be the greatest song in the world. (mp3)
96 Tears gets the Big Maybelle treatment over here. (mp3)
The Music Explosion take a cool stab at it here. (mp3)
Modern Lovers give it an angst-ridden, yet spirited rendition here but end up sounding like a roomful of retarded monkeys. (mp3)
Here's a swell Roctober article on ? & The Mysterians.
Here's a wild clip of ? & The Mysterians lip-synching on Where The Action Is. (You Tube)