|? and the Mysterians|
Years: 1962 - 1969; 1984; 1997 - present
Styles: Blues Rock, Garage Rock, Power Pop, Proto punk, Psychedelic Rock
Larry Borjas - Guitar (in band: 1962 - 1966)
Robert Martinez - Drums (in band: 1962 - 1966; 1984; 1997 - present)
Bobby Balderrama - Guitar (in band: 1962 - 1969; 1984; 1997 - present)
? - Vocals (in band: 1964 - present)
Frankie Rodriguez - Hammond organ, Keyboards (in band: 1965 - 1969; 1984; 1997 - present)
Eddie Serrato - Drums (in band: 1965 - 1970)
Frank Lugo - Bass Guitar (in band: 1966 - 1968; 1984; 1997 - present)
Frank Montoya - Guitar (in band: 1968)
Mel Schacher - Bass Guitar (in band: 1968 - 1969)
? and the Mysterians (also rendered Question Mark and the Mysterians) are an American garage rock band from Bay City and Saginaw in Michigan, who were initially active between 1962 and 1969. Much of the band's music consisted of electric organ-driven instrumentals, and an enigmatic image inspired by the science fiction film "The Mysterians".
In addition, the band's sound was also marked by raw-resonating lead vocals of "?" (Question Mark), making Question Mark and the Mysterians one of the earliest groups whose musical style is described as punk rock. Through their music, the group was recognized as a template for similar musical acts to follow.
The band was signed to Pa-Go-Go Records in 1966, and released its first, and most acclaimed single, "96 Tears", in the early part of the year. "96 Tears" became a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and propelled the group to a 15-month period of national prominence.
Their debut album, "96 Tears" followed. Though Question Mark and the Mysterians were unable to replicate their success with their later recordings, and are mistakenly deemed a "one-hit wonder", they did manage to reach the singles charts on five different occasions.
In 1968, their label, Cameo-Parkway, was shut down for stock manipulation by the Securities Exchange Commission, taking the band's money and contract with them. Question Mark and the Mysterians' second album, "Action", featured the band at the peak of its musicianship, but the album was not a commercial success. The band then briefly recorded with Capitol Records, Tangerine Records and Super K. The band lineup changed as the original members left for other projects. Mel Schacher, future bass player for Grand Funk Railroad, briefly became the bass guitarist along with Frank Montoya on guitar and Jeff McDonald on drums until Richard Schultz took over on bass and co-wrote numerous songs with Rudy Martinez; including "She Goes to Church on Sunday", which was licensed to Paul McCartney's publishing company.
After their disbandment in 1969, the band has regrouped and released additional material over the years.
In the early 1970s, Question Mark and the Mysterians reformed with a different lineup consisting of two guitars and no keyboards. The band attracted the attention of rock critic Dave Marsh, who coined the term "punk rock" in a 1971 Creem Magazine article about Rudy Martinez.
In 1984, the original lineup of Question Mark and the Mysterians held a reunion concert in Dallas, Texas. Original drummer Robert Martinez returned and replaced Eddie Serrato on drums after Serrato became ill with multiple sclerosis. The Dallas concert did not lead to a full revival for the band, but the concert was recorded and released by the New York record label ROIR, "96 Tears Forever: The Dallas ReUnion Tapes".
In 1997, Question Mark and the Mysterians reformed again. They collaborated with New York promoter Jon Weiss, who made the band headliners at his CaveStomp garage rock festivals. The festivals featured many revived 60's garage andpsychedelic acts. The newly revitalized band quickly established themselves as one of Weiss' strongest acts and toured a number of mid-sized concert venues.
In 1998, Frank Rodriguez joined the band on keyboards and Question Mark and the Mysterians released a new live album, "Do You Feel It Baby?", on Norton Records and achieved moderate sales. In 1999, the band released a new studio album, "More Action", produced and recorded by Jon Weiss in New York City, with the album design by Michael Calleia at Industrial Strength Design. Coinciding with the album release, Question Mark dissolved his business relationship with Weiss, allegedly due to dissatisfaction with the record and other business issues. At this point, Question Mark and the Mysterians went on hiatus from performing.
On January 10, 2007, a fire destroyed Question Mark's house on his farm in Michigan, destroying all of his memorabilia and killing the Yorkshire Terrier dogs that he bred as his business. To help Question Mark, his friends held several benefit shows for him, with Question Mark and the Mysterians performing at some of these events.
The Mysterians, without Rudy Martinez, still play shows in Michigan and around the country and you can also watch all ? and the Mysterians videos and more, from Bobby Balderrama's website,www.talkmusicusa.com. Bobby hosts a animation talk show called "Talk Music USA" about Music, interviews with musicians and anything to do with Music. A documentary film about the band is slowly being assembled by longtime friend and photographer Terry Murphy, who runs the official Question Mark and the Mysterians website. The working title for Murphy's film is "Are You For Real?".
On February 24, 2011, former Mysterians drummer Eddie Serrato died from a heart attack at age 65.
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