On November 3, 2008 I began creating Retro:Kimmer. I wanted to feature a playlist of my favorite songs from the 60's. The very first song I added to my Retro playlist was 96 Tears.
Zooming forward for a minute.. In 1989 2 of my friends and I went camping near Grand Haven, MI. From the moment we got there it poured rain. Being in a tent during endless down pours was depressing. We ventured into town and found a little bar there and partied there until the bar closed.
While at this bar we met the Mysterians. We hung out with them all night. The drummer I think told me about Question Mark and told many fun stories about their adventures after 96 Tears went to number 1. He told me that Question Mark really has a ? on his driver's license. We thought that was totally cool.
Question Mark and the Mysterians were an American garage/rock band formed in Bay City, Michigan, in 1962. Light years ahead of their time, they influenced millions of young rock bands to come.
Their number 1 hit was "96 Tears," recorded in 1966 would go on to sell over one million copies and receive a BMI award for over three million airplays. Rudy Martinez, the lead singer, legally changed his name to Question Mark (?). Question Mark and the Mysterians was perhaps the first band to be described as punk rock, and also may be the first Latino rock group to have a general audience hit record in the United States.
The group named itself after the 1957 Japanese science fiction film The Mysterians, in which aliens from the destroyed planet Mysteroid arrive to conquer Earth.
Question Mark’s excentric behavior helped to briefly establish the group in the national consciousness. He claimed (and still claims) to be a Martian who lived with dinosaurs in a past life, and he never appears in public without sunglasses.
On January 10, 2007, a fire destroyed the home of Question Mark on his farm in Clio, Michigan, taking all of his priceless memorabilia and also taking the lives of his beloved breeding dogs (Yorkies). Benefit shows have been held around the country with Question Mark performing at some of these events.
The Mysterians (without Question Mark) still play live around Michigan and are now playing events around the country. Ironically, the fire has caused a wave of renewed interest in Question Mark.
A documentary film about them is slowly being assembled by longtime friend and photographer Terry Murphy, who runs the official website for Question Mark and the Mysterians .
The working title for the film is Are You For Real. It will include footage from their forty years in the music business—from 1966 to the 1997 reformation and up to the present.