Wednesday, September 13, 2006
? and the Mysterians --(A Forgotten band)--
Saginaw, Michigan, 1962... an out-of-work bass player sits at home, watching a three year old Japanese sci-fi movie on television. It's about invaders who try to take over Earth after their own planet has been destroyed. The title of the movie is "The Mysterians". And thus a band was born in the mind of Larry Borjas.
Bobby Balderrama, and a drummer, Robert Marinez. Together they started playing at teen clubs around central Michigan. Eventually, they added a fourth member, organist Franklin Rodriguez. One night, while appearing at the Mount Holly Ski Lodge, the band was approached by a stranger who said he wanted to become their manager. They agreed and later found out that he could sing so well that they made him their lead vocalist
It was said that not even the members of the band new his real name or anything about his past. He never removed his sun-glasses and was known only by the pseudonym, "?" (Question Mark). He even tried to give the other members a secret initial such as Y, X and other letters. The boys were grateful, but decided to keep their own names.
When the Vietnam war escalated, bassist Larry Borjas was drafted and drummer Robert Marinez enlisted. They were replaced by Frank Lugo and Eddie Serrato. Soon after, Question Mark revealed that he had written a poem, entitled "Too Many Teardrops". He invited the group to set his words to music and they did so. Eddie, however wasn't happy with the title and suggested they call it "69 Tears".
"We can't use that" said another band member. "If we call it that, it will never get played on the radio." Another suggested that they turn the numbers around and call it "96 Tears". All the Mysterians thought that was a good idea.
November 1999, ? & the Mysterians released their first studio album in 33 years. All the original members returned for the recording of "More Action", a double CD that features new material like the raw, rockin' "It's Not Easy" and "I'll Be Back," alongside cover tracks of Bobby Darin's "Beachcomber" and the Stones' "Satisfaction." The band also rehashes "96 Tears" and includes a Spanish version of the track - a natural, considering the band's Mexican heritage. On "More Action", ? & the Mysterians don't miss a beat, integrating the signature organ treble of "96 Tears" into each track. Collectors will covet the inclusion of "Are You for Real?" and "I'll Be Back," the band's first studio recordings ever. This CD could easily be mistaken for a '60s-era follow-up to the 96 Tears album, though it fits in easily with the work of current garage revivalists.
In 2003, the band toured the United States and recorded enough new, original material for a new album, set to be released in 2004.
? and the Mysterians are truly one of the greatest 'garage bands' in rock and roll history.