Thursday, December 6, 2012


Actually, it was the discussion of ? and the Mysterians that got this whole Garage Band Poll going in the first place. (I tried to reach Rudy Martinez ... who apparently ONLY goes by the name "Question Mark" these days ... for a few words and comments regarding their Top Five showing ... but never heard back. If any of our readers can let him know about our series ... and how well they fared in the countdown ... I'd appreciate it.)

Remember all the publicity Prince got when he changed his name to a symbol?  (And can you believe that was TWENTY YEARS AGO already?!?!?)  And everybody thought it was such an original and unique concept???  Au contraire, mes petits chouchous ... Rudy Martinez was using the "?" question mark symbol nearly thirty years earlier ... and went so far as to legally changing his name to "?" years later.  

"96 Tears" is, without question ... pun intended ... one of the stand-out tracks of the '60's ... it has SUCH a distinctive sound that, once you hear it, it never leaves you. It topped the charts in late 1966 and (despite the fact that, until recently, Cameo / Parkway material hasn't been commercially available for ages), has never really been off the radio.

The band had other chart hits, too ... "I Need Somebody" followed it into The Top 40, peaking at #15 later that same year ... and "Can't Get Enough Of You, Baby", while only reaching #47, became one of those huge, signature tunes when it was recorded by Smash Mouth thirty years later. (kk)

Perhaps the only group universally classified as a “garage band” to top the charts, Flint, Michigan’s ? & The Mysterians’ were led by Rudy Martinez, who also wrote their classic ‘96 Tears’. The organ-driven song has often times been credited with having the term “punk rock” — for the first time in print — applied to it (by critic Dave Marsh). ? & The Mysterians are often regarded as a “one-hit wonder”, but their follow-up song ‘I Need Somebody’ just missed making the Top 20.
Mike Dugo /

That "cheesy" Farfisa Organ became an integral part of the '60's sound ... and the intro to all of their hits immediately let the listener know that ? and the Mysterians were on the air!!! Great times ... great memories. (kk)

A recent film documentary by Terry Murphy declares ? and the Mysterians to be "The World's Greatest Garage Band" ... and they are, without QUESTION, right up there at the top ... but according to YOUR votes ... they OFFICIALLY come in at #4.

Martinez made headlines a few years back when his home was destroyed in a fire, destroying all of his precious memorabilia from the glory days.  Meanwhile, the band maintains a GREAT website, which you can view here:  
Click here: The Official Website Of ? and The Mysterians, 96 tears, and the Film 'Are You For Real?'    

We're getting closer and closer to YOUR choice as The Greatest Garage Band of All-Time ... stay tuned!