"We are the American rock and roll band of the world, because we're for real," states Question Mark, with all the modesty of a true star.
A handful of Mexican American kids rocking out in Saginaw, Michigan, ? & the Mysterians was founded in 1962. "96 Tears," their sassy hit from '66, is an oldies staple, and they've been a mainstay on the garage-rock revival circuit since re-forming in 1997.
But now Question Mark lives in a trailer on a plot of land near Clio, Michigan. In early January, a fire destroyed his house, five of his beloved yorkies, a cockatoo, and more than 40 years of rock memorabilia. And since he had no insurance, the Mysterians have hit the road to help Question Mark rebuild his life. Still, the dude remains as mysterious as ever. During a rambling interview that lasted two and a half hours, he avoided revealing his pre-? name and background, but he told me his legal name is, indeed, "Question Mark," while his soul came from Mars.
A week after our interview, the band rocked Kalamazoo, Michigan. Question Mark sported orange frilly lace and shockingly tight pants, working the mic like a cross between Mick Jagger and Little Richard. By the end of the night, the crowd was chanting "Hall of Fame!" So look out, Cleveland, a storm is coming through.