? & the Mysterians

? & the Mysterians


'The Original Garage Rock Band'! These legends paved the way for countless other musicians, and whose influence on music history, with their hit "96 Tears", has been well documented.


"96 TEARS" placements:

'AMERICAN DREAMS' - NBC Television hit series Executive Produced by Dick Clark, produced by Dick Clark Productions and NBC Universal Television Studio; starring: Gail O'Grady, Tom Verica, Brittany Snow, Will Estes, Sarah Ramos, Ethan Dampf, Vanessa Lengies, Jonathan Adams, Arlene Escarpeta and Rachel Boston. (Season 3 - Episode 305; Airdate: October 24, 2004; NBC)

'STATESIDE' - based on a true story; starring Rachel Leigh Cook, Jonathan Tucker, Agnes Bruckner, Joe Mantegna, Carrie Fisher, Ed Begley Jr. and Val Kilmer. (Released May 21, 2004 - Samuel Goldwyn Films)

"garage rock legends"

"term 'PUNK ROCK' as a genre moniker was coined by writer/critic and former CREEM Magazine co-founder Dave Marsh upon witnessing a live ? & the Mysterians club gig"

"one of the first Latino rock groups to have a major hit"

It only took one song, the organ-driven number one smash "96 Tears," to make ? & the Mysterians into garage rock legends. Eccentric frontman Question Mark (actually spelled "?," once he had his name legally changed) cultivated an aura of mystery by never appearing in public without a pair of wraparound sunglasses; he frequently claimed he had been born on Mars and lived among the dinosaurs in a past life, and that voices from the future had revealed he would be performing "96 Tears" in the year 10,000. On a more earthly level, the Mysterians' sound helped lay down an important part of the garage rock blueprint, namely the low-budget sci-fi feel of the Farfisa and Vox organs (most assumed that "96 Tears" had featured the former, but ? later remembered using the latter). What was more, they were one of the first Latino rock groups to have a major hit, and ?'s sneering attitude made him one of the prime suspects in the evolution of garage rock into early punk.

The Mysterians were formed in 1962 by bassist Larry Borjas, his cousin, guitarist Bobby Balderrama, and drummer Robert Martinez; they soon added vocalist ? and organist Frank Rodriguez. By most accounts, [with the exception of ?] all the musicians were born in Texas, of Mexican descent, and grew up in Michigan in the Saginaw/Bay City area. Taking their name from a Japanese science fiction film, the band played its first gigs in the small Michigan town of Adrian in 1964, and soon moved its home base from Saginaw to Flint. Larry Borjas and Robert Martinez were both forced to leave the band for military duty, and were replaced by bassist Frank Lugo and drummer Eddie Serrato. Shortly afterward, ? wrote the lyrics to a song he called "Too Many Teardrops" and showed them to the rest of the band; the title was changed first to "69 Tears," and then the less suggestive "96 Tears." The song became a hit at the Mt. Holly ski lodge/dancehall, where the band played regularly, and in early 1966 they recorded it for the small local label Pa-Go-Go, owned by the band's manager. It became a regional hit in Flint and Detroit, attracting interest from several major record companies; ? decided to sign with the Philadelphia-based Cameo-Parkway, chiefly because their label was his favorite color, orange.

Now blessed with national distribution, "96 Tears" raced up the pop charts and went all the way to number one in the fall of 1966, becoming one of garage rock's all-time classics. Steve Huey (AMG-All Music Guide)

Listen to the song that started it all:

96 Tears

(click on the website link below; then click on the music player at lower right of page)



96 Tears (1966)
Cameo Parkway C 2004

Action (1967)
Cameo Parkway C 2006

96 Tears Forever: The Dallas Reunion Tapes '84 (1985)
ROIR Records

Questionmark & the Mysterians (1997)
Collectibles Records

Do You Feel It Baby? (1998)
Norton Records

More Action (1999)
Cavestomp Records


96 Tears/Midnight Hour (1965)
PaGoGo 102

96 Tears/Midnight Hour (1966)
Cameo Parkway 428

I Need Somebody/8 Teen (1966)
Cameo Parkway 441

Can't Get Enough Of You Baby/Smokes (1967)
Cameo Parkway 467

Girl (You Captivate Me)/Got To (1967)
Cameo Parkway 479

Do Something To Me/Love Me Baby (1967)
Cameo Parkway 496

Make You Mine/I Love You Baby (1968)
Capitol Records 2162

Hang In/Sha La La (1969)
Super K 102

Ain't It A Shame/Turn Around Baby (1969)
Tangerine Record Corp 989

Talk Is Cheap/She Goes To Church On Sunday (1972)
Chickory 410

Hot 'N' Groovy/Funky Lady (1973)
Luv 159

96 Tears/Can't Get Enough Of You Baby (1983)
ABKCO 4020

I Need Somebody/Girl (You Captivate Me) (1983)
ABKCO 4033

W. Kelly Milionis
Shoestring Entertainment Corporation
2612 Chapel Drive East
Saginaw, Michigan 48603
989-249-7625 (fax)

Bobby Balderrama

Set List

Set List can be provided, but varies performance by performance. Includes originals with a few covers, depending upon the show.