June 21, 2014


Chapter I: 

Sex….I know what everyone’s thinking but
its NOT what you’re thinking….
SEX, I mean the romance of what it was in
the 60’s, when we only had one partner-AM Radio.
She was emotional, sensitive and had a
whole lot of attitude!  What made the
relationship so very loving was the mysterious voice coming from the other side
of the radio, the disc jockey, the DJ.
When he started spinning those vinyl 45’s,
we became engaged in wild ecstasy with every sound emitted, whether in the car
or from a tiny transistor radio. 
Emotions in the back seat or on the beach.  All these feelings bouncing off our brains
from artists like Bill Haley and the Comets, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis,
Elvis…Pat Boone, that glass of white milk without the Oreos…the Drifters,
Coasters, Marvelettes, Chuck Berry and countless artists swirling through the
airwaves, from that day in 1955 when Bill Haley told us to “Rock Around the
Then there was the folk music revival of
the early 60’s—Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie had influenced and romanced us
with message music…Dylan, Peter Paul and Mary, Joan Baez and the bluesy
traditional folk of Odetta were being creeping into the AM play lists particularly
in areas where college students were searching the dial.  It was passionate and full of attitude.
Suddenly, a tsunami flooded the airwaves
from coast to coast originating in England – it was called Beatles and the
British Invasion. It stormed throughout America’s radio stations, breaking down
the floodgates and nearly washing away our OWN sounds…but not quite… for in
1966, a different super storm, forming within our own land, moving east and
fueled by the power of Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” and overtaking the
west riding on “Where the Action Is” …
The sounds of this wave breaking onto the
land was named “? and the Mysterians”.  
It drowned The Beatles and the other chart creatures but receded too
quickly, yet still gained the attention and romance of the AM crowd.  Those who remember and survived the great
“?  and the Mysterians” storm of 1966
still talk of it decades later in 2014 – of the ROMANCE of the rock and roll,
the dj’s and the listeners and how it all came together on AM radio.


All of the sudden around 1968,  from way out west in San Francisco came the
loud piercing noise of guitars, drums and and screaming vocals.  Because of what was happening on the west
coast, DRUGS  and not the romance of life
became the influence and the sound of the ROCK ‘N ROLL  was drowned out by the noisy sounds.  FM radio began to eat away at the AM
stations—slap on a big vinyl album and just let it play.  The intimate relationship between the
listeners—the lovers of the ROCK ‘N ROLL– and the DJ went silent.  I don’t know what kind of Kool Aid they were
drinking, but the musicians couldn’t seem to stop playing—they got lost and
couldn’t find the end of the songs. 
They tried to find names that made them as
alluring as “ ? and the Mysterians” – Jimi Hendrix Experience, Big Brother and
the Holding Company, the Grateful Dead, Electric Prunes and thought it opened
Doors.  Pot and acid wrote the rambling
compositions and the dancers stopped dancing. 
Everyone was lying around on quaaludes in their t’shirts proclaiming
“Have a Nice Trip”.   The 45’s were gone
and the band played on and on and on.
In raging protest came the punks – Suicide,
Iggy Pop, MC5, Patti Smith, DEVO, the Ramones—now called protopunk – the
prototype for punk?  There was a lot of jumping
around and up and down but the art of dance was lost to the speed, cocaine and
heroin.  There was no romance in punk.
Then something REALLY bad happened in
1977—it was called disco.  Fueled by
mountains of  white powder, but at least
there was dancing involved.  A little
piece of the British Invasion tsunami called 
a BeeGee showed its face—apparently having sustained an injury to the
personal anatomy in the earlier melee that changed the voice to falsetto.  Then others were afflicted with the same. 
The punks were still jumping up and down,
moshing in their pits but some of them were cross dressers and covered in
glitter like the New York Dolls and Poison. 
It was a drug induced semi-comatose sound of frustration.  A real band attempted to emerge from the fray
called The Ramones, but then punk AND Nancy were murdered by this bunch called
Sid Vicious and the Sex Pistols.  They
cussed and they swore and couldn’t get enough heroin and speed in this
era…punched holes in every part of themselves they could…and we thought
Disco was ugly…. 
Another wave– the New Wave—Elvis Costello,
and the ladies….Pat Benetar, Joan Jett, Blondie, Go-Gos.   
Following them was a slow moving snail of a
storm that started on the West Coast– Pearl Jam with Eddie Vedder diving
headlong into the crowds —leading into a pool of the most depressing time in
the history of American music—junkie grunge—too drugged to think, let alone
dance…Kurt Cobain and the Hole he fell into… ROCK ‘N ROLL  committed suicide…
And when we thought there were no drugs
left that could do music in any further, crack cocaine burned in a haze
accompanied by hip hop and rap—no real band, no real melody—yell it, talk it,
smoke a rock on it. 
The romance of ROCK ‘N ROLL  had now become an orgy of individual
parties.  Radio stations had diversified
and overdosed by slow suicide,  parading
pubescent teens like InSync and Backstreet Boys in front of half clad jail baitt
girls like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera with their ringmaster Lou
Perlman raking in the dough.  The drug of
choice—big money and the machine….
Just when there was hope for music to enter
rehab, the worst came out– Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, One
Direction… It has no direction, it has no romance.  There is no emotion, no sensitivity and the
only attitude is BAD…


Somehow, out of the AM radio in 1955,
through a lot of great and not so great decades of sex, drugs and some kind of
sound, thrown together like the monster Frankenstein, some ROCK ‘N ROLL
Nobody could expect that one band could
make their way through all this and come out the other side without
compromising themselves to the drugs or their music to the noises. In 1962, one
band started on a journey and met the challenge of survival.  They were, and still are, ? and the
Mysterians—still the original members, nobody in rehab, nobody addicted to
anything but their love for the ROCK N’ ROLL
Through every generation, every genre,
every label, we just kept playing our own stuff our own way, never getting
sucked into the vortex—WE ARE THE TEMPLATE FOR ROCK ‘N ROLL!
Meanwhile, visit the petition to get  ? and the Mysterians inducted into the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame  at
http://www.ipetitions.com search
keyword “Mysterians”

Article made by Question Mark & Susie Martin/2014

© Copyright
One Comment
  1. Susie Martin

    I'm just Question Mark's glorified typist and editor--he does all the deep thinking...I just write it all down as it comes to him cuz I type faster <3

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