Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Question Mark's house burns - Loss of dogs leaves rock singer in tears
THE FLINT JOURNAL FIRST EDITION ^ | Saturday, January 13, 2007 | By Doug Pullen

Posted on 01/15/2007 12:23:48 PM PST by weegee

Question Mark's house burns

Loss of dogs leaves rock singer in tears

VIENNA TOWNSHIP

VIENNA TWP. - A pioneer of garage rock lost more than four decades' worth of memorabilia from his colorful career this week when his house was destroyed by fire.

Question Mark - who scored a No. 1 hit in 1966 with "96 Tears" - lost everything from recordings to stage outfits.

"I lost everything. All my tapes, pictures. I'm going through the rubble right now," he said by phone Friday.

But the worst was the loss of his four Yorkies.

"They're gone," said the singer, his voice breaking.

Firefighters were called to the cinderblock home on Bondy Drive off Neff Road near Tuscola Road around midnight Wednesday after fire apparently broke out in a bedroom.

The house was completely engulfed when fire crews arrived and a backhoe had to be brought in to tear down the block walls to get at the fire.

Question Mark picked through the rubble of his home Friday in hopes of finding the remains of his Yorkies so he can bury them. He also lost a pet cockatoo in the fire.

"Q," as he's known to friends and associates, was able to save three other dogs. "Two of the survivors were going blind," he said, adding that a door fell on him at some time during the confusion. "So I grabbed them and threw them out the door."

The singer said he was doing laundry in the basement when he thought he "smelled something burning." He went upstairs to check and was hit with a wall of smoke when he opened his bedroom door.

"There was black smoke coming out of there. It was coming in heavy, so I called 911," he said as he fought back tears. "That's when I grabbed three of the dogs. I had to do something."

He's not nearly as upset about the career mementos that went up in flames, including a cherished bag he used to carry equipment and other necessities to his shows. He'd had the bag for more than 40 years.

He did not have insurance on the home, which he shared with longtime manager Luverne Thompson and his wife, Joy. They are currently living in a nearby building on the property, using a mobile home for kitchen and bathroom facilities.

There is nothing suspicious about the fire and the cause will likely remain undetermined, said Clio Area Fire Battalion Chief Kerry Paulson.

Q hopes to rebuild, but isn't sure how he'll pay for it. He doesn't make a lot from royalties, and doesn't perform very often.

"The house can be rebuilt. I've got more than 30 years of tapes, oh my God, maybe 5,000 tapes (in there). I found a lot of them. Some are scorched. I'll probably put them on eBay," he said. "I've got to make some money some way."

Question Mark is one of rock's most unusual characters. Believed to be the son of migrant farm workers, rumor has it he changed his name from Rudy Martinez to the question mark symbol, and created a mythology, thus the band's name, the Mysterians.

The group, originally from the Saginaw-Bay City area, rose to fame in the mid-1960s with "96 Tears," considered one of the most important so-called "garage-rock" songs of the rock 'n' roll era, and one of the first rock hits by a Hispanic group.

The song has been recorded by dozens of artists, including Aretha Franklin. Other hits, including "Can't Get Enough of You Baby," have been remade by the likes of SmashMouth. The group was the subject of a major hits anthology in 2005.

Q's more colorful claims include having been born on Mars and living on Earth since the time of the dinosaurs.

Big on symbolism, the singer finds it interesting that he was able to salvage some key items, including his slightly scorched Bible.

"I knew it would survive," he said. "But finding tapes with 'Time Is On My Side' on them, that says that maybe no matter how things go, time is on my side."

Journal staff writer Bryn Mickle contributed to this report.


TOPICS: Music/Entertainment
KEYWORDS: 96tears; questionmark; rockandroll

1 posted on 01/15/2007 12:23:51 PM PST by weegee
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: weegee

"Big on symbolism, the singer finds it interesting that he was able to salvage some key items, including his slightly scorched Bible."

Something to think about ... .

1Tim.6:6

[7] For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

Matt.6:19

[19] Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:


2 posted on 01/15/2007 12:29:01 PM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God) .)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 537cant be wrong; Aeronaut; bassmaner; Bella_Bru; Big Guy and Rusty 99; Brian Allen; cgk; ...
Rock and Roll PING! email Weegee to get on/off this list (or grab it yourself to PING the rest)


3 posted on 01/15/2007 12:29:13 PM PST by weegee (A higher minimum wage means a higher income tax level. Did they really get a raise in the end?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: weegee

I'm drawing a big ?, for I don't know who this rocker "?" is.


4 posted on 01/15/2007 12:33:26 PM PST by Lucky9teen (You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Lucky9teen
Question Mark and the Mysterians...
5 posted on 01/15/2007 12:34:56 PM PST by xsmommy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Lucky9teen

96 Tears was the biggest hit.

His albums have been out of circulation for decades because his label (Cameo) has sat on them. In recent years there have been a couple live albums and finally a best of. But the original two have only appeared on bootleg reproductions.

His biggest hit is a staple of many oldies stations.


6 posted on 01/15/2007 12:35:54 PM PST by weegee (A higher minimum wage means a higher income tax level. Did they really get a raise in the end?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: weegee

"Big on symbolism, the singer finds it interesting that he was able to salvage some key items, including his slightly scorched Bible."

+* +* +*
Just over the weekend someone on another thread commented that Bibles have been found not burned mixed in with the debris from fires. Interesting.

Sorry to hear of this. I know someone, a relative by marriage, who has a garage full of Beatles memorabilia collected for several decades; would be a big loss if something happened to it.

But even worse, this, for "?" since it was his own stuff. Too bad they didn't have fire insurance.


7 posted on 01/15/2007 12:37:36 PM PST by JockoManning (http://www.klove.com - - > listen online)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: weegee
96 Tears was the biggest hit.

Oh, so that's who he is. Sad thing about the puppies though.

8 posted on 01/15/2007 12:40:13 PM PST by mtbopfuyn (I think the border is kind of an artificial barrier - San Antonio councilwoman Patti Radle)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Lucky9teen

96 Tears was a big hit, and as stated prior, pretty popular for oldies stations/shows. Acutally, I don't know if this is a 1-hit wonder because I don't recall anything else he did.

It used an organ as the principle instrument.


9 posted on 01/15/2007 12:44:06 PM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: the OlLine Rebel
It used an organ as the principle instrument.

The band's #1 fan:


10 posted on 01/15/2007 12:52:51 PM PST by JRios1968 (Tagline wanted...inquire within)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: the OlLine Rebel

"one hit" just because moldy oldies radio has such a limited playlist.

As mentioned in the article, Smashmouth covered his hit "Can't Get Enough Of You Baby" in the 1990s (or early 2000s).

There were other singles, I don't always know which was the hit side.


11 posted on 01/15/2007 12:53:14 PM PST by weegee (A higher minimum wage means a higher income tax level. Did they really get a raise in the end?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: HairOfTheDog

Sad dog ping. :-(


12 posted on 01/15/2007 1:13:21 PM PST by jmc813 (Please check out www.marrow.org and consider becoming a donor. You may save a life.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: weegee

Wow, Question Mark of Question Mark and the Mysterians! I didn't know he was still alive. "96 Tears" takes me all the way back to when I was in 7th grade.

Sorry for his loss, too.


13 posted on 01/15/2007 1:40:28 PM PST by Theresawithanh (Well, lah-tee-freaking-dah!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: weegee; uglybiker; Allegra; Watery Tart


¿Que?

14 posted on 01/15/2007 2:18:54 PM PST by sully777 (You have flies in your eyes--Catch-22)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: weegee

96 tears?


15 posted on 01/15/2007 7:41:39 PM PST by Big Guy and Rusty 99 (proud sponsor of the "helmets for democrats" foundation)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: sully777
¿Que?

Are you from Barcelona, too?

16 posted on 01/16/2007 1:30:16 AM PST by Watery Tart (This, Basil's wife. This, Basil. This, smack on head.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: weegee

Good post Weegee. Q is a good guy, I met him a few years ago in Detroit. It's a shame. Hopefully there will be some good benefit shows and he will be able to rebuild his house.


17 posted on 01/16/2007 6:02:58 PM PST by t_skoz ("let me be who I am - let me kick out the jams!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: the OlLine Rebel
When "96 Tears" first came out, some radio station started the rumor that "Question Mark and the Mysterians" were actually the Rolling Stones. In fact, the vocals on "96 Tears" sounds a lot like Mick Jagger and are even sung in the Jagger style.

Back in those days, we didn't have the Internet to immediately debunk stuff like that so the rumor spread like wildfire and took several years to finally dispel them.

18 posted on 01/16/2007 6:10:27 PM PST by SamAdams76 (I'm 65 days from outliving Steve Irwin)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: SamAdams76

I never thought at all that he sounds like Jagger. The pitch is higher and whinier.


19 posted on 01/17/2007 6:51:29 AM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: JRios1968

Oh yikes.


20 posted on 01/17/2007 6:52:15 AM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: weegee

If that stupid top40DB still put in top chart positions, I'd challenge you on that. But they don't any more.

But there is a tendency of some of those stations (we have none in Balto any more) to play 1 hit alot, even of groups that had many. And sometimes, it depends on the trends.

Cases in point:

Righteous Bros - Yes, all their hits were played, but by far the 1 that was preferred was "You Lost that Lovin' Feeling". That is, until "GHOST" came along and then even the oldies stations were primarily playing their "Unchained Melody" from then on.

Roy Orbison - Again, his hits were all played, but the most popular to play was his 1st real hit "Only the Lonely". Then "PRETTY WOMAN", the movie, came out and again, even the oldies stations switched to playing mostly "Pretty Woman", his last real hit (of the '60s).


21 posted on 01/17/2007 6:56:58 AM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: the OlLine Rebel

A hit doesn't mean "#1". Roy Head was #2 on the R&B AND Pop chart for something like 7 weeks. The Beatles beat him out with Yesterday (and I don't know what finally replaced that) and I don't know who had the R&B #1. But it was still a hit and covered by a number of other artists, including James Brown.

If you hit in the Hot 100, you had a hit.

Link Wray is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a "One Hit Wonder" even though he had a number of charting singles. Pete Townsend picked up a guitar because of that "hit". Bob Dylan still calls it the best instrumental cut ever.


22 posted on 01/18/2007 10:23:04 AM PST by weegee (The Left is worried that '24' will have the same effect as LBJ's 'Daisy' mushroom ad.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson