A lot of people think ? and the Mysterians were one-hit wonders.
The Flint, Mich., rockers actually were two-hit wonders, with their landmark chart-topper of 1996, "96 Tears," followed by a No. 22 hit, "I Need Somebody," the same year.
The group led by the mysterious man with a punctuation mark for a name split up in 1968, faded into the footnotes of rock annals, then re-emerged in 1996 with a reunion tour.
? and the Mysterians will make one of its rare concert appearances in Toledo Saturday in a "Super '60s Spectacular" at the Stranahan Theater, along with such classic bands as the Buckinghams, the Cryan' Shames, Sonny Geraci and the Outsiders, the Shadows of Knight, and the Rivieras.
In a recent hour-long phone interview from his home in Flint, ? lived up to his name.
Speaking in an enthusiastic but level tone of voice - and apparently utterly sincere - ? covered ground that few Earthlings have ever tread.
●What's his real name?. "That's really my name. I never had it changed," ? said flatly. (Note: Rudy Martinez holds songwriting credits for "96 Tears" and "I Need Somebody.")
The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll states that the singer was born in Mexico in 1945, but ? has a different explanation.
"My soul originated on Mars - that's what we call it. It doesn't have a name, but we call it Mars," ? explained.
●It is his destiny to be an entertainer.
"I was there before rock and roll started. I've always been onstage all my life. I've been born in many lifetimes. I've always been a famous person in other lifetimes. I'll always continue doing this. This time I'm leaving signs for more people to acknowledge 50 years from now, 100 years from now, 150 years from now. ...We don't live forever, but the soul does travel in time. A lot of people don't believe in reincarnation, but if there's a word, there's a reason for it to exist."
●The United States will not always be a world power.
"I know already what the future's going to be like. America in 5,000 years is going to be what Pakistan is now. I said in Spain in 1999 that we could lose the English language."
How does he get his information?
"If you know more about me, I'm in contact with the People of the Future. They communicate with me telepathically."
He said he has been in communication with them ever since he was a boy, but he didn't know who they were back then. "I thought it was God speaking to me. At that point in time I didn't know what telepathic thoughts were. I said, 'Um hmmm, um hmm.' They introduced themselves to me in 1997."
In the interview, ? offered many other offbeat revelations, including the fact that there was a period of time in the late 1990s when wildebeests were on the television every time he turned it on. The People of the Future warned him about 9/11 and Columbine three days before the events, but not with the specific times or places. Even if they had, he said, would anybody have believed him?
Filmmaker Terry Murphy is working on a documentary about ?, called Are You for Real?, and ? said he is writing a book and has just finished a new album.
"I am the coolest," he said. "I created hip. I had blonde hair way before anybody had blonde hair. I had long hair in 1962, before the Beatles had long hair. I'm way ahead of my time all the time."
The rest of Saturday night's lineup may not be as otherworldly as ?, but the bands have produced an impressive number of classic hits including "Kind of a Drag" and "Susan" by the Buckinghams; "Sugar and Spice" and "I Want To Meet You" by the Cryan' Shames; "Time Won't Let Me" by Sonny Geraci and the Outsiders; "Gloria" by the Shadows of Knight, and "California Sun" by the Rivieras.
The Super '60s Spectacular starts at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd. Tickets are $22, $42, and $52 from the box office, 419-381-8851, and all Ticketmaster outlets.
Contact David Yonke at: