with the Gentleman Callers, the Nevermores and the Vultures

By Barry Gilbert
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

March 29, 2007

8 p.m. March 30 at Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue. $7. 314-773-3363.

The song is "96 Tears" -- and if just the thought of it doesn't make you want to dance, well, abandon all hope. Arguably the greatest garage rocker ever, it ensured a place in rock 'n' roll history for Question Mark and the Mysterians. Inspired by the Vox organ sound of the Sir Douglas Quintet's Augie Meyers ("She's About a Mover"), "96 Tears" broke out of Michigan to become a national megahit in 1966. But bad label decisions and worse luck limited the band to a two-album output and only two other charting singles, including "Can't Get Enough of You Baby" (covered by Smash Mouth in 1999). In fact, their original recordings have never appeared on CD. Comeback attempts over the years went nowhere, but ? (it's his legal name), organist Frank Rodriguez Jr., bassist Frank Lugo, drummer Eddie Serrato and guitarist Bobby Balderrama continue to perform. At Off Broadway, the band will headline a benefit for ?, whose house burned to the ground in January, killing several of his dogs and destroying all of his instruments, recording equipment and musical mementos.