Sunday, October 10, 2010

question mark tries to bite meatloaf

at work there is all kinds of crap laying around that i have no idea why we ever had in the first place. one of these things was the autobiography by meatloaf, which i picked up and started reading one day on my lunch break to pass the time. i have no interest in meatloaf whatsoever (in fact i can't stand him, musically OR visually) but the book is actually very funny and i like that its a lot of short stories instead of one long memoir. here is my favorite part so far, about a band i heart. i like it because it only proves that question mark really IS as weird as you would imagine him to be. i mean, come on...the guy is like 70 and he still wears belly shirts. and he got his name legally changed to QUESTION MARK. dudes gotta be a little off his rocker. as told by meatloaf...


...basically, i was just hanging out in LA. i don't have a clue what i was doing for money. still had a little left over from the band, i guess.

and i had a lot of odd jobs, but definitely the weirdest was looking after question mark. ? and the mysterians had had a monster hit with "96 tears" in 1966. a cult classic. what they'd been doing for the last three years, however, was something of a mystery. question mark was a bit of a mystery himself.

he and the rest of the mysterians came from that same area in michigan that i'd just left: midland bay city, saginaw. popcorn blizzard actually cut a couple of demos in the same studio where they had recorded "96 tears."

the organ player was like 12 years old. and question mark at that time, in the sixties, was around 36 years old, at least. he looked ancient.  pete woodman was friends with these guys and he knew question mark was a real handful. so when they came to LA to play gigs at gazzari's on the strip, they naturally want to keep him from getting unhinged. they hired me for the 2 and a half weeks to be question's bodyguard. to be his minder. they saw how big i was and figured i could control him. wrong.

according to the sources around the band, he sniffed glue. i never personally saw him do it, but he had a lot of it. ya know that airplane glue that came in tan tubes? well, let's just say he had lots of tubes of glue and no model airplanes. they tried to keep him under control but said he'd sneak out of the hotel to trash rooms, break beds and tvs, and throw things out the window.

they put me in the room right next to him. i never got any sleep. i was up 24 hours a day with this guy. he was fine during the day when everybody was moving around and stuff was going on. and on the days of the shows he seemed to be ok. he never said anything. basically, he was just led around from place to place in his wraparound sunglasses. i don't remember ever having a conversation with him. if he did talk, he spoke spanish. so that was another reason i didn't understand him.

i had a key to his room and at night i would listen at his door every hour on the hour just to make sure there was nothing going on. one night i heard strange noises coming from question's room. i unlocked the door and went in. he was prowling the room and muttering terrible curses and some unseen demon. broken chair, broken lamp. i grabbed him and took him into my room. he'd gone completely feral - he tried to bite me. i threw him on the bed and called the mysterians and together we succeeded in subduing him. kinda. i mean, he tried smoking pot to calm himself down but only succeeded in throwing up. he was a mess. i thought i was a mess. it's a weird self-help cure. take care of someone in worse shape than you are.

1 comment:

  1. Did he cry 96 tears?
    I'm so changing my name to Semicolon.