Rubbing and wiggling into its third decade of existence, Three Day Stubble -- San Francisco's foremost proponent of "the movement borne of white culture turned inward upon itself" -- has extruded a CD version of its nerd rock opera, staged locally a few months back by Stubble and cohorts. Based on the misadventures of protagonist Mary -- who was "good and lovely" until she got involved with the wrong crowd and changed her name to Figshta -- it's a cautionary (albeit highly perplexing) tale of human potential, scatology, individualism, indecision, mental illness, and, finally, liberation and redemption via "Gigglefat Carbuncle Smile." A conventional drama it's not.
Since dawn-of-the-'80s performances in its spawning ground of Houston, Texas, Three Day Stubble has become the stuff of legend, largely due to its sartorial splendor and outrageous onstage behavior, from pee fountains, incendiary farts, and human flight attempts to vocalist Donald the Nut's interpretive art form, avi. Subsequently, the band has been dismissed by some as yet another S.F. costume-rock joke band and its savant-garde music given short shrift.
While previous releases could be meandering, spasmodic, and difficult listening at times, The Figshta Diaries! -- Three Day Stubble's first full-length since 1993's Festival of the Wedding of the Sea Goat -- presents a somewhat more musically focused geek cadre. Though loose and eccentric, there are enough hooks, harmonies, and oddities strewn throughout this 44-minute amble across Planet Stubble to make it an amusing enough trip sans visuals. Brain-lodging moments include the infectious chorus of "Our Little Teacher," the cocktail-lounge affirmation anthem "Your Style," the rump-shaking anal-fixation funk of "Baby Butt Baby," the toy-piano intro and wah-bass prog-bolero of "Figshta's Wedding," and the instrumental "Psych Ward," a worthy exercise in old-school altnoise ambience.
The recording's greatest drawback is that the mix buries Donald's oft-amusing lyrics (which can actually be discerned via headphones). Then again, maybe it's best we can't hear clearly what he's singing on "Pee Pee Pee and Poo."
Three Day Stubble performs Friday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m. at Amoeba Music, 1855 Haight (at Stanyan), S.F. Admission is free; call 831-1200. Also Saturday, Feb. 26, at 10 p.m. with Mono Pause and the Roofies at Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Texas), S.F. Tickets are $7; call 621-4455.