The term "nerd rock" has been associated with bands like Weezer and, more recently, the dreaded emo genre. But way back in 1980, before most of those emaciated, dyed-black crybabies were even born, a group called Three Day Stubble dubbed itself "nerd rock," and to this day has stayed true to that spirit. Stumbling straight outta Houston, the musicians of Three Day Stubble did everything back-assward: They wore polyester shirts and hot pants after 1975; boisterous singer Donald the Nut performed in platform shoes and shellacked his hair into a curl on his forehead (way before Salt 'n' Pepa), and his voice veered between Tiny Tim and a constipated Robert Goulet; they had songs about bodily fluids and poop and monsters; they had names like Mr. Hungry and Murderer Bob; and they practiced "Avi," a type of free-form performance art that incorporates spastic movements and ungodly vocal sounds.
"In a traditional Avi setting people will take turns entertaining each other by switching roles between performer and audience," says band (and spiritual) leader Donald the Nut from his current home in Japan. "Occasionally everyone starts doing Avi and the audience disappears. This is called Ménage Avi."
Are you feeling a tingling sensation down there? Excellent. Breathing in, imagine being transformed into a ball of light and energy. Now, throw that energy face down on the ground and violently dry hump it. Flop over on your back and flail your legs around while producing high-pitched squeals. Make sure you're rubbing yourself. To the left, now to the right. Great, now breathe in some fresh air.
Three Day Stubble's 1982 debut album, Nerd Rock, was originally released as an eight-track and was a total affront to the hardcore and new wave that was burgeoning along the East and West coasts. It was jerky, sloppy, arrhythmic, wheezing, and hilarious. As Captain Beefheart once said, "A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous." This also applies to TDS: Songs like the jittery "Monster" and the surf-punk riot "Nick the Dick" from 1987's Monster teetered between dadaist theater and a bizarre simian mating ritual, as did much of every live show. Donald was known for lighting his own farts onstage and becoming a human "pee fountain."
Breathe in. Drool. Repeat.
Throughout the '80s, various members of the band relocated to San Francisco. Toward the end of the decade, Donald began appearing on The Gong Show to perform Avi. The band's documentary, Rubbin' and Wigglin' for You, documents his immediate gonging by Mr. T; the gilded one's distaste for Donald's antics was much like the Ogre's in Revenge of the Nerds. But Donald kept on rubbin', appearing on the show several more times, and eventually performing Avi at the Burning Man Festival.
The group put out several more records during the '90s, culminating in the 1998 "nerd rock opera" The Figshta Diaries. Three Day Stubble, with the current lineup of Donald, guitarists Mr. Hungry and Brently Pusser (of Bay Area band Neung Phak), bassist Lance Boyle (of S.F. bands Tragic Mulatto and Polkacide), drummers Shibby Dow and Noreen Spumoni, percussionist Chauncey Sanchezhagistein, and male dancer Giggles the Chunderpup, has come to define the nerd rock lifestyle, uniting nerds everywhere, offering them a good-natured "I'm OK, you're OK" and encouraging them to breathe in through their minds and out through their colons.
Inhale, exhale. Imagine you are an expanding ball of gas, drawn to the flame. Great, just great.