Sign up for our free newsletter

Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.

SATURDAY

Though I own more than 20 records featuring Sir Richard Bishop, I never had a good idea what he looked like until recently. I certainly didn’t expect the distinguished, folky gentility of a Rounder recording artist from the man responsible for such releases as Horse Cock Phepner and Three Fake Female Orgasms. Of course, my surprise can be blamed on the fact that Bishop and his bandmates’ faces are often obscured by costumes at live shows. His visage has been hidden by a variety of masks: hockey, Kabuki, Balinese, Saddam Hussein, and one that appeared to be a papier-mâché rendering of an adobe dwelling. Bishop is primarily known for his many years with the Sun City Girls, who are, I can say without hyperbole, absolutely the strangest and most fascinating band in rock history. Formed in the early ’80s with Bishop’s brother, Alan, and Charlie Gocher, the group has released more than 40 full-lengths since then; some of the albums consist of little more than hastily conceived nonsensical skits, and some contain beautiful, hallucination-inducing, Eastern-tinged psych-rock. The Girls have gone from playing punk shows with Black Flag and JFA to playing on Indonesian cruise ships to becoming renowned ethnomusicologists with their current Sublime Frequencies series of releases. These days, Bishop whiles away his time making amazing solo wooden-guitar records, revealing a style somewhere between the Middle Eastern stylings of Robbie Basho and the impressive Americana-influenced dexterity of Takoma Park’s John Fahey. And though he would probably deny it, it’s obvious now that it was Bishop behind the Sun City Girls’ prettiest moments. Not only will it be nice to see him play his intricate melodies in a live setting, but it will also be good to finally see him face to face. Sir Richard Bishop plays with Double Leopards, Mouthus, and Kohoutek at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at 611 Florida Ave. NW. $5 (suggested donation). (202) 360-9739. (David Dunlap Jr.)