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Birth name Susan Gottlieb
Born August 28, 1957
Years active 1970s -
Associated acts Catholic Discipline

Phranc (born Susan Gottlieb on August 28, 1957 in Los Angeles, California) is an American singer-songwriter whose career has spanned several decades.



She began her performing career in the late 1970s and early 1980s punk scene in Los Angeles. She had a bleach blonde crewcut and wore male attire creating an androgynous persona for her first band Nervous Gender, which formed in 1978. The writer V/D wrote of her for the punk fanzine Slash, "On stage, Phranc looks like a 14-year-old runaway from a boys' reform school." The band was influential in the development of what later came to be known as 'Synthpunk'. In 1980 she left Nervous Gender to join Catholic Discipline, in which Claude Bessey, journalist for Slash zine, was the lead singer. She was also in Castration Squad, an all-girl punk band.

Phranc appears with Catholic Discipline in The Decline of Western Civilization, a documentary by Penelope Spheeris.

In the 1980s Phranc pursued a solo career. She performs in Paul Morrissey's film Madame Wang's (1981) as Phranque. She began playing an acoustic guitar and released Folksinger on Rhino Records in 1985.[1] She opened for music acts such as The Smiths, Hüsker Dü, Violent Femmes, and Billy Bragg.[1] She styled herself the "All-American Jewish Lesbian Folksinger"[2] and with a wry sense of humour released the LP I Enjoy Being a Girl in 1989 on Island Records, appearing on the cover with her trademark 'flat top' hair style.[3] Describing a live performance, Adam Block wrote "Phranc's unnerving androgyny (expressed with easy confidence) and her fervent opinions (couched in sly, laconic wit) make her a fascinating performer."[4] Her third full-length recording, released in 1991, was Positively Phranc.[5][6]

Phranc was an important influence on the Queercore movement, being acknowledged as such by Team Dresch in their song for her, "Uncle Phranc". In the 1990s many queercore bands and musicians involved in queercore music began collaborating with her. She appeared as a guest on the Team Dresch LP/CD Captain My Captain and, as well, members of Team Dresch, Tobi Vail of Bikini Kill, Patty Schemel of Hole and others have played with Phranc on her EP Goofyfoot and other songs. Phranc performs and is interviewed in the queercore documentary She's Real, Worse Than Queer by Lucy Thane and she has appeared frequently at queercore events such as Olympia's Homo-a-go-go festival. In the 1990's Phranc performed "Hot August Phranc", performing as Neil Diamond[7]. On her full-length CD of 1998, Milkman, she is joined by Steve MacDonald of Redd Kross, who plays bass. Her most recent releases, including Milkman, appear on her own independent record label, Phancy Records.

The 2001 documentary film "Lifetime Guarantee", directed by Lisa Udelson, chronicled Phranc's life with a focus on her day job as a Tupperware consultant. Phranc lives with her partner and children in Santa Monica, California, and continues to sell Tupperware. She performs occasionally, but spends more time working on creative visual art projects, including the Cardboard Cobbler sculptures. In December 2007 she had a solo art show at Cue Art Foundation in New York City curated by Ann Magnuson; the New York Times review compared her work to Claes Oldenberg and Andy Warhol.[7]


  • Phranc 7" single
  • Bulldagger Swagger b/w Hillary's Eyebrows 7" single (Kill Rock Stars, 1994)
  • "My Favorite Women Newscasters" on The Best of the Radio Toyko Tapes (Chameleon 8608, 1987)[8]
  • Some Songs (1997)
  • Hang Ten Double CD on American Pop Project, Phranc with Satan's Pilgrims
  • Milkshake - A CD to Benefit the Harvey Milk Institute (1998)


  1. ^ a b Block, Adam (July 22, 1986), "Flat-top Fantasies, Post-punk Politics from Folksinger Phranc", The Advocate,  
  2. ^ Kort, Michael (September 16, 1997), "Phranc" ( – Scholar search), The Advocate,, retrieved 2008-02-10  
  3. ^ Block, Adam (June 20, 1989), "Of Flattops, Fake Fags, and Real Benefits", The Advocate,  
  4. ^ Block, Adam (February 27, 1990), "Phranc Talk", The Advocate,  
  5. ^ Farber, Jim (April 12, 1991), "Positively Phranc", Entertainment Weekly,,,313986,00.html  
  6. ^ Block, Adam (March 26, 1991), "Lavender Wave", The Advocate,  
  7. ^ a b Pener, Degen (August 15, 1993), "EGOS & IDS; Phranc, As in Frank Or Neil", New York Times,  
  8. ^ Doyle, J.D. (September, 2005). "Queer Music Heritage: Phranc Discography". Retrieved 2008-04-08.  

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