Just when you thought that you have seen it all, there always seems to be just one more thing. Sometimes the universe saves the best for last, like Lobotomy: The Brainless Magazine, which was founded in Hollywood during the spring 1978 by Pleasant Gehman.
The Xeroxed fanzine became notorious in the Hollywood punk scene from its very first issue, when Kim Fowley threatened to sue 18-year-old Pleasant over the sarcastic and derogatory comments she wrote about him. Because Pleasant couldn’t afford to re-print her ‘zine, she hitchhiked or took a bus to the various record stores that carried Lobotomy and cut out the offending paragraph with scissors!
Gehman, who has written for every magazine under the sun and fronted three bands, The Screaming Sirens, The Ringling Sisters and Honk If Yer Horny, is now known sometimes as “Princess Farhana,” burlesque and belly dancing star, and is exactly as she was then: wild and hysterically funny, which are the main characteristics of her DIY “brain child,” Lobotomy. Lobotomy is the documentation of a demented teenage punk insider’s view of the early scene (mostly in Los Angeles, but also New York and London) with a MAD magazine mentality. Lobotomy had that special freak-out girl flair fueled by booze, drugs and FUN!
Chief photographer Theresa Kereakes, also a teenager, started her career accidentally by doing the first photo shoot for a friend’s new band…The Germs. She took countless onstage and backstage photos of The Cramps, Ramones, Blondie, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Billy Idol, Joan Jett and many more for Lobotomy. Nearly four decades later, they’ve become some of the most recognized and iconic images of the early punk scene. This was in the wild west days of punk and publishing where none of this had any career possibilities or future and this all comes off in the text and photos. Truly done for laughs and love.
Theresa has gone on to be a real heavy hitter photographer working with David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Keith Richards and others before going on to work at Island Records and becoming a programming supervisor at VH-1 and Sirius Satellite Radio. Both Pleasant and Theresa were ticket takers at the Whiskey A Go Go in the 1970’s. You can also see her work on her blog Punk Turns 30 .
Pleasant and Theresa, Hollywood photo booth 1978
Typical night: party at Joan Jett’s house across from The Whiskey A Go Go with Brad Dunning, Lisa Curland, Pleasant, Melissa, Darby & Lorna of The Germs, Billy Idol, etc.
When I asked Pleasant how many issues there were in total, she replied “Maybe twenty?” which pretty much sums it up. She added “I was held together by Scotch tape and safety pins… I don’t really know!” Which is a perfect quote describing a perfect slice of wonderful teenage hysteria. From her bio:
Lobotomy was known for its irreverent MAD magazine sense of humor, the salacious gossip column “Dirty Dishes” which featured blow-by-blow accounts of gigs at the legendary Masque and debauched parties, as well as the candid, outrageous—and usually drunken—interviews with punk trailblazers The Damned, The Clash, The Cramps, X, The Go-Go’s, The Screamers, The Avengers, The Mumps, director David Lynch and numerous others.
Currently, Pleasant Gehman and Theresa Kereakes are in the midst of putting together the (Teenage) Lobotomy book, featuring Theresa’s incredible photographs, Pleasant’s kookoo diary entries and commentary, along with her original paste-ups in all their carelessly typed, hand-written, Elmer’s Glue and tape collage glory (some loaned to us exclusively for this article). The book will be published by Punk Hostage Press in Fall 2016. The girls are also planning a tour with (Teenage) Lobotomy including gallery shows and lectures, or events with a combination of both.
The first is coming up March 5, 2016 at everyone’s favorite hip art gallery/event complex Lethal Amounts at 1226 West 7th Street in Los Angeles from 8pm-11pm. There will be loads of special guests plus “a lecture and storytelling” which will surely be a real treat.
Here’s a clip of Pleasant Gehman recounting some of the wild and weird “lobotomies” she has given the world: