Anarchy at the Circle K By Patrick O’Neil, 259 pgs.

Sep 22, 2022

Patrick O’Neil isn’t fucking around. 

His memoir about his stint as a road manger and roadie for punk legends Dead Kennedys, T.S.O.L., Flipper, and Subhumans is an epic account of stamina, sleeplessness, and bad decision making. O’Neil skips the usual palaver about these stories being his memories and other accounts may differ with an uncompromising note: “You want to dispute what I’ve written? Then go write your own damn book. You want to hate me for telling the truth? Stand in line behind me, because I have enough self-hatred for all of us. You want to critique me for being a fucked up human being? You are years too late.” And on it goes.

In addition to being a road warrior on the front lines of punk rock in the ’80s, O’Neil was also a not-so-secret addict. Although he documents his career as a “junkie bank robber” in Gun, Needle, Spoon, his previous memoir, Anarchy at the Circle K explores a window of time when punk bands hit the road in increasing numbers before the experience was ruined by corporate middlemen and “assholes with clipboards.”

Anarchy at the Circle K is required reading for fans of Dead Kennedys and the San Francisco scene in particular, but will be of interest to those who enjoy reading the subgenre of punk rock tour diaries. O’Neil’s uncompromising account of spending four days with a broken-down van in Eudora, Arkansas in the middle of the summer sucks all the romance out of life on the road. –Jim Ruland (Punk Hostage Press)