Patrick O’Neil’s memoir, Gun Needle Spoon is a harrowing, honest, and laugh-while-shaking-your-head memoir about drug addiction. The power of the book rests not only in spectacular, concise writing but also at no point during the book does it feel like a con. Drugs can be outrageously fun. They can be the ultimate social lubricant. They can also destroy: friends, loved ones, innocent bystanders, the user. Patrick threads the needle in this memoir. It’s neither a full-on romanticization of heavy heroin addiction nor is it a simple “After School Special” with a canned lesson learned on the last page.
Patrick was at the epicenter of punk rock in San Francisco at the end of the ‘70s and early ‘80s. He was the road manager of the Dead Kennedys, TSOL, Flipper, and The Subhumans (U.K.) and was working for Alternative Tentacles when the FBI busted in to serve and protect the public form the Frankenchrist “Penis Landscape” insert drawn by renowned Swiss artist HR Giger.
In this podcast, we talk about Patrick’s early days, his introduction to heroin, his dealing days, his bank robberies, the brutal killing of his best friend, his time served both in jail in prison, his rehab, his on-going recovery, and using writing as a therapeutic tool.
I can’t recommend Gun Needle Spoon highly enough. It is available directly from Dzanc Books.