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Patrick O'Neil

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Patrick O'Neil
Oneil author.jpg
BornOctober 14 1956
Madison, Wisconsin
🏳️ NationalityAmerican
💼 Occupation
🌐 Website

Search Patrick O'Neil on Amazon.

Patrick Sean O’Neil is an American author of three memoirs: Anarchy at the Circle K: On the Road with Dead Kennedys, TSOL, Flipper, Subhumans, and… Heroin.[1]; Gun, Needle, Spoon [2]; and Hold-Up[3]. And the co-author of two books on writing; Writing Your Way To Recovery: How Stories Can Save Our Lives[4] (with the author James Brown) and PEN America’s The Sentences That Create Us: Crafting A Writer’s Life In Prison[5].

Early life and education:[edit]

Patrick Sean O’Neil was born on October 14th 1956 in Madison, Wisconsin. His father was M.I.T. professor of linguistics Wayne O’Neil[6].

O’Neil attended the San Francisco Art Institute and graduated in 1979 with a BFA in film. In 2006 he attended Antioch University Los Angeles’ Master of Fine Arts in Writing program where he earned an MFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis in nonfiction prose.


In the early ‘80’s O’Neil was a touring roadie for the seminal punk bands Dead Kennedys and T.S.O.L. He eventually went on to be a road manager[7] for Dead Kennedys, Flipper, and Subhumans (UK).[8] He stopped touring with Dead Kennedys after their last show as the classic line up of Jello Biafra, East Bay Ray, Klaus Flouride, and D.H. Peligro, at U.C. Davis in 1986.

O’Neil, under the pseudonym "P O'Pillage", is credited as - the voice of Rambozo on the song, "Rambozo The Clown", and "artwork" for Dead Kennedys’ Bedtime For Democracy album.

In 1986 O’Neil worked for the independent record label Alternative Tentacles as head of the art department designing graphics, album covers and posters. O’Neil collaborated with the artist Winston Smith[9] on several of these projects, and was present for the “distributing harmful matter to minors” bust[10] when the police raided[11] the offices of Alternative Tentacles in search of the Frankenchrist/H.R. Giger "Work 219: Landscape XX" (also known as Penis Landscape) poster[12].

O’Neil’s addiction to heroin ended his career in the music industry. In 1997 O’Neil was arrested by the San Francisco Police on multiple counts of armed robbery.[13][14] While awaiting trial in San Francisco County jail O’Neil attending a creative writing class[15] and discovered a passion for writing.

After his release from prison O’Neil worked in the recovery field as a drug and alcohol counselor. In 2006 he attended Antioch University Los Angeles where he earned an MFA in Creative Writing. His graduate thesis would eventually be his first memoir Hold-Up[3], published in France by 13e Note Editions (2013). After a complete revision/rewrite, that manuscript was retitled Gun, Needle, Spoon[2], and published in America by Dzanc Books (2015). In 2022 O'Neil's memoir, Anarchy at the Circle K: On the Road with Dead Kennedys, TSOL, Flipper, Subhumans, and… Heroin[1], documenting his time touring with bands in the '80's, was published by Punk Hostage Press[16].

O’Neil is adjunct faculty for Antioch University's Continuing Education program. He is a certified drug and alcohol counselor[17] and the manager of an aftercare/coaching program working with clients to address their substance abuse, and mental health issues.

He is a contributing editor for Sensitive Skin Magazine[18], a former PEN America Emerging Voices[19] selection committee member and mentor[20]. His writing has been widely published in numerous publications, online and in print, including Juxtapoz, Salon[21], Decibel[22], and Razorcake[23]

O’Neil has been in recovery since 2001[24]. On December 23rd 2016 California Governor Jerry Brown granted O’Neil a full and unconditional pardon for his past felony convictions.[25] O'Neil continues to work for prison reform[26] and is a former board member for the criminal reentry project, REDEEMED.[27][28]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Patrick, O'Neil (5 May 2022). Anarchy at the Circle K. Punk Hostage Press. p. 259. ISBN 978-1940213200. Search this book on
  2. 2.0 2.1 O'Neil, Patrick (9 June 2015). Gun Needle Spoon. Dzanc Books. p. 300. ISBN 978-1936873579. Search this book on
  3. 3.0 3.1 Patrick, O'Neil (March 2013). Hold-Up (in French). Translated by Chaunac, Karine. Paris: 13e Note Editions. p. 304. ISBN 978-2363740304.CS1 maint: Date and year (link) CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link) Search this book on
  4. O'Neil, Patrick (6 April 2021). Writing Your Way To Recovery: How Stories Can Save Our Lives. Independent Publisher. p. 160. ISBN 978-1736884706. Search this book on
  5. Patrick O'Neil (11 January 2022). Meissner, Caits, ed. The Sentences That Create Us: Crafting A Writer's Life In Prison. Haymarket Books. p. 339. ISBN 978-1642595802. Search this book on
  6. "Professor Wayne O'Neil, linguist and advocate for linguistics in education, dies at 88". MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2023-04-28.
  7. Norton, Justin (June 6, 2022). "Q&A: Patrick O'Neil On His 80s Hardcore Memoir Anarchy At The Circle K". Decibel. Retrieved April 4, 2023.
  8. Glasper, Ian (2023-08-15). Silence Is No Reaction: Forty Years of Subhumans. PM Press. ISBN 978-1-62963-695-5. Search this book on
  9. "Winston Smith". Winston Smith. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  10. Magazine, Decibel (2022-02-14). ""You Ever Go By The Name H. R. Giger?": Inside The Dead Kennedys' 'Frankenchrist' Album Art Raid". Decibel Magazine. Retrieved 2023-04-28.
  11. Silverberg, Michael (2014-05-20). "The obscenity trial that made H. R. Giger an icon for punk rock and free speech". Quartz. Retrieved 2023-04-28.
  12. Feldman, Paul (1987-08-21). "Album Poster Not Pornographic, Defense Tells Jurors". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2023-04-28.
  13. DuShane, Tony (2015-07-14). "Prison saved punk rocker addict". SFGATE. Retrieved 2023-04-28.
  14. York, Will (2023-03-02). Who Cares Anyway: Post-Punk San Francisco and the End of the Analog Age. SCB Distributors. ISBN 978-1-915316-06-6. Search this book on
  15. Waxmann, Laura. "CCSF courses expand to include psychology, creative writing for incarcerated students". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 2023-04-28.
  16. "Punk Hostage Press – …publishing ransom notes til the punk gets it…". Retrieved 2023-04-29.
  17. "Certemy". Retrieved 2023-04-28.
  18. "Sensitive Skin Magazine - art, stories, poetry, essays, reviews and music". Retrieved 2023-04-28.
  19. "Emerging Voices Fellowship". PEN America. 2021-02-17. Retrieved 2023-04-28.
  20. "Emerging Voices Mentors". PEN America. 2020-04-02. Retrieved 2023-04-28.
  21. ONEIL, PATRICK (2014-04-14). "I can't bear to watch my mom detox". Salon. Retrieved 2023-04-28.
  22. Magazine, Decibel (2022-02-14). ""You Ever Go By The Name H. R. Giger?": Inside The Dead Kennedys' 'Frankenchrist' Album Art Raid". Decibel Magazine. Retrieved 2023-04-28.
  23. "Bumps in the Road: A Personal Essay by Patrick O'Neil: Flipper Visits a Mexican Border Town - Razorcake". Retrieved 2023-04-28.
  24. "From Bank Robber to Recovery Advocate. Author Patrick O'Neil on Recovery from Heroin Addiction, 12 Step, and Refuge Recovery - The One Day At A Time Podcast". 2022-10-05. Retrieved 2023-04-28.
  25. "Executive report on pardons, commutations of sentence and reprieves" (PDF). p. 273. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
  26. "Rehab Confidential: Patrick O' Neil, former bank robber, ex-junkie and author of "Gun, Needle, Spoon"". Retrieved 2023-04-28.
  27. "ABOUT US". REDEEMED. Retrieved 2023-04-28.
  28. "Home". REDEEMED. Retrieved 2023-04-28.

External Links[edit]

Patrick O'Neil's Official Website

Patrick O'Neil's Blog

Interview[1] Huffington Post

This article "Patrick O'Neil" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical and/or the page Edithistory:Patrick O'Neil. Articles copied from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be seen on the Draft Namespace of Wikipedia and not main one.

  1. "Writing Issues: My Greatest Struggles as a Writer: Patrick O'Neil". HuffPost. 2017-03-23. Retrieved 2023-04-28.