PUNK: Lonesome American Memoirs

For Becky, Cindy, Julie and Ron.
Wherever you are…

Table of contents
Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chaper 8, Chaper 9, Chaper 10, Chaper 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 14, Chapter 15, Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18, Chapter 19, Chapter 20, Chapter 21, Chapter 22, Chapter 23, Chapter 24
Musicology, Errata

How to buy a copy of this book

Draft 2, Technical Revision 3
© 2005 S. T. Jones all rights reserved
No portion of this writing may be reproduced, printed, or otherwise duplicated in any form without the expressed permission of the author.

50 Comments

  1. thank you for sharing these chapters…i’ve really love reading them and I look forward to more.
    Love!

  2. Thank you for your response.

    I’ve written this book already. This is the rewrite process (the first one anyhow.)

    It’s slow, because I rewrite as i go, sometimes removing huge parts of the work, other times expanding into totally new areas.

    I’m ok with how it’s coming along.

    Your appreciation, as my sister and friend, means a lot to me.

    thanks.

  3. gino:

    sunshine,..

    keep writing, and i will keep reading.

    these stories are amazing.

    it’s really heavy shit. vivid, the part
    in chapter 5 about the first time
    shooting up in the shower. it made me
    queezy, and i don’t get queezy easily.

    i really respect your writing and your
    honesty in shareing these stories so
    openly.

    thank you.

  4. I hope, in and among the heavy shit, you’ve got some perspective and are able to laugh too. It’s true, most of this is the abolute worst of my life. But there’s a lot of love in my writing, forgiveness, and hope. I hope you are laughing along with me, even if you are horrified or disturbed.

    we’ll see. 13 11 more chapters to rewrite.

    s.

  5. gino:

    sunshine,

    your writing is filled with perspective.

    you’ve got me laughing, singing, smileing,
    sad, happy, forgiveing and hopeing. it’s as if
    i was following you around while it was going down.

    all i’m saying is i can feel the love in the stories.

    no worries.

    love

    gino.

  6. Now if only i could actually say what it is i want to say, the way i want to say it without a non-stop-run-on-sentence, we’d really be making some progress.

    style=content

    s.

  7. Reading this memoir (I’ve read through chapter 8: ‘Call Home’ so far) is so interesting for me. It boggles my mind that you were out having these experiences while I was at home being a little girl. I have spotty images of you as a ‘punk’, but it never ceases to amaze me how little I know of your history. Your experiences. Your trip (both kinds). How carefully sheilded I was from the reality of the situation.

    That all being said. ‘Call Home’ made me cry. I love that chapter.~~Another thing I love is when you’re telling the story and then you suddenly admit that that’s not the way it really happened. I remember you once told me you used to make up stories that were completely not true and to be honest, I’ve done that too, so I relate to rearranging events and making them work out better in your imagination. It’s a great writing tool for you!
    I love the honesty, the unapologetic voice, you’re using to tell this story.
    Thank you! I’ll keep reading…
    *a.

  8. Nate:

    Meaning comes from contrast. What is a good existence?

    The sociopath lacks any conscience at all and lives inverted; their life the opposite of meaning, a black hole, sucking pieces of other lives into the bottomless chasm. Evil.

    The schizophrenic falls out of reality or never enters it, and lives doomed to an infinite spectrum of secret meanings that can’t be validated. We give them medication, trying to help them find some kind of contrast.

    Finally, an existence more ironic than all others.

    The one who strives and yearns to always do the right thing, to please, every breath hoping, that they are a good person, yearning for meaning through purity. Perpetually striving to burn off the impure within. Any weight to even the small inevitable mistakes and rebellions simply evaporates; a puff of smoke incinerated by the never-ending guilt, the screaming hypocrisy. Purity isn’t goodness. Purity is nothing. This one never existed at all.

    Blessed are the contrasted.

  9. Nate, that’s beautifully said.

    impressive.

    I’m going to spend some time re reading and reflecting on your words.

    Thank You.

    s.

  10. erich:

    sunshine, fyi.
    some people are signifigantly more resistant to HIV than other people.
    interesting stuff. specially bout the needles.
    i cant stand needles now.
    very interesting, very cool (is that the right word?)
    erich

  11. Well, Thankfully it seems I was in and then out of the IV Drug world before patient zero arrived.

    I have no idea why i don’t have AIDS or HIV. I was seriously depressed about that for many years. Felt that i should be dead, while other, much more wonderful people should be alive.

    I have forgiven myself, and today I count my lucky (fucking) stars.

    It’s hard, i think, for a young person of today to relate to what the hell we were thinking in the late 70’s. It was truly another time altogether.

    However, I am deeply grateful that we can relate so much better today than we could then. The disparity between decades was so vast and impossible to breech.

    It’s better now in so many ways.

    Even if there is a Bush in the whitehouse. It’s still better.

  12. I’m done.

    (with the second re write)

  13. I’ve read it all now. And as I sit here alone, fighting tears from running down my face, I simply feel so supremely grateful that you are here, alive, and are my family, my friend.
    While I cannot imagine how cathartic it may have been for you to write (re-write and publish it here) it has also been cathartic for me to read. I understand you more now. Understand why you tell me certain things. Adivse me in certain ways. And I am even more proud now to have you as my brother than I was before. Because you’re really fucking brave and wonderful!

  14. A Third revision is now reposted here. I went through and corrected all the spelling, grammar, syntax, and tense issues that I could find.

    A few things were revised, other lines added, and a few portions removed. I also included an incomplete errata section. So if you have questions about language, frame of reference, or slang used in the work, let me know and i’ll add it to the errata portion at the end.

    I have a .pdf of this now too if someone preferrs to read things in a different way.

    Draft 2 technical revision 3 is now complete.

  15. gino:

    sunshine,

    this was an amazing read. i feel
    like i know you on a different level
    now. i’m not sure how to explain it,
    or if those are the right words.

    i am so happy to have met you
    and to be able to call you a friend.

    again, thank you so much for shareing
    these memories.

    love,

    gino.

  16. Thanks Gino and Ali,

    I really, really appreciate your input.

  17. Joera:

    Sunshine,

    I have a freind who I belive would love to read your book.

    His name is Tomas. We met about 13 years ago when he came to Amsterdam. He is a light engineer for parties. Before coming to amsterdam he moved from a smalltown on the Swedish coast to Big town Stockholm. There he got into contact with punk culture.

    Our conversations often come to this period but i have little knowledge or experience about and with punk culture, nor such a ‘life period’. I think he’ll really relate to your book

    Tomas not having internet, it would be great if you could email me that pdf file. If this is to far fetched for you, i’ll understand. But i think we can make someone happy here

    Joera

  18. Joera,

    It’s at the end of appendix II, at the bottom of the page.

  19. astral:

    Dear Sunshine,

    I started reading your memoir today and didn’t stop until the end. It’s some of the most engaging writing I’ve read in some time. All I can say is…wow! What a story. In some ways it cetainly did take me back; it has been a long time since I’ve heard mention of Martha and the Muffins or Japan, or a number of the other artists I used to listen to as in the early-80s. At one point you mention this as fiction, but in most of your comments you discuss it as autobiographical. That has left me a little unclear…these are your memoirs? Anyway, it sure is a compelling story. What’s next?

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts,

    Astral

  20. I’ve corrected a few pretty awkward paragraphs today, and reloaded the .pdf file with revision 3b instead of the old Rev 2. Just too many errors in the pdf to leave it up here with any degree of pride or good feelings.

    Enjoy the corrections.

  21. erin:

    i miss the pics in the chapter headings in the pdf.

  22. me too.

    The online version is much better.

    : )

  23. FYI: While I’d prefer to talk about this book here, there’s also a thread about it over on the imperial DUB message board. That’s located here

  24. astral:

    One very minor thing. I really liked the song samples, and when I would get to the bottom it was nice to listen while finishing up the end of the chapter. Then I would move on to the next and the sample would stop, and I was too anxious to keep reading to go back and listen to the whole track. If the sample was listed at the top of the chapter, then it would make for good background music while reading. I’ve never read a whole book online before, but sure was drawn in to your tale.

  25. You know, I felt that the “soundtrack” was essential. And i toiled over how to present it. I thought about adding the music at the head of the chapter, and realized that it was difficult to read while listening. Next i thought of only including the music in the musicology section at the end, but that would alientate the songs, isolate them and leave them hanging out back for no real reason.

    Finally, i felt that adding them at the end was best. When you are done reading the chapter, you can sit a minute and just listen. Sometimes it’s irony, but most of the time it’s release.

    That’s what i was thinking anyway.

    s.

  26. erin:

    i have a couple of friends in boston that were in to the punk scene here when they were growing up and i let them know about the book. just wanted to let you know that they’re both enjoying it and tellign their friends too!

    erin

  27. Well, it has been a long time. Thanks Mr. Shine. The time we spend on this planet is a human journey. We interact with others, take obsevations and construct patterns. Style, economy, hopelessness, biology, cities, come and go. At the root of it are our connections with others. The reflections we see of ourselves in those on TV, in person, in a book, over the phone. China today, or perhaps Central Asia, is the place of new emerging art and social condition. Yet, the old west, the Transbay Terminal, the blue jeans, the United States, from Douglas MacArthur to Sally Mutant, are worth recording, and examining – All before the environmental and economic collapse. Still connection and a shoulder to lean on make it worth it. Girls, boys, love, music, drama, sly eyes, and the beat beat beat make it real.
    Love, -Peter

  28. Peter,

    you are stealthily buried in there too. disguised under your former psudonym. i wanted to tell the story of the night that i snorted all the rest of the speed off your living room table so that the yucky girl i’d been with all night wouldn’t do it, but i felt i’d described my state of mind well enough to leave that out.

    Also, fine a fellow as you have always been, there just wasn’t a lesson to learn or point to make about people like you who were (or seemed to be) wise, and thoughtful, enjoying themselves and never terribly judgmental.

    That and a fucking great artist!

    I’m saving the blossoms for the next book. It’s begun…

    Hope you enjoyed this read, and found mercy, and all the love i put into it.

    I wrote it very specifically for you, and all of us who chose some of the more difficult paths.

    love,

    Sunshine

  29. Sam/solid:

    i really enjoyed reading this.

    Thanks, Sunshine!! :)

  30. jason:

    I’m loving the book so far.
    I really hope you keep writing.
    -jason

  31. Tresca Behling:

    ** reprinted here in part from another entry. Placed into context for the benefit of those who come to links here, and read without browsing the rest of the journal. **

    I am the ex-bass player, not singer, of Animal Things. This is not my superhero status. I read what S. Jones wrote about me and am pleased that my maternal instinct has been consistant…I have a three year old son, Emilio, and based on the parenting I got I’ve wondered how it is I know how to be a good one. We can react to what we didn’t get and provide it, or we can live an unexamined life and just pass the shit on. Who are you S. Jones?

    Tresca

  32. Wow…

    I’m so blown away to hear from you.

    Not only did I miss spell your name, but I forgot that you were the Bass player…. Of course you were.

    [color=green]/* slaps forehead */[/color]

    I will write.

    Thank you for your reply.

  33. Tresca Behling:

    I just re-read the piece…amazed that it was edited so swiftly….but the part about your accent..the fake british one…i remember you! I just started writing a memoir of sorts…memory is so strange…it almost doesn’t matter what actually happened, but how it made us feel..or how we interpreted it. ….which is based on our hardwired, yet hormonally fluctuating neurochemical responses, formed of course by previous experiences which may or may not have happened..etc….etc…I have basically gleaned from what I’ve read that you are in the city with a wife and child..or children. I didn’t read much, but want to know more. How old are /is your child/ren? What gender and name? What do you do? WHY is your name sunshine? The last time I took lsd was a long time ago..my friend Brad asked how much I wanted….in an offhand way without turning around i said, “whatever you’re having”…that turned out to be an awful lot. Twelve hours later I could actually see enough through the patterns to make out two enormous cats laying on top of me….they were sitting on me as if I were a warm dryer….just purring in time with my vibe…soaking it up, staring intently into my face. Several hours later Brad, Peeyok, and a couple of members of the Sea Hags took me out to the beach on the west side of the Golden Gate bridge. They buried me in the sand for safety and frolicked with dogs.It was two full days at least before i could get on a bus back to the east bay. I truly thought I would never come down….that i had flipped the irreversible switch. My mom asked why I didn’t call her to pick me up when I told her later….I realized I never thought of her as someone who I could depend on for help. I loved her but… That was in the late eighties. Ok, I have to ask again: why is your name Sunshine? Tell me more, Tresca

  34. I wrote you back.

    Right… that was me. A melodramatic poseur all the way… faked it until it was real.

    Those were the days!

    If you’re looking for any party fun from the past, check the bottom of the second to the last page of the book. There’s a link there to a group on tribe.net that I started. Lots of people from the past. I already posted in there about having heard from you.

    Wonderful that you are alive, and well, and seem to be thriving!!!!

    But of course you are.

    : )

  35. Blondie:

    Chapter 5 really hit close to the heart for me. I have spent 7 years of my life fighting that monkey on my back. I had a child and that is what made me stop, but the urge is still there and will always be. I love your writing. It may seem dark but it is inspirational if you look deeply into it.

  36. I really enjoyed the “war stories” from the early SF Punk scene.I remember a guy named jake action who used to get every high on huge metal bottles he carried in a truck to shows.The first real high in the punk scene was black beauties and whatever booze was available. I played in punk bands in SJ and went to SF for lot of early shows. The Mab, On Broadway, 10th street hall, the Elite club. It all seemed very agro going into it, but everyone did care for each other. Razors, chains & spikes maybe, but in those days if you fell down on the pit, people helped you up. I think the suburbanation of the scene, the unflux of jock mentality kind of ruined the scene for me. That, and trying Herion. Funny after all these years, I may be playing in a new band with Rockin’ Rick and Johnny Genocide.

  37. GASP! is that you? Don’t ask how I got here but I am glad I did! Lets see if you remember….. I am so clad that somebody took the time and effort to do this…yes oh boy which bathroom was worse? The one at target video or the one at the Mutants????

    Jennifer

  38. Jennifer,

    baby, i met you in the bathroom at 10th street hall… remember?

  39. Biff, if you need a bass player, or a sound engineer, let me know.

    I’d love to see you guys again.

  40. Benjie Elwood:

    I don’t expect you’ll remember me; I was part of that extended Telegraph scene so long ago and so far away. I was going out with Juliet Harris when I knew you. I discovered your memoir and I’ve been sitting here at work reading and reading, at first (I admit) looking for people and places I knew (not so hard, since that scene wasn’t so big) and then just getting into the whole story and the dead-on descriptions (for a minute there I swear it was 1981 and I was with my girlfriend in the bathroom at the 10th street hall snorting a punk dime of bad meth out of the same bag at the same time with McDonald’s straws). I’m looking forward to enjoying it in its entirety at my leisure. But I’m glad to see the punch line is that you’re happy. And congratulations on your son. I have two kids; Juliet has a really cool son. Who’d have thought we’d all grow up?

  41. Benjie,

    I totally remember you. Couldn’t forget your calm, and gentle face.
    I agree, it’s bizzarre that we’re alive, and it’s actually pretty fucking cool.

    : )

  42. Maude:

    That’s not the way I remember it…..

  43. 25 + years is a long time Maudy. what the fuck do I know?

    Probably even less than I think…

    Nice to see a sign that you’re alive my friend. So nice!

  44. “They just couldn’t keep up with our decline.” Such crisp, clear, elegant writing!
    It puts me right back there, only this time with context.
    It was different, being a young-and-small-but-tough-enough girl, especially one who initially did the reverse-commute to run away from SF. I wasn’t aware yet that some-somewhat-coherent-one or two or three were sort of watching my back, and neither was Carol, but it turns out I could fight girls just as well as I could fight whichever skinheads were lame enough to pick on me in the first place.
    I never quite got the beer-at-the-tennis-courts culture, and was never invited into it – though I imbibed plenty of other things one-on-one with most of the cohort (the gender thing, I’m guessing). It’s great to [read] that Benjie’s doing well. I wonder what became of Corky, of the Speed Queens. And Julie, who apeared one day from Lawrence, KS and who taught me one of life’s toughest lessons, by demonstration. And Vonda, and Summer, and Oliver, and the fabulous Buttfest sisters. Some souls still seem exactly the same, and seeing them on the street kind of sets me in a tailspin: once the jailbaitiest of punk rock jailbait, witnessing that intertia makes me feel so, so old.
    Thanks for putting that whole scene in such a clear, shifted perspective.

  45. Jessica,

    You have a very nice blog, photoblog, travelog, and biolog yourself. I really appreciate your photos, and the commentary.

    I remember Julie from Lawrence Kansas, I actually have a really funny picture of my sneering my head off with her in a headlock. She’s calm, shaved headed and you would think I wasn’t even in the picture.

    You didn’t miss anything at the tennis courts. Maybe some of my vomit, and a lot of Johnny Puke’s non stop talking and laughter.

    I don’t think it was a gender thing… In those days, the first blossoms of our advanced stages of alcoholism, we were mainly more preoccupied by how much there was to drink, and how frustrating it was that it was never enough.

    I’m so glad to see your politics refine and define themselves and that you have embarked upon a journey of productive and insightful revolution beyond self-destruction.

    I’m so glad you are alive.

  46. Maude:

    Yes…I’m alive..and well…and so is Nina…You should come and play with us one day!

  47. Fee:

    WOW! I just finished the paperback version last night. The book was riveting, raw, and deeply depressing, but somehow uplifting at the same time, if that makes any sense. I have absolutely no experience with the punk scene whatsoever, so the journey was especially incredible. You book gave me so much to think about. So beautiful to see so much love rise from so much angst and sorrow. We are moving ourselves so time is scarce lately, but I’m excited to see I popped in just in time for the rewrite. Looking forward to getting the chance to check it out.
    much love

  48. Hey Fee.

    I’m so glad you read the book. You know, after some behind the scenes difficulty with the content of this book I lost momentum. A few people read the book half expecting a history book, or maybe a modern politically correct view of the past, my past. I realized after being accused of sexism and homophobia that I hadn’t put this book together correctly.

    I mean to say that you don’t see any insight until you get to the end. How could you? I made every effort to present my state of mind in that moment without any apologies. The idea being that my experience as a punk, with all those people was that of a sociopath, a liar, a broken child with a lot of problems struggling to work it out. And not as a condemnation of punk rock, or society, or anyone else, but rather a kind of a celebration of how punk rock actually saved my life.

    How other peope had other points of view, other behavior, but I was almost entirely unaware of them. Unwilling, and unable to hear them, or to learn from them.

    A friend of mine is reading the book now, and we talked about it last night. I stayed up late re reading it. I haven’t picked it up in some time. It was good to read it again. I’m not sure where to begin with the re write. But I can see how it needs a complete reworking, and intend to give myself to that project.

    Mod is nearly ready for presentation. I may wait to rewrite until all three books are done.

  49. I couldn’t get it to come up on line, so I ordered my own copy. I would rather read it like that anyway.

  50. Alex:

    Wow.
    Incredible story.
    You have no idea how much I enjoyed reading this, because I really enjoy the punk music/lifestyle and this was just amazing for me.
    Is there any chance you’re selling your book in a store like Coles or Chapters or some store like that?
    I’d do anything to own this book.

    Thank you, so much for this.
    I must have more.