PUNK: Lonesome American Memoirs

20. Stabbed at the Farm

It’s likely I’ve got the sequence of events completely screwed up here, but the Circle Jerks were playing. For the first time ever they were going to play in San Francisco at a new place called The Farm. No one had been there, and we were all really into it.

Don’t ask me, but somehow my older brother got roped into driving us there. He liked punk as much as he liked disco, but didn’t mind driving. We all piled into my parents third car, a nineteen seventy-three metallic blue International Travelall. On the way I had snorted some dope, and we were all drinking tall beers. We’d gotten a case so that everyone could have some.

By the time we arrived everyone was ready to go. I wasn’t done with my beer, so I stayed in the car and drank all the rest of it by myself. I all the way sat in the back of the truck with my leg sticking out the window smoking. My brother sat silently in the driver’s seat. I thought it might be a good idea to take a couple hits of acid, just to keep me awake.

Eventually I climbed out the back window and headed to the door of the warehouse. There were a lot of people milling around outside. It didn’t look anything like a club. I felt out of place. It was more like an open construction supply house, or a lumberyard that was more parking lot than anything else. That kind of place is a lot more common now, but I’d never been anywhere like this before.

Before I could even get to the door, some guy with an army jacket and his drunk and friend in a bright blue ski sweater grabbed me by the shoulders and held me in place. I was very drunk, and very high. I just looked at them blankly.

“Is this the guy?”

The friend’s eyes rolled up in his head. “Yeah.” He said, almost unconscious.

“What’s your problem?”

“You’re my problem you fucking dick!” Said the guy in the army jacket. He pulled out a little knife and made twisting motions with it.

Oh shit.

I ran. I didn’t pay to get in, I just ran past the people working the door and into the warehouse.

Inside Joe explained it all to me. This clown in the ski sweater had jumped him. For no reason, he’d never seen that guy before. Joe had pulled out his switchblade and stabbed the guy in the knee.

“In the knee?”


“How the fuck did you do that?”

“I don’t know.”

“Let me see you knife.”

“It’s still in the guy’s knee.”


The Circle Jerks came on. They sucked. They wore cowboy hats and played slow country songs. They were trying to take the piss out of San Francisco. After a decade of taking grief from us for being suburban, suntanned and new wave, LA was the shit. They were, it was true. Somehow they’d figured out how to stay out of the sun and get angry enough to make some really good records. So they just chugged away and howled into the mics, mocking us. Pissing everyone off.

I was ready to leave, but no one else wanted to go. They were all waiting to see if they were going cut this shit out and play some of the songs that everyone liked.

‘Got a date
Can’t be late
If she don’t show up
I’ll masturbate!’

They fucking sucked. This fucking sucked. Why did I even come?

I felt something big slam into the back of me. I thought it was some idiot slam dancing by the bar instead of in the pit. When they slammed into me again I turned around to see what was going on.

“You should be dead mother fucker!” growled the guy in the army jacket. He was still holding the knife and standing about three inches way from me.

I did what any drunk junkie would do, I ran again. I bolted across the room and ducked behind the makeshift bar area. It was a line of folding tables with two older people sitting behind them on swivel chairs.

I leaned against the wall and scanned the crowd. I couldn’t see the guy. I figured I was gonna be ok.

The punch hit me in the side of the head. I dropped to the ground and scooted back toward the wall.

“I am gonna kill you, you little faggot!” Raged my opponent.

I looked up at this guy. He had curly, long hair, and wild clear eyes. He raged at me with both fists, and began kicking me. I was on the floor, up against the wall and managed to squirm away from him. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was actually shouting for help.

My voice was so hoarse that no one could hear me over the music.

I got up and started to run again. The guy in the army jacket grabbed me by the hair and held on. He was swinging the knife with his other hand. I felt it slashing at my back. I looked at the two older people in the swivel chairs. They had scooted and were watching us. I remember thinking that they looked out of place. Why were they there? Who were they? Did they own this place? Why weren’t they helping me?

Finally I felt the hair tear out of my head and I was free. I darted across the room and was headed for the door. All I could think of was my brother asleep in the truck. I would jump into the back window and cover myself in the blanket. When the coast was clear we’d get the fuck out of there.

I was almost to the door when Joe and a couple of other people gathered around me. I stopped and said, ” That dude is crazy, and he fucking stabbed me.” I reached my hand behind me and felt the blood. My shirt was slashed and it was warm. I raised my hand and showed Joe the blood.

“Come on man, let’s get him.”

“I am out of here dude.”

They looked at me in wonder. Why was I running? But the question didn’t get answered. The crowd kind of parted, and there he was. He was with his friend in the ski sweater. He reached his hand out to me. And I am sad to say that I dropped to the floor and crawled under the table. He kneeled down and peered under the table at me. He was saying something. I was screaming. I was terrified.

They all pulled me out by my feet and helped me up to my feet. I was shaking. Totally fucking freaked out.

The guy in the army jacket explained that he had been mistaken. Someone has stabbed his friend, and then the two of them had been going around looking for the guy who did it. Apparently the guy in the ski sweater had accused about eight of nine people of stabbing him, and this guy had beaten them all up before he realized that his buddy was too drunk to tell who had stabbed him.

He apologized to me, and we shook hands. I was relieved, stunned, the acid was fucking this up. This was not how it was supposed to go down. I was tough. This wasn’t me. Who was this?

“There’s one thing I want you to do.” He whispered into my ear.


“I want to you to shake hands with my friend so I can get this over with.”

“No way.”

“Dude.” The guy in the army jacket stared at me menacingly.

He was the master of my butt in that moment. I had no choice. I was so fucked.

I walked up to the clown in the ski sweater with the knife stilling out of his knee. He had his eyes closed, and his pant leg was dark and wet.

I took hold of his hand and said “Sorry man.”

“On your knees” He said.


“Get on your knees.”

I looked at the guy in the army jacket. He was looking down, scratching his eye with his thumb.

“You heard him.”

“Yeah, you heard me.”

I got down on one knee, still holding his hand. I looked around at the faces of my friends. They looked distant. Disappointed in me.

As much as I want to tell you that I jumped up like a panther and strangled this idiot, smashing his head into the concrete floor until it gave. How blood and brains spread out all over the ground, spattering everyone and steam rose up into the air as I killed him. With my friends defending me, restraining the guy in the army jacket while I killed his worthless sack of shit friend. And then, with the cause of this issue out of the way, I turned to the master of my butt and shouted “Come On!” We locked into combat, my friends beside me. Slashing at this ass hole. Beating him down until he was, himself, a screaming, crying mess. Maybe we let him go. Maybe we chopped him up and stuffed both of their corpses into a plastic bag. But that’s just not what happened.

What happened was that I held his hand, on one knee and said, “I’m sorry.”

Table of contents
Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 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