#39-Around the World. Racing the Cargo Vans On The Bonneville Salt Flats.

I am living in a van down by the river.

There really hasn’t been much time the last couple of days to work on the blog. The two shows and two soundchecks etc etc have left little time for anything. And although we have mobile internet it tends not to work in some of the more remote places. Look at the map. We are driving from Lake Tahoe to Steamboat springs. A little over 900 miles. I-80 East. Reno, Elko, Wendover, Salt Lake City, Park City then US40 across the high country into western Colorado. Not much.

But right now we’re driving across that big stretch of salt flats in western Utah. The Bonneville Salt flats.

Which reminded me of a story. On the US tour for Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart we had to shuttle our two vans and equipement to the midwest from Northern California. Jackson Haring our manager and this Howie this english hippy crew guy that we sometimes used decided THEY would drive the two vans across 80 to Omaha(?) to meet the band. The band would fly. We were on Virgin Records now and we’d been touring for a few years. We were fairly confident about people actually coming to our shows, so we started doing things like flying instead of all of us driving 1600 miles.

Jackson and Howie were a dangerous combination in some ways. They both liked extreme driving. Either fast things or driving dangerous things or in dangerous places. So they had our two vans. And these guys were driving them across country?

Our older van had been nicknamed Topo Gigio. This was our original touring van. It was a homemade conversion van, but as it got older and less reliable we bought a new van. We repurposed Topo Gigio gutted it and used it as the cargo Van. I think Topo Gigio was a 1978 Dodge Tradesman? We had just bought a much newer E150 for the band to ride in. That was also part of being on a major label. New van. But we all had a fondness for the old Van. I personally liked driving Topo Gigio. So did Jackson.

And this is where the trouble starts. Jackson and Howie saw those glorious salt flats and had visions of Bonneville Speedway. Jackson found an exit and went charging off in Topo Gigio into the salt flats. Howie followed him. Apparently they were having a great time racing around in the two aerodynamically challenged vehicles when they both sunk up to their axles in the salt mud. You can’t really tell which parts of the flats are dry or wet. They are all white. This is a common beginners mistake on these salt flats. They may also have been doing this at night. I never got much of a straight answer out of the two of them. They were pretty sheepish when we met up. Somehow they got an offroad recovery vehicle out there and 500 dollars later They were on the road again to meet the band.

The Bonneville Salt Flats.

In Around The World I sing:

“Say hello to Howie and say hello to spike”

This is the Howie. I’m in london as i’m singing this song.

Spike was the other half of our Euro road crew. Spikes real name was Dino Gallasso. Which seems to be an italian name despite the fact he was Scottish. And not just Scottish but Glaswegian. The Glaswegian accent is incomprehensible to americans. Spike was the sound man. For the first week he was on tour with us we never could tell if he wanted Chrispy to play the Kick drum or there was a ”plate of cake” that he was excited about, and was announcing it to us over the monitor system.

” Chris! plate of cake! plate of cake!”

Later that very week we had a similar experience with our record company press officer. She was also scottish. She announced that ”Aye Broad Yacht A Kick”. She was very emphatic. This sounded dangerous. And Piratey.

So we were slowly backing away from her as she continued to emphatically repeat, ”Aye Broad Yacht A Kick”. We assumed this was her way of telling us we needed to take her seriously. Finally she grabbed me by the arm and dragged me to a table at the front of the pub.

On the table was lovely cake that the record label had made for us.

Around The World.

[INTRO:]
[Am]-[F]-[C]-[G]
[Am]-[F]-[C]-[G]
[Am]-[D]-[F]-[G]-[Am]

Well is it[Am] such a sin to linger with the maga-[F]-zines[C]-[G]
I want a[Am] chocolate bar made with something[F] sweet[C]-[G]
I want a[Am] stranger with your face
So I[D] followed her to this place
It’s[F] been so long – I’ve[G] been around the world[Am]

I say hello to Howie, say hello to Spike
‘Cause the canals in Camden are filled with bottles tonight
To watch the ripples fade away
To feel the rain upon my head
So I could say, I’ve been around the world

And how I wish I was in your apartment tonight
To hear the rain come down, down upon your roof
To see your clothes beside, clothes beside your bed
To lie and listen to your breath
Instead, I’ve been, I’ve been around the world

[BREAK]

And how I wish I was in your bed tonight
To taste the salt upon, salt upon your neck
To feel your body press, pressing down on me
Instead of being, I’ve been around the world

Yeah I’ve[F] been around,
I’ve[G] been around the world[Am]
Yeah I’ve[F] been around,
I’ve[G] been around the world[Am]

[BREAK x3 (FADE ON THIRD)]


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