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Chopper asked to be in our band back in 1999 (we already had chosen somebody else who ended up annoying us) and then we kept running into and hanging out with him at concerts and car shows. We became friends. He shares the same passions as we do and every time we ran into him he looked like he was ready to step on stage with the Cramps. He was in Mr. Badwrench and before that he was in the Maus Maus when he was a teenager.
My mom’s disease, Hodgkin’s disease, wiped us out financially. We eventually lost our businesses. I understand we’re all one car wreck from needing help.
But what it told Lindsey Graham, above all else, is that family, friends and faith really do matter. I’m a lucky man to have had all the support I’ve had all these years.
1973 was the first gasoline crisis in the world. That year, I designed the first aerodynamic truck, eating 40 percent less fuel. I put it on exhibit everywhere. It was 30 years ahead of its time. Nobody is building it today, and everybody still has problems with their boxy cars and trucks eating up fuel.
One summer I was homeless in L.A., when I was about fifteen, and I used to go to the library to get books. I would have books in abandoned cars, in the seats, cubby holes on the L.A. River, just to have books wherever I could keep them, I just loved to have books. And that really helped me. I didn’t realize it was going to be my destiny; I didn’t know I was going to be a writer.
It was like the first time I’d ever seen Hollywood just really not do the right thing. We filmed Free Willy in Mexico. I’d come in a really nice car from my hotel, and we’d have to drive around all the crew that was sleeping in the parking lot. People making their breakfast on the ground. It was because there was a whale there that was in a little tank. It just felt gross. It felt really bad. They didn’t free that whale for, damn… at least 10 years later. The poor whale had horrible psoriasis all over him, and his fin didn’t work.
I was driving in Manhattan. There’s traffic, nobody’s moving… The guy behind me is honking just at me. He kept yelling at me. I decided that I’m gonna argue with this guy, but I’m gonna argue about something else. I’m not having his argument; I’m having mine. So, he’s like, ‘Go!’ And I go, ‘Well give me back my jacket!’ And he stopped. I was like, ‘Yeah, you got my jacket! Give it back! I said you could borrow it, not have it! You’re stretching it out, you fat pig! Give it back, now!’ He got back in his car, and he locked his doors.
I horse ride. I find it is the best way to maintain my fitness and stay physical. I have to practise anyway for my equestrian front. I do dressage and schooling too. I also do physical training where I work on my neck and upper body strength. Racing is a high endurance sport and you are in the car for a long time so this area is crucial.
My father was a racing driver, his name is Don Halliday. I grew up with it all around me. I have always been into fast, dangerous sports, even as a child. As soon as I got in a car I knew it was for me and that I would enjoy racing and competing. My mother was also involved in Solo One. She always said I was like my father and would want to compete one day.
Getting into a space suit and going outside, to me, getting your peripheral vision involved and looking at the Earth was a whole different experience than looking through the window. And it’s kind of the same on earth. If you’re driving in a car and you see like a beautiful sunset or landscape, it looks so much better if you stop and get out and kind of take it all in and that’s kind of what it’s like doing a spacewalk.
My brother was told that he wouldn’t walk, that he wouldn’t be able to play drums, that he wouldn’t be able to race a car – and he’s done all those things. He’s defied the odds, defied disability. I look at him and I’m so inspired, by his mentality and by how incredible the body and the mind are. There’s really nothing you can’t do. My brother has proved that.
My Picassos and Ferraris – those are kind of just toys. Those aren’t the things that matter. What matters in the car collecting or the art collecting is to learn about it, and then actually not the acquisition but to put them into a collection that I think is curated. You know, so something of me in the collection that the artist actually created the work. If I was going to collect art, it had to be something of me, my eye, things that appeal to me so when I looked at it, it would really look like a collection, not just an accumulation of stuff.
It was so embarrassing, everytime I see it, I blush. Imagine if you saw yourselves like that. It’s one thing to get dressed up and do the movie star thing, but I mean, it’s my job to be outside of that and it’s not like I’m on the outside when they’re all watching me. [About the famous car wash scene from One Night at McCool’s]
[My father] was always upset that my mother didn’t want to live in New York. Because he said he wanted to live in a hotel and not have to mow the lawn and all that. In other words, he never liked sports clothes, he always liked to be dressed up formally, 24/7. And he drove big cars and, you know, just loved to act the banker.