Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

Lyrics: John Barlow
Music: Brent Mydland

A Brent Mydland song recorded in 1988 for Built To Last but not included on the album, and played live only twice by the Dead.

It's three AM in the combat zone
Gentlemen, start your engines
You can close this bar, but baby I ain't going (note 1)
Gentlemen, start your engines
If you lock up the whiskey, give me gasoline
I got a seven grand redline on the black machine
The dead can do my sleeping, if you know what I mean
Gentlemen, start your engines

Got a little girl here in a pinafore (note 2)
Gentlemen, start your engines
She's gonna do us all and then beg for more
Gentlemen, start your engines
It's dark outside, but it's darker within
Check the back of my jacket just to see my grin
They don't write poems about the state that I'm in
Gentlemen, start your engines

One of these days I'm gonna pull myself together
Soon as I finish tearing myself apart
Let me tell you, honey, there's some mighty stormy weather (note 3)
Rolling round the caverns of my heart (note 4)

When the police come you better let them in
Gentlemen, start your engines
Don't forget to tell them what a sport I've been
Gentlemen, start your engines
I got a head full of vintage TNT
They're gonna blow me up instead of burying me
If you don't like trouble, better leave me be (note 5)
Gentlemen, start your engines

Ge-ge-ge-gentlemen, start your engines (note 6)
Ge-ge-ge-gentlemen, start
Ge-ge-ge-gentlemen, start
Ge-ge-ge-gentlemen, start your engines

Like the Devil's Mustangs I've been ridden hell for leather
Put away wet and angry in the dark (note 7)
Let me tell you honey, there's some mighty stormy weather
Rolling round the caverns of my heart
Notes
The lyrics were published in DeadBase '88 with a few differences from the version above, which is taken from "So Many Roads" (thanks to Keith Godshall for pointing this out):
(1) DeadBase had "They can close this bar ..."
(2) DeadBase had these lines as "Got a little girl here in a pinafore dress; She's got more tricks than you can guess"
(3) the version in DeadBase has the lines in the two bridge verses put together slightly differently:
One of these days I'm gonna pull myself together
Soon as I finish tearing myself apart
Like the Devil's Mustangs, I've been ridden hell for leather
Put away wet and angry in the dark
...
One of these days I'm gonna pull myself together
Soon as I finish tearing myself apart
Let me tell you, honey, there's some mighty stormy weather
Howlin' round the caverns of my heart
(4) as above, the DeadBase version has "Howlin' round the caverns ..." rather than "Rolling"
(5) the DeadBase version has "If you're looking for trouble, come and sit with me
(6) the DeadBase version has these lines as a chorus after every verse
(7) in the version on "So Many Roads" Brent seems to sing "Put away angry and angry in the dark", which may just be a mistake

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     studio 1988 So Many Roads (1965-1995)

Recordings from
dead.net Tapers Section


Futher Information
For an online discussion of the lyrics to this song see the deadsongs.vue conference on The Well.
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography
For information on references in the lyrics see David Dodd's Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics

 


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