EXCLUSIVE: Hammer Talks To William Shatner!
As soon as we heard William Shatner’s unbelievable cover of Black Sabbath classic ‘Iron Man’, we couldn’t resist hunting him down and demanding answers. Come inside to see what the man himself makes of Zakk Wylde, heavy metal…and the resurrection of Captain Kirk!
When you get a phonecall from William Shatner, you just don’t turn it down. The man who defines the word “total leg-end” will soon release his new concept album ‘Searching For Major Tom’, featuring a host of iconic metal and rock musicians as well as a cover of classic Black Sabbath track ‘Iron Man’! Amazingly, we managed to get the man himself to tell us exactly what the hell is going on.
Not only has Bill brought in some of the finest names rock has to offer, but he’s also put together a unique, space-centred concept around the titular character of Major Tom – inspired by the character of the same name from seminal 1969 David Bowie number ‘Space Oddity’, which is also covered on the album – with ‘Iron Man’ being one of many tracks specifically selected that he feels reflect the overall narrative and theme of the story.
On working with the likes of Zakk Wylde, Michael Schenker and Ritche Blackmore, William notes, “It’s staggering, because half of them, so I’m told, sought us out, and the other half jumped at the chance! So we have twenty of some of the greatest musicians alive. The accumulation of talent on this album is phenomenal – I’m bowled over!
“A lot of these artists just laid it down on the track and sent it in,” he continues, “but in Zakk Wylde’s case I was there, and I watched a virtuoso musician, and how he works. I’d laid down my vocal with [producer] Adam Hamilton in his studio prior to Zakk, then we went up to Zakk and heard what he was doing, and I realised that what I had done was totally inadequate. I did my bit, but it didn’t have any deep understanding of what he was going to do. So after his vocal, I had to go back to the studio and lay down the track again!”
“As I began to listen with enthusiasm to rock ‘n’ roll, this sound called ‘heavy metal’ began to intrude, and the thought was, ‘this is the next level of dissent’,” adds the actor on his first encounters with metal. “And now, having done some of the heavy metal songs, I realise what it’s all about, which is the energy, the passion, and I’m slowly evolving my musical taste, as a result of the work I’m doing.”
Naturally, we couldn’t resist enquiring about the progress of the ongoing campaign to get Captain Kirk resurrected in modern Stark Trek canon.
“Well, I don’t know, I’ve not received any calls!,” he answers with a chuckle. “I don’t know, it’s apparently in the past…and the future for somebody else!”
What if we found out he was assimilated by The Borg?
“What a good idea!” he retorts. “Make me overcome the 45 years of time…”
We’ll have more from The Shatner in a future issue of Metal Hammer! Watch this space…