WILLIAM SHATNER Talks Heavy Metal, Working With ZAKK WYLDE In New Interview

Legendary actor William Shatner spoke to U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine about his new space-themed concept album entitled "Seeking Major Tom", which is scheduled for release on October 11 via the Los Angeles-based label Cleopatra Records. Comprised of 19 "interpretations" of classic intergalactic rock anthems, the release features guest appearances by Ritchie Blackmore (RAINBOW, DEEP PURPLE), Ian Paice (DEEP PURPLE), Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE), Carmine Appice (VANILLA FUDGE, ROD STEWART, OZZY OSBOURNE), Mike Inez (ALICE IN CHAINS) and Michael Schenker (MSG, UFO, SCORPIONS).

On working with the likes of Zakk Wylde, Michael Schenker and Ritche Blackmore, William noted, "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 continued, "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 realized 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!"

On his first encounters with metal, Shatner said, "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.' And now, having done some of the heavy metal songs, I realize 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."

"Seeking Major Tom" track listing:

Disc: 1

01. Major Tom (PETER SHILLING)

* Nick Valensi (THE STROKES) on guitar
* Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE) on guitar
* Mike Inez (ALICE IN CHAINS) on bass

02. Space Oddity (DAVID BOWIE)

* Ritchie Blackmore (DEEP PURPLE, RAINBOW) on guitar
* Alan Parsons on keyboards

03. In A Little While (U2)

* Manuel Gottsching (ASH RA TEMPEL) on guitar

04. Space Cowboy (STEVE MILLER)

* Brad Paisley on guitar and vocals

05. Space Trucking (DEEP PURPLE)

* Ian Paice (DEEP PURPLE) on drums
* Johnny Winter on guitar

06. Rocket Man (ELTON JOHN)

* Steve Hillage (GONG) on guitar

07. She Blinded Me With Science (THOMAS DOLBY)

* Bootsy Collins on bass
* Patrick Moraz (YES, MOODY BLUES) on keyboards/synthesizers

08. Walking On The Moon (THE POLICE)

* Toots (TOOTS & THE MAYTALS) on vocals

09. Spirit In The Sky (NORMAN GREENBAUM)

* Peter Frampton on guitar

10. Bohemian Rhapsody (QUEEN)

* John Wetton (ASIA) on bass and vocals

11. Silver Machine (HAWKWIND)

* Wayne Kramer (MC5) on guitar
* Carmine Appice (VANILLA FUDGE, ROD STEWART, OZZY OSBOURNE) on drums

12. Mrs. Major Tom

* Sheryl Crow on vocals

Disc: 2

01. Empty Glass (THE TEA PARTY)

* Michael Schenker (MSG, UFO, SCORPIONS) on guitar

02. Lost In The Stars (FRANK SINATRA version)

* Ernie Watts on saxophone

03. Learning to Fly (PINK FLOYD)

* Edgar Froese (TANGERINE DREAM) on guitar and keyboards

04. Mr. Spaceman (THE BYRDS)

* Dave Davies (THE KINKS) on guitar

05. Twilight Zone (GOLDEN EARRING)

* Warren Haynes (GOV'T MULE, ALLMAN BROTHERS) on guitar

06. Struggle (original track William Shatner / Adam Hamilton)

07. Iron Man (BLACK SABBATH)

* Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE) on guitar and vocals
* Mike Inez (ALICE IN CHAINS, OZZY OSBOURNE) on bass

08. Planet Earth (DURAN DURAN)

* Steve Howe (YES) on guitar

"Iron Man" (BLACK SABBATH cover) audio stream:

Photo/video credit: Eric Hendrikx

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