The music of a trek to the stars
William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy discuss life, music, love and happiness as they progress through and forward a seven- year voyage of discovery. And bickering.
Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Updated: Sunday, July 19, 2009 01:07
William Shatner: I… think that this is a great album here Lenny. It… is a great look at what we'd done on Star Trek.
Leonard Nimoy: …
WS: Perhaps, you've heard my own work, including Transformed Man, and the more recent Has Been?
LN: Yes, I have heard your work. It appears to be an attempt at making music. You must accept what life brings, and live it fully. You, my dearest of captains, are not a musician.
WS: What are you talking about Spock? I am the greatest musician… on the planet, in the universe, I… am on a seven-year mission to create amazing tunes. What have you to say for yourself? Mostly covers on Highly Illogical, with the occasional space oriented tune. That isn't even original - for my second in command I find that you are far from first in the race for talent.
LN: If you hate somebody, that somebody is gonna hate you, and that somebody is gonna hate someone else, and here we go to go around again. Captain, if I must defend myself I will, but even your weirdness can't deter me from thinking that "Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" is not an amazing song.
WS: Yeah, "The Ballad" is a good song. Where did you get the inspiration for that crazy tale?
LN: The Hobbit.
WS: The what?
LN: The Hobbit.
WS: Oh yeah, I wasn't in that one, was I?
WS: I see. That's probably why I don't know about it. So, you did a lot of the orchestration yourself on your albums, right?
LN: No. I just wrote some of the songs, except for the covers, which you've already mentioned. I, of course, didn't write "If I Had a Hammer" or "Proud Mary," just as you didn't write "Mr. Tambourine Man" or "Rocket Man."
WS: I did write those songs - those songs were mine; I reinterpreted them until you couldn't even recognize them. That makes them mine. You just redid the songs in the same way they were originally done. Boring, if I must say so myself.
WS: You know, I worked with Ben Folds on my last album. Even Henry Rollins was a guest, and I covered that one British-sounding band.
WS: So, what do you do nowadays that you've given up on music, like… a wuss?
LN: I am working on photography; I am creating photographic images that represent the passing of time. I want to capture time in the same way a photojournalist would, but in a studio setting.
WS: Sounds like boring bookstore stuff. Why not make another album?
LN: I, unlike you, can recognize when my talent is wasted on a public that doesn't understand what is going on. My records are collector's items now, you know, not because they are kitschy, but because people really want to hear the music I've put out into the world. What are your records, Bill?
WS: Mine, too, are collector's items. Mine aren't kitschy either. Mine are brilliantly created, and that is why people want them.
WS: So, anyway, was "Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" about your childhood?
LN: No, it was about the hobbit.
WS: Yeah, sure, but you talk about the guy only being three feet tall. Sounds like you when you were a kid. You used to tell me stories about how you stole rings and fought dragons and were chased by wolves all the time.
LN: Hmm… that is true, Bilbo's tale does somewhat mimic my fairly odd childhood. Bill, you know I never did tell you about the time when I though death was near and I wouldn't survive; I was rescued, out of the blue, by a whole bunch of gigantic eagles. They dropped me off at the Star Trek auditions and that is how I got the part.
WS: Hey, do you wanna put on some period costumes for no explainable reason and conduct the interview like that?
LN: Sure, that should be fun. Should I take my ears off or just keep them on?
WS: You still wear your Vulcan ears?
LN: Yeah, don't you still wear your captain's uniform?
WS: Yes, but underneath my clothes, where no one can see it.
LN: Well, I like the ears.
WS: Okay, here I got a couple of Nazi uniforms and an oboe.
LN: (plays oboe).
WS: I / Am a transformed man / Lenny and I / We fought a bit / But we're good friends.
LN: (plays oboe).
WS: That was pretty good, maybe we should do an album together. You're crazy weird spoken word and deep voice combined with my insane ramblings of an old man and great production.
LN: That does sound like a highly logical way to pursue some more money. Perhaps, working together would eliminate the critics reactions towards our music.
WS: The critics? We're doing this for ourselves here, Lenny!
LN: For ourselves and for Star Trek!
WS: Any last words?
LN: Yes, a few: Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. Speak your truth quietly and clearly and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself to others, you will become vain and bitter. Keep interested in your own career, however humble. Exercise cautions in your business affairs, for the world is trickery. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars. You have a right to be here, and, whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be a peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be. It is still a beautiful world - be careful and strive to be happy.
WS: Wow. That was a mouthful. Here are my last words: You talkin' to me? You callin' me a has-been? I've heard of you, the ready-made connecting to the ever-ready. The never-was, talking about still trying. Never-bitter gossiping about never- say-die. What are you afraid of? Failure? So am I. 'Has-been' implies failure, not so, 'has-been' is history, 'has-been' was, 'has-been' might again.