The only thing surprising about William Shatner’s new Christmas album Shatner Claus is that it took him so long to create it. After all, he’s attempted everything from prog rock to science fiction songs to the wondrous insanity that is 1968’s The Transformed Man on his previous releases, but this is his first time tackling Christmas music. As usual, it’s a spoken-word effort where he’s paired with stars like Rick Wakeman, Henry Rollins, Brad Paisley, Judy Collins and Todd Rundgren.
The album just landed in stores, and right now you can check out his new video for “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” which also features Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. It begins with the 87 year-old icon delivering the song to a small group of children, but eventually morphs into a surreal Christmas rave once Gibbons joins the party. The whole thing is fantastically bonkers.
The bizarre nature of Shatner’s music has convinced some people that the whole thing is an elaborate joke (albeit one that has lasted a half century), but in 2013 he explained to Rolling Stone that he was dead serious about the whole thing. “I see myself as an actor with a love of music,” he said. “The spoken word is musical, the rhythm of the words and the musicality of the words is what makes music. The spoken word should not be any different than the extended notes of music. The fact that I don’t extend the notes. . . my joshing line is that extending a note is highly overrated.”
In a recent interview with The Los Angeles Times, Shatner revealed that he’s already thinking about his next album. “I’m going to work with [producer] Adam [Hamilton] on a blues album,” he said. “I’m trying to meet up with several of the ranking blues [musicians], and even if they don’t want to be part of the album, I want them at least talk to me about the blues. We all know it comes from the church and from the black experience…It’s a challenge to take on this great medium that has such a range of performs from B.B. King, Aretha Franklin and all these others. Rock ‘n’ roll has blues numbers in it, heavy metal too. I want to include all that.”