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William Shatner

, MCT

Rocking where no Shatner has rocked before

  • Article by: Randy Lewis
  • Los Angeles Times
  • October 15, 2013 - 3:44 PM

Although he no longer commands the Starship Enterprise, 82-year-old William Shatner is still visiting bizarre worlds. His most recent? That oddball realm of prog rock.

With his concept album, “Ponder the Mystery,” Shatner is supported by former members of the band Yes — Tony Kaye, Billy Sherwood and Rick Wakeman.

Shatner’s reason for the new journey is quite simple: He wanted to find a fresh forum in which to showcase his poetry. “The spoken word, I’ve always felt, is music,” said Shatner, his speech punctuated with the familiar dramatic pauses.

He’s recorded before, sometimes just for the fun of it, as on his 1968 camp classic “Transformer Man,” and sometimes with a more serious musical agenda, as with his 2004 collaboration with musician Ben Folds for their album “Has Been.”

“Ponder the Mystery” is a concept album revolving around, Shatner says, “a guy in despair who is living on a beach, and it takes him through the last hour of the day at sunset through twilight, into darkness and the sounds of the night in which he regains his fervor, his love of life based on the beauty of what he’s seeing around him.”

Shatner wrote the lyrics; Sherwood composed the music.

The story begins with the central character in an existential crisis. By the end of the song cycle, however, the tone becomes considerably lighter, even joyful.

“I keep saying to people, ‘I hope it’s as good as I say it is.’ I need the audience to tell me that. It’s one thing to think you’re good,” he said, “but the public tells you whether you’re any good.”

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