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William Shatner Joined by Zakk Wylde and Mike Inez on Covers Album

William Shatner
Christopher Polk, Getty Images

After months of rumors, actor William Shatner has confirmed the news of his concept album that includes contributions from some of music’s most iconic metal and rock musicians. ‘Searching for Major Tom’ is set to hit stores next month, and features the likes of guitar great Zakk Wylde and Alice in Chains bassist Mike Inez, among others.

“It’s staggering because half of them, so I’m told, sought us out, and the other half jumped at the chance,” Shatner tells Metal Hammer. “So we have twenty of some of the greatest musicians alive. The accumulation of talent on this album is phenomenal. I’m bowled over!”

The album’s character, Major Tom, was inspired by the character of the same name from David Bowie’s 1969 single ‘Space Oddity.’ Naturally, Shatner covers the tune on the album, among other classic hits such as Black Sabbath‘s ‘Iron Man,’ Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man.’

“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,’” says Shatner. “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.”

Shatner was in awe of the musicianship and caliber of artistic talent taking place throughout the making of ‘Searching for Major Tom.’

“A lot of these artists [on the album] just laid it down on the track and sent it in,” notes Shatner. “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. 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!”

‘Searching for Major Tom’ is set to hit stores on Oct. 11.

William Shatner, ‘Searching for Major Tom’ – Track Listing:

1. ‘Space Trucking’ (Deep Purple) – Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice and Johnny Winter on guitar
2. ‘She Blinded Me With Science’ (Thomas Dolby) – Bootsy Collins on bass and Patrick Moraz (ex-YES and Moody Blues) on keyboards/synth
3. ‘In a Little While’ (U2) – Manuel Gottsching from Ash Ra Tempel on guitar
4. ‘Empty Glass’ (The Tea Party) – Michael Schenker (UFO/Scorpions) on guitar
5. ‘Lost in the Stars’ (Frank Sinatra version) – Ernie Watts on saxophone
6. ‘Twilight Zone’ (Golden Earring) – Warren Haynes (Gov’t Mule/Allman Brothers) on guitar
7. ‘Space Cowboy’ (Steve Miller) – Brad Paisley on guitar and vocals
8. ‘Rocket Man’ (Elton John) – Steve Hillage (ex-Gong member) on guitar
9. ‘Space Oddity’ (David Bowie) – Ritchie Blackmore (ex-Deep Purple) on guitar and Alan Parsons on keyboards
10. ‘Spirit in the Sky’ (Norman Greenbaum) – Peter Frampton on guitar
11. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (Queen) – John Wetton (Asia) on bass and vocals
12. ‘Silver Machine’ (Hawkwind) – Wayne Kramer (MC5) on guitar and Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge/Rod Stewart) on drums
13. ‘Major Tom’ (Peter Shilling) – The Strokes’ Nick Valensi and Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society) on guitar and and Mike Inez (Alice in Chains) on bass
14. ‘Learning to Fly’ (Pink Floyd) – Edgar Froese (Tangerine Dream) on guitar and keyboards
15. ‘Mr. Spaceman’ (The Byrds) – Dave Davies (The Kinks) on guitar
16. ‘Iron Man’ (Black Sabbath) – Zakk Wylde on guitar and vocals
17. ‘Planet Earth’ (Duran Duran) – Steve Howe (YES) on guitar
18. ‘Walking on the Moon’ (The Police) – Toots (Toots & the Maytals) on vocals
19. ‘Mrs. Major Tom’ (female guest vocals TBA)

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