Shatner's Had A Great Year, But A Trying One

By Michelle
November 15, 2005 - 4:51 PM

Asked what it's like to be an icon, William Shatner demurred, "I don't even know what an icon is...I don't understand it. I just plug along and talk as glibly as I can, and try to make it amusing."

Speaking to a Chicago Sun-Times critic at a party, the Captain Kirk actor said that he still dreams of the kind of success where he would be the best and be happy. He said that he has immensely enjoyed this past year, when he won a second Emmy Award, had a "fun role in a fun show" and received favorable reviews for his album Has Been. "I have visited a place I've never visited in any of the books or scripts that I've done," he said. But he also struggled with questions such as whether "What Have You Done", a song about his wife Nerine's death, might be perceived as exploitative; he recorded it for the album but said afterward, "I'll never touch that song again."

The album, which he worked on with musician Ben Folds, was recorded in Nashville. "I was in the studio where Elvis Presley did a lot of his records, and there was magic in the floorboards," Shatner recalled. "They told me stories of Elvis not coming for days, and the musicians roller-skated around the studio while waiting for Elvis; you could see the scratch marks."

Folds, he added, was extremely frank and made him work very hard on his songs. "He'd say, 'No, it doesn't ring true,'" explained Shatner. "I'd say, 'I don't think I can rewrite it. I don't know what else to do on it.' And he'd force me and force me. And I came up with it." It changed his perspective on lyrics, convincing him that "cheap 'moon-June' words" are passe and "You've got to go inside...if you want to grab someone, tell them something from your life story."

On the album, in addition to the true story of his wife's death, Shatner has a fictional account of trying to come to terms with a daughter whose childhood he missed while busy with his own life, something else with which he identifies due to his career. In the song "It Hasn't Happened Yet", he recalls being young and broke, then rich and famous, assuming that eventually he would find contentment. "At my age, I need serenity, I need peace. It hasn't happened yet," he sings.

For more, including flirtation with Candice Bergen that is "like a dance", see the original article at The Chicago Sun-Times.

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