It’s a glorious day for musical futurists who never imagined a second William Shatner and Henry Rollins collaboration would occur in their lifetimes — a moment further enhanced by the news that the two have reconvened in service of a Christmas song.
Shatner, never one to shy away from an opportunity to confuse, has announced the arrival of his first holiday album, “Shatner Claus,” with a raucous rendition of “Jingle Bells.” The album arrives Oct. 26.
Typically ridiculous, the version features Shatner working through adapted verses and Rollins moving through the chorus. Rollins does his part with the same gym-shorted energy he employed while belting out his old band Black Flag’s “My War” — except he’s celebrating a one-horse open sleigh instead of annihilation.
Shatner-Rollins enthusiasts know that the two haven’t been together on a record for 14 years, since they collaborated with pianist Ben Folds and former King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew on ”I Can’t Get Behind That.”
As for solo Shatner, the forthcoming “Shatner Claus” finds him teaming with a cast of musicians seemingly drawn at random. Folk singer Judy Collins eases into “White Christmas” after Shatner talk-sings the opening verse. Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson weaves his flute through Shatner’s breathy delivery and joins for the chorus of “Silver Bells.”
In the introduction to “Blue Christmas,” Shatner narrates getting snowed in with Brad Paisley at a bar, and then they sing the song together. The Stooges’ Iggy Pop joins in for a piano-driven “Silent Night,” singing the second verse with an earnestness that belies the general irony within. And there certainly is irony within.
The track listing is below:
1. “Jingle Bells” feat. Henry Rollins
2. “Blue Christmas” feat. Brad Paisley
3. “Little Drummer Boy” feat. Joe Louis Walker
4. “Winter Wonderland” feat. Todd Rundgren & Artimus Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
5. “Twas the Night Before Christmas” feat. Mel Collins (King Crimson)
6. “Run Rudolph Run” feat. Elliot Easton (The Cars)
7. “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” feat. Rick Wakeman (Yes)
8. “Silver Bells” feat. Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull)
9. “One for You, One for Me”
10. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” feat. Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top)
11. “Silent Night” feat. Iggy Pop
12. “White Christmas” feat. Judy Collins
13. Feliz Navidad feat. Dani Bender