At the turn of the century, William Shatner was a 70s punch line at worst, and a cheap, novelty go to for TV and movie cameos at best. At the turn of the century, Ben Folds had ridden out the second half of the 90s with his highly successful Ben Folds Five, and released a surprisingly good solo record with Rockin’ the Suburbs. I remember when the two collaborated in 2005 to make William Shatner Has Been, but I never paid it any attention. I always assumed it was more on the Shatner, novelty side of things, and less on the Ben Folds, master pop musician side.
Then recently, I listened to an episode of Henry Rollins’ awesome podcast, Henry and Heidi, where he recounted the story of recording a song with Shatner for this album, and the friendship they’ve shared since. Henry can make almost anything entertaining, so maybe this story is all in his telling of it. But when it was done, I thought that if Shatner was half as enthusiastic about the rest of the songs on this record as he was about his Rollins team up, even if William Shatner Has Been isn’t good, it’s gonna at the very least be interesting. (more…)