Tuesday, 27 July 2004

William Shatner back with a new album


Produced And Co-Written By Ben Folds, Shout! Factory Releases New CD
From Performer William Shatner -- In Stores October 5th


The Brookes Company
Jolyn Matsumuro
(323) 913-7000 x202

Annissa Mason
(310) 979-5602 x204

Shout! Factory
Stacey Studebaker
(323) 913-7000

LOS ANGELES, CA -- More than 35 years after the release of his debut solo album, William Shatner teams up with Ben Folds to create Has Been, a surprisingly pop-driven, lyrically potent collection of songs written by the duo. With the exception of “Trying,” co-written by Folds and novelist Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About A Boy), “Real” by Brad Paisley, and Pulp’s “Common People,” Shatner proves to be a witty and self-deprecating poet, while Folds’ talent for crafting the perfect pop melody has never been more evident. Has Been will be released on October 5th by Shout! Factory.

Although it may sound like an odd coupling, the two have actually collaborated before, once on Ben’s solo album, Fear Of Pop, Volume 1, and when Ben repaid the favor by appearing in some of Shatner’s popular Priceline.com commercials. Earlier this year, when Shout! Factory executives Richard and Garson Foos approached Shatner with the idea of recording a new album, the actor casually mentioned that his friend Ben had been trying to get him to do the same thing. Everybody agreed and everybody signed on, and Shatner began writing. “These are thoughts and experiences of mine that very few people have heard before,” Shatner explains. “I wanted to share them with my loved ones.”

Shatner’s performances are stunning. His rendition of “Trying” is downright heartbreaking, as he depicts an absent father’s desperate attempt at building a relationship with his daughter long after it’s too late. His own droll way with prose makes a splash on “Common People,” in what could be an ode to a certain girl with a famous last name. And the album’s title track is a playful romp -- a spaghetti western score with Shatner embracing the lyrics, “Has Been.”

Remarks Folds on the Has Been recording experience, “If I thought that there were heaps of artists who were willing to be as honest, vulnerable, creativeand as trusting with their producer as William Shatner has been with me, I’d just be a producer.”

Not only did Shatner’s lyrics surpass everyone’s expectations, but friends and fans were more than willing to be a part of the recordings. Folds brought in Aimee Mann, Brad Paisley (who wrote a song specifically for Shatner), and Grammy winners Joe Jackson and Henry Rollins to contribute vocals, while Adrian Belew adds guitars and the U.K. ambient duo Lemon Jelly weighs in on “Together.” Nearly the entire album was recorded at Folds’ Nashville studio, with Matt Chamberlain on drums (Tori Amos, Fiona Apple), Sebastian Steinberg on bass (Soul Coughing), Jon Auer on guitars (The Posies), Folds on piano and bass, and with Folds’ longtime engineers John Painter and Joe Costa manning the controls.

In 1968, Shatner released a spoken word album that was clearly ahead of its time. The Transformed Man was a collection of contemporary pop songs paired with excerpts from classic literature that were thematically alike. Written-off by many as “camp,” later generations grew to see his true poetic soul and delivery, and finally understood the conceptual goal of the album. Shatner reprised his musical beginnings with the series of commercials for Priceline.com several years ago, sparking renewed interest in his musical career and demonstrating his knack for never taking himself too seriously.

About Shout! Factory:
Shout! Factory is a multi-platform integrated entertainment company that was started by Richard Foos -- co-founder of Rhino Records, Bob Emmer – former Warner Music Group and Rhino executive and Garson Foos – former Rhino executive. It focuses on audio music catalog development and home video/DVD projects and television properties. Conceived as a broad-based retro pop culture entertainment label, Shout! Factory video and DVD projects range from live music and music documentary programs to offbeat special interest titles ranging from animation to sports content. Shout! Factory DVDs and CDs are distributed by Sony Music Entertainment.

Catalog Number: DK 30349
Price: $18.98 SRP
Release Date: October 5, 2004

Track Listing
1. “Common People” (with Joe Jackson)
2. “It Hasn't Happened Yet”
3. “You'll Have Time”
4. “Trying” (with Ben Folds and Aimee Mann)
5. “What Have You Done”
6. “Together” (with Lemon Jelly)
7. “Familiar Love”
8. “Ideal Woman”
9. “Has Been “
10. “I Can't Get Behind That” (with Henry Rollins)
11. “Real” (with Brad Paisley)
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