William Shatner once covered ‘Garbageman’ by The Cramps and the result was as weird as it sounds like it should be.
The TV legend was 86-years-young when he forayed into the world of punk with this utterly strange cover but endearing rendition. The special cover version arrived with good reason behind it which, thankfully, explains the decision—and it wasn’t because Shatner was eyeing up a punk career.
Legendary novelty radio king Dr Demento curated a collection in 2017 which was called Covered In Punk, a two-hour compilation that consisted of stars doing punk covers of novelty songs and novelty covers of punk songs hence why Shatner was involved on the project.
The collection featured an eclectic mix of characters who wouldn’t normally find their way on to a shared release such as Weird Al Yankovic, Joan Jett And The Blackhearts, the Misfits, the B-52’s frontman Fred Schneider, Colleen Green, Shonen Knife, the Vandals, Nobunny, the Meatmen, Quintron & Miss Pussycat, James Kolchaka Superstar, and the late TV Batman Adam West. It also features the Best Show character Philly Boy Roy covering the Dead Milkmen’s ‘Punk Rock Girl.’
Shatner’s single was actually released on 12-inch last year as part of Record Store Day’s Black Friday special releases. The vinyl was pressed on 12” neon yellow vinyl, featuring both Shatner’s cover and 1980 original by The Cramps. It also features front cover art by Cramps illustrator Stephen Blickenstaff. Created in homage to his original Bad Music for Bad People cover illustration with the new cover painting the legendary Shatner in place of the iconic late Cramps frontman Lux Interior.
The Star Trek legend did release his debut country album at the ripe old age of 88 in 2018 which was recorded in Nashville with Alabama’s Jeff Cook which was his first attempt away from making parodied music which he has always dipped in and out of throughout his career. The record was appropriately titled Why Not Me? and his attitude towards trying new things should be celebrated, this mindset is what has served him so greatly throughout his career which is why he is the much-loved icon he is today.
Listen to both Shatner’s version of ‘Garbageman’ as well as The Cramps’ original below.