Todd Martens, a good friend of the Hero Complex who writes for the popular Pop & Hiss blog, has written a fun look at the history of “Star Trek” as a muse for music stars such as Eminem, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Beastie Boys, Master P and others. (Somehow, though he didn’t mention Leonard Nimoy’s GENIUS music career or the LEGENDARY stylings of William Shatner.) Here’s an excerpt:
isn’t one to miss an obvious cultural reference. When his video for “We Made You” was released earlier this spring, it captured the media’s favorite shock-rapper dressing up as Spock behind Dr. Dre as Capt. Kirk.
In a clip that took cheap shots at Jessica Simpson and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Eminem’s nod to the four-decade old sci-fi franchise was about the only thing that was relevant, as box office predictors are indicating that the current “Star Trek” reboot will have the biggest opening weekend in the brand’s history.
If only Eminem had made his return with a song that had a little bit more of the whimsical, optimistic reflections of the best “Trek” episodes, then he might have been onto something. Instead, he released a tune with a fart noise.
No fear, as plenty of artists have taken inspiration from “Trek” and done more with it than wear a costume. There’s the English version of Nena‘s ’80s hit “99 Luftballons,” with its “everyone’s a Captain Kirk” lyric arriving at a crucial moment, and becoming a symbol of war posturing. More lighthearted was Spizzenergi‘s novelty punk riff “Where’s Captain Kirk?” — a geek-rock cousin to the Shapes‘ “(I Saw) Batman (In the Launderette).”
More recently, one famed Los Angeles act incorporated “Trek’s” iconic opening into its lyrics, and used the hopefulness of “Trek” to contrast with a Hollywood wasteland.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers also sneaked in a nod to “Star Wars” (a reference to Alderaan) in its “Californication,” in which Anthony Kiedis sings, “Space may be the final frontier, but it’s made in a Hollywood basement.”
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Chris Pine photo by Jay Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times