It’s the weekend Trekkies have been waiting for since 2009′s cinematic reboot of the enduring sci-fi series. The latest Star Trek flick, Star Trek: Into Darkness, is out now, giving us a perfect excuse to put together a Trek playlist. Since Trek doesn’t feature rock music, we figured we’d go with rock stars who have actually appeared in Trek (what, you missed Mick Fleetwood’s turn as a fish-like creature in Star Trek: The Next Generation?), as well as famous fans of the series.
The Stooges – “1969″ The Stooges debuted in ’69 with their classic self-titled LP, which featured this skull-crusher. “Another year for me and you, another year with nothing to do!” Well, there was nothing to do after June 3 of that year, at least if you were a Trekkie (a term which hadn’t yet been coined): That was the date that the show was cancelled. Years later, in 1997, Stooges frontman Iggy Pop appeared on the third Trek series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as Yelgrun, an “overseer” for the Dominion (those were the bad guys, for non-DS9 fans). (See a couple of Iggy’s scenes here.)
The Mamas & The Papas – “Monday Monday” Though Star Trek aired on Thursday nights at that time that “Monday Monday” hit No. 1 in 1966, there’s a line here that rings true: “Can’t trust that day!” Or at least NBC couldn’t, moving the show to the dead zone of Friday nights instead of just cancelling it. The cancellation moment came two season later, with the show returning nearly 20 years later in 1987 via Star Trek: The Next Generation. And you know who was there? Mamas & Papas singer Michelle Phillips, who played Jenice Manheim (Captain Picard’s ex-girlfriend) in the first season of the show. Boom. Circle complete.
Fleetwood Mac – “The Chain” Like Star Trek, Fleetwood Mac has proved remarkably enduring. Although the lineup (like Trek‘s Enterprise) has gone through many staff changes, like the Federation, drummer Mick Fleetwood (along with bassist John McVie) has remained a constant. While you can’t miss Fleetwood’s commanding presence behind the drums at the Mac’s concerts, you’d be forgiven for missing his appearance on the Next Generation season 2 episode “Manhunt” in 1989. First off, he shaved off his omnipresent beard for the role. Second, his prosthetics rendered him unrecognizable. In this scene, he plays an Antedean dignitary who looks like a fish. Is that politically incorrect? Well, we got the idea from Lwaxana Troi, who exclaimed, “Delegates! Last time I saw something like that, it was being served on a plate!”
Rage Against The Machine- “Bulls On Parade” “Weapons, not home, not food, not shoes,” spits frontman Zach de la Rocha; it’s one of many songs where Rage stand up for the less fortunate. To be sure, in Gene Rodenberry’s Trek universe, there are haves and have-nots, but it is still an optimistic future where poverty seems to be eliminated and racism is rarely an issue (though it did pop up in the original series episode “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”). That’s a future that guitarist Tom Morello no doubt hopes for, so it’s no surprise that he was a big fan of the show, and appeared in the 1998 film Star Trek: Insurrection (featuring the Next Generation crew), uncredited as a (heavily made-up and unrecognizable) Son’A officer.
Audioslave – “Original Fire” “The original fire has died and gone, but the riot inside moves on!” That may be a bit strong, but it’s sort of fitting: the Enterprise’s “five year mission” ended after three seasons in 1969, but the passion of the fans led to a return of Kirk, Spock and the rest of the crew in 1979′s Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Similarly, the disintegration of Rage Against The Machine didn’t stop Tom Morello, Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford, who stuck together to form Audioslave. But why are we including two Morello/Wilk/Commerford songs in a row? Because Morello had the good fortune to appear in two Treks. After Insurrection, he returned in more recognizable form on the 2000 episode of Star Trek: Voyager, as a crewman named “Mitchell.” Watch his scene here.
Brad Paisley – “Celebrity” Paisley is a noted Trek fan, and while he has never appeared on one of the TV shows or films, he did get Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, to appear in this video. Paisley was also one of the many guests on Shatner’s 2011 album Seeking Major Tom (on a cover of the Steve Miller Band’s “Space Cowboy”).
– Brian Ives, Radio.com