William Shatner’s musical career has always operated from a base level of irony, an acknowledgment that Shatner’s hamminess and stilted delivery were an inherent part of the joke. There’s a similar artistic artlessness lurking at the rough heart of punk, an intentional middle finger raised to the concept of good taste. That shared interest in musical fucking around, then, might explain why this new Shatner cover of The Cramps’ “Garbageman”—produced as part of an upcoming tribute box set to legendary novelty song purveyor Dr. Demento—works better than it has any right to.
Shatner is so ludicrously over-the-top here that it wraps back around to working, ripping into lines like “one half hillbilly and one half punk” the same way he used to devour his old Captain Kirk monologues. Shatner’s “Garbageman” is only one of 60 tracks on the Dr. Demento Covered In Punk box set, which splits itself between classic Demento tracks being played by punk bands—like The Dead Milkmen covering “Lydia The Tattooed Lady” or “Fish Heads” from Osaka Popstar—and some of the show’s mainstays covering punk, like the Shatner track. (Not to mention “Weird Al” Yankovic covering The Ramones’ “Beat On The Brat.”) You can see the full track-list for the set, which is due out January 12, over at Rolling Stone.