Brent Spiner (BSS #233)

Brent Spiner is most recently a producer and performer on the album, Dreamland.

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Condition of Mr. Segundo: Ducking his head and dodging paranoid crooners.

Guest: Brent Spiner

Subjects Discussed: Natural reverb, conversational limitations, co-owning a recording studio with Dave Way, being a control freak, the shaky profitability of the music industry, self-distributing a CD through Bellarama, David Byrne’s DIY article, the lack of response from magazines and newspapers vs. the response from blogs and online sites, being restricted by self-production, the distribution for Ol’ Yellow Eyes is Back, getting mechanical rights for the songs, merging “I Love You” with “Nice and Easy,” the difficulties of getting Cole Porter’s “Let’s Fall in Love,” DJ Giagni, tap dancing and footfalls, sound effects, maracas that appear on the left speaker, arguments for and against the older man-younger woman musical trope, certain elements that are holding back Dreamland from being transposed to a live performance, the belting quality of Spiner’s voice, wrestling, Spiner’s extraordinary claims as an opera singer, Mark Hamill as a figure to help smooth over the rancor between two popular science fiction franchises, growing up in Houston, the demolition of the Shamrock Hilton in June 1987, Cecil Pickett and the brothers Quaid, Randy Quaid and Actors’ Equity, Spiner’s complex feelings for Rutger Hauer, Hauer and Whoopi Goldberg, taking umbrage with YouTube commenters, working with Maude Maggart, signing on for a six-year contract for a show that rhymes with “car wreck,” committing to a project without knowing when it will end, Threshold, negotiating the limitations of television, the relationship between art vs. commerce, why Spiner moved to Los Angeles, Superhero Movie, living like a college student vs. an adult lifestyle, and the trappings and consistent struggles of being an actor.

EXCERPT FROM SHOW:

Correspondent: I should observe that you grew up in Houston.

Spiner: Yes.

Correspondent: Of course, for a long time, the Shamrock Hilton was there.

Spiner: Right.

Correspondent: And what is rather unusual is that it was demolished in June 1987, which almost exactly coincides with your big break on the show that shall not be named. I was wondering if you ever contemplated this connection, and whether the hotel [in Dreamland] may have jumped out because of this. Why did you choose the hotel? And what of the Shamrock Hilton?

Spiner: You know what, Ed, I’m not sure what the question is really. And I’m not even sure you know what the question is.

Correspondent: No, no, I’m just throwing associations at you.

Spiner: Yeah, you know what?

Correspondent: I figured that you can handle this.

Spiner: Let me say, and I will say the word, I did Star Trek purposefully because of the demise of the Shamrock Hotel.

Correspondent: Yeah. I knew it.

Spiner: There was no other reason that I took that job. When they told me…

Correspondent: …that Houston was dead to you.

Spiner: Yeah, Houston was dead to me once the Shamrock Hilton was gone. But let me just say this. How do you know about the Shamrock Hilton?

Correspondent: I just am curious.

Spiner: Are you from Houston?

Correspondent: No, I’m not. I’ve never actually been in Texas, aside from, I believe, a layover. But I just knew about it. I knew that big people came through there.

Spiner: Yup. Oh! Please.

Correspondent: And so I figured you hung out there.

Spiner: I did.

Correspondent: When these big people made their way through there.

Spiner: I once saw Mel Torme at the Shamrock.

Correspondent: Really?

Spiner: At the Shamrock pool. Walking fast. And even more importantly, I once saw Jock Mahoney doing chin-ups outside by the Shamrock pool.

Correspondent: Did you talk with these folks when you were there?

Spiner: You know, I didn’t. I wish I’d talked to Jock Mahoney, which is another story altogether.

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Categories: Film, People

33 comments

  • ed

    Hold on there a sec, tiger. Have you listened to the whole thing? Just because the words weren’t UTTERED doesn’t mean it wasn’t TALKED ABOUT.

  • Dawn

    I used to associate with Brent in regards to selling his last CD. Turns out we were doing all the hard work and someone else was getting the credit for it!!! I had wondered why he went with someone else to sell the new Cd, hence the least popularity.

    I am sorry but I loved Brent and his work to bits but I decided to move on and leave all this in the past.

    With the constant publicity on his new music and the farce website and myspace which assuming is all to plug the new music, I would say that Brent is trying to damn hard for sales. I always thought Brent was far better than this.

  • Cindy

    Dawn has made a valid point and I agree with her. The website, myspace etc etc was all created to plug the new album. Now there is this upcoming documentary. Are things really getting that desperate for Mr Spiner? I personally think he should’ve made a sequel to Ol’ Yellow which is wonderful by the way. This new one does nothing for me and I have read reports that suggest many feels the same.

  • trekkiegirl

    Dawn and Cindy, I don’t get what you trying to say.
    Should Brent have made thousands of cds and put them in his carage and never tell to anyone about them? Of course he must do some marketing and nowadays a web page is the way to do it.

    And by the way, Dreamland is awesome and for those who don’t agree, think it as just a something new, an interesting experiment.

    I really appreciate it that Brent has started to do his own projects. He obviously has many talents.I am really looking forward to the documentary.

  • Cindy

    Trekkiegirl…..cute name btw:) Sorry if I offended you but I was just stating the obvious. For someone who once was public shy where did this need to suddenly publicise his projects come from if he wasn’t so desperate? As for the latest album I agree it is interesting but it has got to be said, it is far from awesome.

  • trekkiegirl

    I am not offended and of course you are entitled to your opinion.

    Every little store that sells something has a web page nowadays so why wouldn’t Brent have?
    And I think it is nice that I, who do not live in USA, have a chance to get the cd, because, I think, Dreamland would never have been sold in my local music store.
    Of course he could have put it straight to Amazon but it is not really a good place for marketing.

    What you mean desparate?
    Is it desperate that some big record company does some aggressive marketing for you?

    Far from awesome? Well, you are totally entitled to your opinion.

  • Cindy

    It seems I have developed a habit of putting my foot in it…sorry once again if I have caused offence. You too are entitled to your opinion and I respect that so please respect mine. My opinion states that Brent Spiner has publically shown he has gotten desperate…maybe lack of work in the acting business has caused this to happen? Who knows:) Dreamland is c**p to be frank but I do respect that there are those few who actually enjoy it. I have listened to it once and then threw it at the back of the cupboard. It isn’t worth the money spent on it. I live in the uk, like you, and I wouldn’t expect our local HMV to stock this album or any other store for that matter. It just wouldn’t sell.

  • Cindy

    ….just to add. Maybe if Mr Spiner worked on keeping his wesite updated regularly it probally wouldn’t show he had it created just to promote the album. Getting arsey with interviewers as he did on here doesn’t help either:/

  • trekkiegirl

    I do respect your opinion.
    But I really do not understand what you are talking about. Which way Dreamland was c**p?

  • trekkiegirl

    …and could be more spesific about that arsey-thing too?

    And by the way,there are some other countries in the world but USA and that where you live.

  • Cindy

    Don’t you agree that Dreamland is c**p? In which way is it any good? Don’t you realise that Spiner clearly has an attitude? That is what is known as being arsey. I see another desperate attempt to promote that rubbish is on the cards. Hmmm, Would you join in the doco? btw, which part of the uk do you live? What makes you think I live in the us?

  • trekkiegirl

    Dear Cindy,
    I live in some european country you probably never heard of. No, I don’t think that you live in usa.

    About Dreamland…story was good,beautiful,very romantic,funny. Music wasn’t bad either even there was only one of my favourite standards. I have listened Dreamland a lot and it hasn’t gone bad. So I would say I made a good purchase.

    That arsey-thing: I haven’t noticed that he had been recently any more arsey than he usually is.
    So,please, give an example.

    “Cards”? What?

    No,I wouldn’t join the doco. I guess you wouldn’t either?

  • Cindy

    Hey, what european country could you possibly live in that I have not heard of before?

    About Dreamland…still think it is c**p:)

  • trekkiegirl

    Cindy says:
    “Hey, what european country could you possibly live in that I have not heard of before?”

    I won’t tell.

    Why didn’t you like Dreamland?

  • Cindy

    Why won’t you tell?

    trekkiegirl says:
    Why didn’t you like Dreamland?

    Because I don’t wish to waste my time listening to such rubbish:)

  • Cindy

    trekkiegirl says:
    I have started to suspect that you haven’t even listened the cd.

    Why would you say that? Because I disagree with you that it is any good?

  • Defender of Dreams

    I think this is funny. Maybe I can help explain something as I worked on Dreamland…

    The album came about for a couple of reasons..1) Brent became a partner in a recording studio (a very legitimate one) and 2) He loves music, particularly the type featured in Dreamland and wanted to make another album, mainly because it’s fun and he can, especially since he now has an “in” at a very nice studio.

    As anyone in the music business will tell you, an album that has a full orchestra is expensive to make, Now add to that the many hours needed for the editing & sound fx, etc. and you’ve got a considerable investment -suffice to say it’s more than $50k. If you had spent that kind of time and money on a project that you were jazzed about and thought other people might enjoy, wouldn’t you promote it?? And In this day and age, it’s smarter to market it yourself through the internet (and for Brent – at some ST conventions ) than give at least half the profits to a label that probably couldn’t do much better with such a niche audience. Is setting up a myspace page and website that “desperate”? If that were the case, then just about every music artist I can think of is desperate. As for the “constant publicity” that Cindy talks about, I’d argue that outside of the Star Trek related web circles, NOBODY knows about this album.

    So lighten up. Brent is a very talented, creative person. And yes, there’s probably not as many acting roles offered to him these days, as happens with any actor over 50. So why begrudge the guy his creative outlets? If you’ve actually heard Dreamland (which for some reason I doubt Cindy has), I find it hard to believe that someone couldn’t appreciate the great amount of creativity that went into it. It is frankly like no other cd I know of. I wish there could be more like it. It’s a very different kind of listening experience and I give it up to him for not only thinking about it but putting it together. It’s good and I think more people should hear it.

    And BTW, I listened to this Bat Segundo interview and to me, it was Bat who. for some reason, was self conscious about saying “Star Trek”. Brent seemed to have no problem with it and was just going along with the joke, which really wasn’t a joke. From what I can tell, Brent talks about ST all the time in interviews and is very patient and courteous with what I’m sure can be a tiresome subject for him.

  • Cindy

    ”Defender of Dreams” says
    It is frankly like no other cd I know of. I wish there could be more like it.

    You are absolutely right, it is unlike any other cd. Most cds are worth the listen but this, I simply cannot waste my time. It has only been played once and then stopped after the second track. What a load of c**p

  • Defender of Dreams

    Well that’s what I thought. You haven’t listened to it. Which is fine. Though it seems for some reason (maybe having to do with your “association” with Spiner and Ol’ Yellow Eyes that you mention) that you don’t WANT to like this CD. It can’t be because of Spiner’s voice as you say you like Yellow Eyes and so you were certainly aware of his style previously. And since you didn’t even get past track 2, not only did you miss hearing Maude Maggart’s beautiful voice (which for me, is a highlight of the cd) you missed THE ENTIRE STORY!!! Nice!!

    Why you are so hostile about this, enough in fact to keep returning here to monitor and continue the bashing is a mystery to me.

  • Cindy

    ”Defender of Dreams” says
    Why you are so hostile about this, enough in fact to keep returning here to monitor and continue the bashing is a mystery to me.

    Who is being hostile and who is bashing? Not me:) Accept the fact I disagree with you and move on. In my opinion, ”Dreamland” is rubbish. A lost cause. Get over it.

  • Cynthia

    Let me state first that I am a fan of Brent Spiner. I think he’s very funny and talented.

    But I agree with Cindy. I have heard tracks from “Dreamland” and I think it’s just ridiculous. A forties kind of radio show musical comedy/drama story type thing…in this era? What a weird idea. And for me, it doesn’t work at all.

    I tend to think that Mr. Spiner must be insecure about his singing if he wanted to record this mishmash. I heard some of his first CD and I liked his singing voice. I had hoped he would put out another CD like it. But no such luck.

    I guess Maude Maggart is fabulous is you like cabaret singers. I don’t.

    He does seem to be going overboard with the publicity for this thing. In fact, that really does seem why he has a MySpace page and website…to plug “Dreamland.”

    He has a group of die-hard fans who would buy anything he put on record, so I guess that would generate some sales. But I don’t think “Dreamland” is going to set the musical world on fire.

    He’s very versatile; why isn’t he acting more? He’d be good in his own tv series.

    I’m NOT buying “Dreamland.” I too think that’s it’s an inferior piece of fluff.

  • Cindy

    I am glad that at least two of us have the same opinion about ”Dreamland” though I am aware of many others who thinks the same as us. It is inferior and not worth the cost to buy it. An awful lot of money well wasted and he SHOULD stick to what he is best at – acting. He has to keep his singing talents for Broadway only. An album of this bulls**t will not do him justice:)

  • Vicky

    Clearly the advertising wasn’t “desperate” enough since I’ve never heard of the album before. I have the first album and love it and after reading all this, I’m definitely looking forward to hearing the new one! I love Mr. Spiner’s panache! I thought the interviewer was awful, but Brent can’t help that, he just kind of went with it and played along-what else could he do? I also like that he not only read the comments, but corrected the idiot who clearly wasn’t paying attention, lol!
    Wow! I can’t believe how many times Cindy got defensive (and offensive) – and totally agree with Defender of Dreams, why does she keep coming back to this site if she hates the topic so much? I love that trekkiegirl and Defender of Dreams finally got her to admit that she didn’t even give the a fair chance, lol! One of those people who just love to hate, I guess…and if she’s going to make a habit of responding to other people’s comments I suggest she read them more carefully so she doesn’t get confused like she did about where trekkiegirl lives-who cares anyway…unless she was planning on stalking her!

  • christine j sojka

    i’m just glad that my big moo cow (brent spiner) got 2 make a cd.and that brent spiner has b come a vegetarian since bs doesn’t want to eat cows.since brent spiner now refers 2 cows as “his brothers.”(u can find that tweet on brent spiners’ twitter account).

  • Crystal

    I at one point was a pretty good singer myself and where my voice isn’t what it used to be I have to say the following. I still have a good ear for music!

    I have heard tracks from the Dreamland album. Only recently might I add but I have heard some of the tracks. Brent has an amazing voice! A fact I have long held to be true about the man. I actually found Dreamland to be a better sounding cd than Ol Yellow Eyes. Maude Maggart has a beautiful voice and I am so happy that brent Spiner introduced her to me through the medium of this cd. Her voice literally gave me chills! I have not heard many vocalists who have produced that effect in me! Brent Spiner has a lovely sound quality and he clearly enjoys what he is doing! Before you go criticing the work of a performing artist you need to remember a couple of things.

    Brent Spiner does NOT fall into the typical categories. He has to me a voice that is a throwback to Frank Sinatra styled voices. Back in the good ol days of music before cussing was seen as a necessaity for a successful album.

    Take into account the talent he has on the cd. Maude Maggart deserves crazy props for her vocals. And of course the ever talented Mark Hamill voicing a good portion of the other characters on the cd.

    I don’t blame Mr. Spiner one bit for appearing to pimp his music out. I guess if I had invested this much cash into something I would pimp it out too! He has even been interviewed asking if he was planning to do another album and he said he was waiting until he was ready to lose more cash (something along those lines) it was quite funny the way he put it.

    In closing I would like to say that I have been a fan of Brent Spiner for most of my life. I am 28 now and have been his fan sine the age of 5 when Sta Trek was the first thing I saw him in. I related to his character then because I didn’t get a good portion of the jokes that “Data” did not get. I have grown up watching him in said Star Trek as well as his other works like Inroducing Dorothy Dandridge, Threshold (CBS is a very bad CBS for cancelling that show they have not been watched since) Independance Day (I still love that quirky mad scientist) and yes even Dude where’s my car? (How on earth did that happen anyways?) I know he has done more like Out to sea Which he was my favorite character (it’s something about the “Bad” guy type I really enjoyed) So I may be a bit biased to him as he is a favorite and I have maintained a crush on him since I was so young. I appreciate the man’s talents greatly (Not to mention he is a sexy man even if he is quite literally old enough to be my father).

    Mr. Spiner your talents are greatly appreciated by your fans and anyone with a true ear for music will recognize the vocal quality. I think your cd should be heard by more young people today so they know what music can be and that one need not cuss every other word to produce quality sound.

    Keep it up Brent! LoL here is where you can insert the obligatory if your ever single in VA you got a yonug woman who would love to meet you style pick up lines… LMAO now that I have completely made a fool of myself I will close this.

    Thanks for your time and thanks for the cd! It is amazing!

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