J&R: You are well known for playing Lieutenant Commander Data on Star Trek, how did you get this role and were you a fan of Star Trek?
Brent Spiner: Not much mystery here. I auditioned. My agent sent me the script and I thought the character of Data could ultimately be fun and interesting to play. Also, I was convinced that the show (which was pre-sold for a year) couldn’t last very long and I wouldn’t be stuck on a t.v. series. I could pay my debts off and get on with my career. I clearly have no talent for determining what will succeed or fail. I think I had about six auditions for the part and finally, to my good fortune, they gave it to me.
J&R: Your latest CD ‘Dreamland’ has you teaming up with Maude Maggart. How did you two come together?
BS: I had put a script of sorts together and was looking for a female vocalist to sing with. While driving down Pacific Coast Highway listening to the Jonathan Schwartz show, I heard this miraculous singer doing a Cole Porter number called, “Looking at You”. I was completely overwhelmed. I knew at that moment I had to have her on my CD. I got in touch with her publicist and sent her the script and, thank God, she agreed to do it. She is such a great artist and a wonderful young woman as well. It was thrilling working with her.
J&R: How would you describe your musical style?
BS: Do I have a style? I guess you’d say, a little bit of Broadway, a little bit of crooning, a little bit of every singer of Standards I’ve ever loved.
J&R: Who are some of your musical influences?
BS: Well, obviously, the Chairman. I think anyone who sings from the Great American Songbook owes a debt to Sinatra for showing us how perfectly it can be done. I actually think Maude may be that great one day. But I love a lot of singers. Tony Bennett, Vic Damone, Harry Nilsson, Doris Day, and of course Crosby who taught everyone how to sing.
J&R: Be honest, what’s your opinion about Trekkies?
BS: Well, if you mean the movie, “Trekkies”, I’ve never seen it. I hear it’s great, but I still haven’t seen “The African Queen”, so priorities…Now, if you mean the group of people who enjoy Star Trek on a grand scale, I’d say outside of Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa they are among the finest people on earth.
Be sure to join us at J&R on Wednesday, August 27th at 12:30pm, as we welcome Brent Spiner! Brent will be here to sign copies of his new CD “Dreamland”. Along with purchase of the CD, fans will also be permitted ONE Star Trek item to get autographed by Mr. Spiner.