by Tarik Moody
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To put it bluntly, Har Mar Superstar (aka Sean Tillmann) is a balding, out-of-shape white man with a pencil-thin moustache who croons sex-laden R&B tunes while breakdancing. His live shows, sung to the backing of a small boombox, usually culminate in Har Mar stripping down to his underwear (often of the tighty whitey variety). A cross between porn legend Ron Jeremy and comic actor Jack Black) is a first-class soul crooner. His live shows are not only seen, it’s an aural explosiion of soul, emotion, and a chance to dance your pants off.Har Mar SuperstarConcertTurner Hall BallroomMay 12, 2016 - 7:00pm
Sean Tillmann has been making records under the name “Har Mar Superstar” since 1999. Under the Har Mar moniker, Sean has gone through a plethora of phases, ranging from fun-loving, beats-based music pioneer (he and Peaches shared stages early on) to angry arena crowd opener (a 2002 public lewdness allegation proves it) to soul music crooner. His last albumBye Bye 17 opened a lot of people’s minds to his songwriting prowess, which has existed since day one of his career.
For years, Tillmann was an artist’s artist when The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Gossip, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and many other legends decided to collaborate and/or take him on tour. Different phases of his career brought him fame through the fickle worlds of indie, British pop, LA DJ-dom, and New York night crawling.
Bye Bye 17 was an eye-opener to the music world, not that Tillmann wasn’t used to accolades through his former work with Sean Na Na, Gayngs, Neon Neon, and Calvin Krime. Sean had “arrived as a songwriter.” After living in LA and NYC for 12 years, Sean moved back to Minneapolis, MN, where he is most creative. With the help of Chris Bierden (Poliça, Bye Bye 17), Ryan McMahon (Har Mar, Lizzo), Matt Sweeney (Chavez, Adele, Neil Diamond, Johnny Cash, Cat Stevens), and Ryan Olson (Poliça, Marijuana Deathsquads), Har Mar Superstar’s album Best Summer Ever was born.
Best Summer Ever, since its inception, has been imagined as a “Greatest Hits of Har Mar Superstar from 1950-1985.” Tillmann was born in 1978. Wrap your head around that, please.
Best Summer Ever is a slow burner with many ballads, dance-able tracks, and co-writes. Long-time friend Julian Casablancas (Cult Records founder, The Strokes), Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes, Erykah Badu, Voidz, Weezer), and Tillmann worked very closely to make the concept happen. Karen O, Matt Sweeney, and James Levy (Reputante, Lolawolf) all helped write songs on the record. Bobby Charles wrote “I Hope.” “Youth Without Love” was a demo written by Julian that was sitting around that Har Mar fell in love with, so they made it for the record.