Giving 'stripped-down sound' a whole new meaning.
Sean Tillmann isn't going to let an early winter chill cool down his spirits when he visits the High Noon Saloon on Nov. 30. As Har Mar Superstar, Tillmann has turned heads with his zany yet sultry mix of R&B, soul and pop, as well stage antics like stripping down to his underwear.
It's fitting, then, that his latest tour is with a band that don't take themselves too seriously: pizza-themed Velvet Underground cover band the Pizza Underground. The lineup includes Macaulay Culkin, star of the movie Home Alone, and they'll kick off a pizza party hosted by Ian's Pizza during the show.
Tillmann says the current tour's gigs are like "a big circus coming to town." Large turnouts have made it a whirlwind experience full of fun that ranges from rambunctious to downright cheesy.
"The Pizza Underground put on a joyous show. It's so fun. You'd think the joke would get old, but it only gets better," Tillmann says.
Tillman notes that the tour grew out of his longtime friendship with Culkin, who often joins Har Mar Superstar on tour. Tillmann says it was a "no-brainer to team up and conquer North America together" when the Pizza Underground began touring.
Har Mar Superstar will perform songs from last year's Bye Bye 17. Tillmann strived to "make a classic soul album" for this release.
"I was listening to a lot of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding when I wrote it," he says. "It's different from the past albums because I wrote it all on guitar as opposed to filling out a beat with melodies and lyrics. Bye Bye 17 is a lot more personal than earlier Har Mar albums, too."
Even though the album is more serious than prior material, he's found it works well live.
"It gives people something real to hold on to while they dance their asses off. The balance works well," he says.
Tillmann's currently working on another album and says he has "a lot of ideas bubbling up."
"I'm just excited to go deep, but I can't really think about it until the tour is done," he says.
In the meantime, he's looking forward to playing Madison, where's he has made many memories.
"I fondly remember the old days, when I'd play basement shows and O'Cayz Corral with bands like Paris, TX and Transformer Lootbag," he says. "We always had wild times, a lot of laughs and a disgusting amount of Pokey sticks from Gumby's.... Madison has always been ready for the party. That's why I keep coming back for more."
And 20 years into his music career, Tillmann is feeling more confident than ever before, so expect to be shocked and awed.
"I've been touring since I was 16, so 20 years later, it's all instinct," he says. "I try to make the crowd feel like they got their money's worth while feeding my own soul. It's always professional... and a little drunk."