The mayor of Minneapolis declared Sept. 13, 2013 as “Har Mar Superstar Day,” in honor of a man whose soulful, hyper-sexual R&B stylings have been overshadowed by his resemblance to porn star Ron Jeremy and a stage show that includes the singer clothed in nothing more than a pair of tighty-whities.
The declaration is just the latest unexpected development in a career that kickstarted more than a decade ago when Sean Tillmann started performing as Har Mar Superstar, a moniker inspired by the HarMar mall in St. Paul, Minn., where the singer spent much of his youth watching movies and eating mediocre pizza. Har Mar would go on to collaborate in one way or another with everyone from The Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Tenacious D and Red Hot Chili Peppers, all likely seduced by his unorthodox appearance and unabashedly flamboyant performances.
Har Mar’s latest album, 2013’s Bye Bye 17 (released via Julian Casablancas’ Cult Records), opens with “Lady, You Shot Me,” a blast of classic Soul marked by a jaunty horn section and an emotive vocal performance that would yield a nod of recognition from Al Green. Better yet is “Prisoner,” a funky ode to the power of love that might even convince skeptics that Har Mar Superstar is more than just an irony-driven novelty act.
HAR MAR SUPERSTAR performs at Over-the-Rhine's MOTR Pub on Saturday, March 8. Details here .