enough. Regardless of his brevity, over the course of our 3-minute
discussion, Tillmann did pass on a few tidbits of information. Among
them, why he was touring again through Omaha as Sean Na Na when he
hasn't released an album under that moniker in more than four years.
But before we
get to that, an explanation is in order as to Tillmann's Sybil-like
multiple personalities: The Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter
has made a living for years performing both as the light-hearted
funkster Har Mar Superstar and the more serious, introspective Sean
Na Na. If Har Mar is Tillmann's personal tribute to egocentric rock-star
sexism, Sean Na Na is his take on sensitive singer-songwriters with
an edge, playing simple rock ballads about double-dates with groupies,
shallow party people and the eternal search for a "sugar mommy."
It's the introspective
one -- not the sex-fiend -- who is slated to take the stage at O'Leaver's
Nov. 5. This can't be stressed too often, because the last time
Tillmann played to a packed O'Leaver's (in October 2004) he performed
as Har Mar. And while there's little doubt that O'Leaver's will
be packed once again, the patrons should be prepared for a night
of singer-songwriter fare rather than costumed hi-jinx.
So back to our
micro-conversation. Tillmann acknowledged that it has been forever
since the release of My Majesty -- the last Sean Na Na CD
on Frenchkiss Records. "I made a new album, but it won't be
out until next spring," he said, refusing to reveal any record
label details. "I'm doing this tour now to get back out there
and figure out what's going on. I'll be playing about half old and
half new material."
in his band is Omahan Denver
Dalley, the frontman for Statistics and former member of MIA
Saddle Creek band Desaparecidos. Tillmann says he and Dalley go
way back. "We're friends from touring from when Denver was
in Desa," he said. "I hang out in Omaha a lot; I've got
a lot of friends there. I was initially drawn to Omaha by the music,
and because it's a pretty close drive."
friendships often play a role in his touring life. For example,
Sean Na Na just finished opening a leg of a sold-out tour for super-hot
indie band The Hold Steady, who also happens to be from Minneapolis.
"When I was in my first band, we shared practice space with
those guys and have been friends for a long time. Touring with them
From this point
in the call, Tillmann's answers became short. So was it true that
he insisted on playing the smallish O'Leaver's even though he could
probably fill a larger club? "Yeah. We'd rather play somewhere
where it's packed than a room that's under sold."
All right, so
is Har Mar dead? "I'm gonna do this for awhile. If I do the
Har Mar stuff again, it won't be for a long time."
Are you burned
out on Har Mar? "I was. I'm not really any more. I don't prefer
one over the other. Anything else?"
Yeah -- can
you tell me anything that will help me write this article? "Not
really. There's tons of stuff going on, but like I said, I don't
want to talk about it because I'll jinx it. I will say that I can't
wait to come to Omaha and steal everyone's girlfriends."
Published in The Omaha Reader Nov. 1, 2006.
Copyright © 2006 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.