Jack-Off All Trades
Nashville - 11/07/97
Post-Rockapella life is a loony, fun-filled, "Jane, stop this crazy thing!"
blur of Seantastic activity. Having deposed that soul-sucking shrew,
Democracy, Seanarchy is proving to be a viable, if all-consuming, career
support system -- fortunate, given the sudden dearth of scapegoats.
In my new career as Master of My Own Wee Domain, I sport a bevy of hats
that would make Bella Abzug blush proud and quiver apoplectic: singer,
songwriter, publisher, manager, booking agent, publicist, stylist, personal
trainer, matchmaker, psychic Svengali, fluffer, multi-grip autoerotic
lovin' machine, bowel-quality monitor and ever-vigilant censor. Each of
these smooth-talking, pec-flexing, hairy-palmed boy wonders claims to be
the hardest working man in showbiz. Feh! Damned liars, all!
Here's what I and my hand-picked harem of cheek-bone-implanted,
widow's-peaked divorcés have been up to in my first six months as a solo
conglomerate. To keep you coming back for more, this "state of the
Seanosphere" address will appear in installments over the next eight
My independent CD,
seanDEMOnium, can now be purchased through Virtual Voices
(800/711-3627). Founded by my pal Mike Mendyke of Five O'Clock Shadow,
this new marketing enterprise will soon stock a variety of merSEANdise,
including personal wardrobe items and my legendary shorn braids.
The response to seanDEMOnium has been fantastic. My only
disappointment is that the out-of-the-box fan faves aren't my heartfelt
love songs; rather, all the praise is heaped upon my nephew Kevin for
"The Pink Pig," and my Grandpa Max for "Max & Sean's Phresh Jew Thang."
Serves me right for trying to share the spotlight with kids and old
people. Never again. I'm grateful to those of you who've purchased
this album, and I fear for those of you who have dubbed it illegally,
as you will soon perish.
Solo Acoustic Gigs |
Damn me for not practicing my guitar for the
last eleven years. How the hell did I manage to write dozens of future pop
classics without learning how to play them on the instrument of their
conception? As painful as it's been to listen to myself butcher my own tuneful
babies in the privacy of my own home, it's also been a thrill to midwife each
song's rebirth on guitar.
My first public guitar performance was at an event hosted by
singer/songwriter Leif Arntzen at the Fez on July 8. He and two other
musicians accompanied my diffident guitar playing on "My Home." A video of
my performance is encouraging; I only looked at my hands on the two cursed
E-flat chords in the bridge, and my singing was passionate, if somewhat
cautious. I have since produced a new demo recording of "My Home" with
guitar, bass, accordion, shaker and vocals. Wanna buy it?
Although the game is young, it's safe to say that, as a guitarist, I'm no
Eddie Van Halen. I'm not even a Valerie Bertinelli. Perhaps I'm a Valerie
Harper, which isn't such an offbeat comparison given Rhoda Morgenstern's
success as a sarcastic unmarried Jew with an eating disorder who enjoyed
solo spin-off success.
My true solo debut was an unadvertised affair in October at a cozy East
Village acoustic room called Hotel Galvez. Armed with only my pint-sized
acoustic/electric Tornado-brand axe, I charged through "Presto Change-o,"
"My Home" and "Person" with a rhino's fury and a peacock's aplomb. My
sassy psychedelic-blue shirt and clashing velvet pants scalded a woman's
cornea, caused one spectator to suffer an epileptic seizure, and another to
projectile vomit into a cloth napkin which is since rumored to have fetched
$6,500 at Sotheby's. I give good gig.
Hey Hey, We're The
I've begun rehearsing with the first
incarnation of my hired backup band: Matt on guitar, Jeff on bass, and Tony on
drums. Their stage names, however, will be Scott, Barry and Elliott, as I'll
have a grand old time bossing them around with no fear of reprisal. These guys
can all sing, and I'll play rhythm guitar so as to best sabotage the band's
chances of ever being really tight.
My good friend Tony James was in Blind Dates with me from 1985 through the
band's demise in 1988. He's a charismatic performer, a world-class
drummer and a former Stomp cast member, and he will star in the
forthcoming Disney TV series, Out of The Box.
I haven't yet sussed out the wardrobe angle for my band, but the Seanarchy
fashion consultant (me, with a perfumed ascot and an attitude) has decreed
that the backup musicians will wear moth-chewed potato sacks while I sport
a white, sequined jumpsuit with an enhanced codpiece, which allows for
kielbasa inserts. I'll be the tall guy in the middle.
Health, Beauty & Rectal Invasion
My vision continues to improve since my corrective eye surgery in June
(see "Vision Revision"). I rarely miss
the toilet these days except first thing in the morning, when I sometimes
hose down the wall.
I recently had my annual physical. It went fine until the doc removed his
college ring, greased up, and unceremoniously nabbed my "other" virginity.
To make matters worse, the brute then sent me out for a colonoscopy, which
is a fancy word for what those scum-bag NYC cops did with a broom handle
to that poor Haitian dude. While I drooled in unknowing, tranquilized
euphoria, a swat team of rectal detectives probed and groped and navigated
where even bats can't see...but to no avail; my smuggled Cuban cigar
continues to mature in climate-controlled seclusion.
I'm no more bald than when you last saw me, except for my buttocks, which
were shaved to a pearly white by the aforementioned proctologist before he
anally raped me in the name of diagnostic science. My hair remains
close-cropped, not because it looks good, but to avoid contraction of Lyme
disease from those tenacious East Village deer ticks.
My most prominent facial feature, the "Altman nose," is cleaner of late,
thanks to the revolutionary Bioré deep-cleansing strips. Talk about
instant gratification; these things rock my blackhead world! You wet your
nose, lay the strip in place, wait ten minutes, and peel away a festering
load of toxic crud. Be careful, though; I peeled too vigorously the first
time I tried it, and yanked my left lung out through my nasal pores.
I continue to pump iron despite my friend Billy Straus' sage advice: "The
bigger you get, the smaller your penis looks." I aerobicize for thirty
minutes every day so that I can eat like a cow every night. I even moo
and eat from a trough, all the while swatting flies with my whip-like tail.
Sometimes I fall asleep standing up and kids sneak up and tip me over.
Damned pranksters. I'll get even someday and "accidentally" trample them
I'm putting the finishing touches on a five-to-seven-minute
"day-in-the-life" video called "Planet Sean." The piece intercuts music
video-type footage with scenes from a supposedly typical SeanDay: waking
up; eating; primping; evacuating; harassing local merchants; serenading
pedestrians; taunting cops; pumping iron; whupping a trio of
nine-year-olds in basketball; shooting pool with my homeys; and winding
down with a jug of moonshine, a cigar, and the finest in adult video
I'll use "Planet Sean" to market myself to the television, film and
music industries as an aging-but-still-breathing aspiring rocker with
the gift of gab, a honey throat, pop music smarts, a winning smile, an
introspective soul and a pod of cruise missiles aimed squarely at their
respective corporate headquarters.
Jingles, Journalism & TV
Yes, that's my growling lead vocal on several Nickelodeon TV and radio
spots. As the producer of the radio version, I was able to bring in
ex-Rockapellas Steve Keyes and Charlie Evett, as well as local legend
Richard Barone who led the Bongos, a bright '80s pop band. These spots
were all composed by Kevin Weist, the ingenious a cappella-head who wrote
the zany roach songs for the best feature film I ever sang in: Joe's
My first "Seananigans" column for the newsletter of the Contemporary A
Cappella Society of America (CASA) was a 1000-word tirade advising groups
to hire management so as to allow themselves more time to write songs,
smoke weed, throw hissy fits, bone groupies on the roof-rack of the the
van, and swig Jack through a Crazy Straw from forbidden bodily cavities.
My forthcoming column advises groups to whore themselves til their vocal
cords bleed blue and their bank accounts swell porcine. To join CASA, with
its membership perk of a subscription to the newsletter, visit CASA's web page.
I've written a mess of songs in the last year for two Nickelodeon kids'
shows: "Gullah Gullah Island" (now airing), and its spin-off series "Binyah
Binyah Polliwog" (fate in limbo). I co-wrote the theme song for the latter
with musical director Billy Straus. Ironically, when I was but a wee
sleep-away camper, I used to sever the heads of polliwogs with my Swiss
Where In Time Is Carmen Sandiego?, for which David Yazbek and I
composed all the music, won't be renewed by PBS beyond its second year,
though it will continue to air through September. Damn...I was counting on that
dough for a few more years. Its likely successor? "Where In The Homeless
Shelter is Sean Altman?"
All right, how about just sex?
The next Mrs. Sean Altman remains anonymous and at large, but I'm confident
regarding her existence and our ability to find each other (see
"Marry Me" for a tuneful elaboration
of this deluded optimism). In the meantime, I'm readying myself for her charms
by acquiring as
much diverse sexual experience as I can (see "
rectal invasion," above). I even allowed myself to be seduced by a
lesbian with a veritable armory of body piercings. I showed her a good time,
but I expect she'd have had more fun with a magnet.
Despite my occasional bouts of promiscuity, I've managed to avoid any
sexually transmitted diseases. I guess the morning-after "Yoo-Hoo method"
really works. My sexual Achilles heel is my continued condom
confoundedness; I'm as clumsy with contraceptives as I am facile with
alliteration. I suffer from having come of sexual age in the pre-AIDS
era; I never became versed in condom culture. The slimy things remain a
source of fear and confusion, except when I fill them with water and
bombard my hapless neighbors from the roof.
The Loser's Lounge
The lords of NYC's hip singer-songwriter scene regularly band together
to pay homage to our songwriting idols. Backed by a stalwart combo called
the Kustard Kings, the Loser's Lounge has paid tribute to Elton John, Burt
Bacharach, Brian Wilson, Randy Newman, the Bee Gees and Henry Mancini, to
name a few. These sold-out shows are typically performed several times a
year at the Fez, a subterranean East Village club. Host/bandleader Joe
McGinty encourages participants to stretch beyond their normal limitations;
he gets rock screamers to croon, balladeers to thrash, guitarists to rap,
and yes, even drummers to sing. Thanks to Joe, I'm now very well
stretched. Through it all, kitsch dictates fashion, and high camp reigns
Special guests have included the B-52s' Fred Schneider, Debbie Harry,
Hüsker Dü's Bob Mould, They Might Be Giants' John Flansburgh and a slew of
local heroes and future stars. As a regular Loser, I've worked with dozens
of brilliant musicians and learned scores of pop songs. The next event is
a "Best of the Loser's Lounge," on December 19 and 20. I'm hosting an a
cappella holiday extravaganza at the Bottom Line on the 20th but, lucky for
me, the Fez is only two blocks away so I'll likely do both. (Kinda like
when Phil Collins played London in the afternoon and then flew the Concorde
to Philadelphia for that night's Live-Aid concert, except I'll be on foot
and I have more hair.)
Hosting & The GrooveBarbers
In September, I hosted an a cappella event at the Bottom Line, featuring
Five O'Clock Shadow,
Elixir and Minimum Wage. The
combination of great singing, multiple onstage collaborations featuring yours
truly, and my seven inspired wardrobe changes made for an explosive, sexually
charged evening. It went so well, in fact, that I now have a burgeoning career
as an emcee -- the a cappella community's own Bob Barker, without the
forcible-sex allegations. For these special events, "Exapellas" Steve
Keyes, Charlie Evett and I will band with Kevin Weist to form a groovy
barbershop combo called the GrooveBarbers, which is the name Rockapella
rejected that fateful, formative day in 1986. Albums? Maybe.
Unmitigated fun? You betcha! Big-bosomed groupies by the dozens offering
anonymous, deli-tray sex? Unlikely, but don't underestimate the subliminal
carnal charms of "Hello My Baby," "Alexander's Ragtime Band" and the
loin-pumping Irish romp, "Danny Boy."
Thanks for checking in, friends! Kisses all around and all over!
Last updated: December 14, 1998
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