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Seanatomy -- A thumbnail History of Sean Altman
Sean's Family Tree
Sean's Family Tree
Sean Altman is NYC's own golden-voiced, guitar-wielding rabble-rouser; a power-pop star on the verge; defector from the a cappella group Rockapella; distant cousin-by-marriage of Carole King; composer of the infamous Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? TV theme song; reluctant poster boy for the heartache of divorce; and 6'3" tall to boot.
Sean Boy Sean
Sean was a child of the turbulent '70s in the rough-n-tumble Bronx, New York, where his rebellious gangsta-Jew attitude got him expelled from nursery school. This same moody recalcitrance led him to occasional grade-school tardiness and rampant Monarch Note abuse. His divorced schoolteacher mom and physics-professor dad successfully tamed wee Sean's sullen defiance with violin lessons and a subscription to Playboy Magazine. Thereafter, Sean starred in school musicals, charmed female classmates with hallway serenades, and traded his Coke-bottle-thick glasses for contact lenses. A summer job as a Catskills resort busboy exposed him to shuffleboard and vocal harmony. He fell in love with the latter.
Moon Pudding Moon Pudding

High Jinks
The High Jinks

Blind Dates
Blind Dates
Teen Sean
Sean turned pro at age seventeen, performing on the NYC nightclub circuit as half of Moon Pudding, a Simon & Garfunkel-style teen duo with pop composer David Yazbek. At Brown University, his political-science studies took a back seat to his burgeoning music career. By day he performed tirelessly with the High Jinks, the college a cappella octet which later spawned Rockapella. At night Sean donned his "new wave" hat as lead vocalist for his rock group Blind Dates, releasing two national college radio hits on Sean's dorm-room record label. Blind Dates toured in support of Cyndi Lauper, Greg Kihn, 'Til Tuesday, Men Without Hats, Romeo Void and Fishbone before breaking up, penniless, disillusioned, and looking pathetically like a poor man's Duran Duran.

Mr. Rockapella With Rockapella

Mr. Rockapella
Sean is an undisputed pioneer of the modern a cappella movement. He is the only three-time winner of the Contemporary A Cappella Society's "Original Song of the Year" award, and has also received the "Best Male Vocalist" prize. After college, Sean founded Rockapella on a Manhattan street corner with the sole intent of earning enough quarters to buy an order of Orange Chicken at Hunan Cottage. (This dish remains a favorite of Sean's.) His manic orchestration of the calypso classic "Zombie Jamboree" led to Rockapella's big-break star turn on the PBS-TV documentary Spike Lee & Co.: Do It A Cappella. Producers of the fledgling PBS-TV daily show Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? promptly signed up Rockapella for a five-year stint as the house vocal band. Carmen won numerous Emmys and the coveted Peabody Award while attracting a fanatical viewership of 20 million. Rockapella's career erupted from there -- nine CD releases; gigs in 1000-seat venues; eight tours of Japan; concerts with Billy Joel, Sting and Don Henley; TV specials with Jay Leno and Whoopi Goldberg; and numerous commercials. Through it all, Sean's sardonic master-of-ceremonies stage persona, warm connection with the audience, and composing prowess earned him the moniker "the Heart and Soul of Rockapella."
So why did he quit? Sean explains: "Despite the nine albums, the critical acclaim, the sacks of cash, the mid-level TV celebrity and the thousands of adoring prepubescent groupies, my creative ego-muse hijacked my heart and ran amuck, with my brain and wallet in hot pursuit. I took my bat and ball and flew solo straight to career Burger King, where I'll have it my way with extra ketchup for all eternity. I dragged Democracy out back and shot it dead - 'Seanarchy' is the order of the new day! Cowabunga!"
Sean Seanthems & Seanecdotes
Sean's songwriting career surged into overdrive with Rockapella; the band released 22 of his songs on nine CDs, including the legendary "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? " TV theme song, immortalized on TVT Records' TV's Greatest Hitscompilation. Sean's " Unhappy Anniversary" was covered by Vitamin C on her Platinum-selling Elektra debut album. Notable collaborators include #1 hit-maker Victoria Shaw, Jian Ghomeshi of Moxy Fruvous,power-popster David Yazbek, alt-rocker Patti Rothberg, journalist Rob Tannenbaum, and Noel Cohen. Sean's credits include numerous pop songs for TV, comedy sketches for MTV and Nickelodeon, a New York Times Op-Ed piece, and vocal arrangements for the feature films Leap of Faith (Steve Martin) and Joe's Apartment (Geffen). Sean's musical influences range from the soul and funk of Sam Cooke, The Persuasions and James Brown to the quirky guitar rock of XTC, Elvis Costello and the Beatles. He thinks Paul was best with music, John with lyrics, George with mantras, and Ringo with chicks.
Sean SeanGigs
As he braces for solo stardom, Sean performs his originals throughout the Northeast, either acoustically -- Sean on guitar with keyboardist Mike Pieck -- or with his Full Muscular Band, currently comprised of guitarist Matt Detro, drummer Bob Golden, bassist Winston Roye and Sean on rhythm guitar. He regularly joins other local stars as part of the famed Loser's Lounge musical tribute series.
Sean Seaneurisms
Sean enjoys five movies a week, ear-splittingly loud live music, getting about as oiled as a diesel train, and the sound of a switchblade and a motorbike. He pumps iron, shoots hoops daily, collects Beatles memorabilia, savors red meat, boasts a size eleven shoe on his 6'3" frame, has dated women of questionable character and, like many rockers, is divorced. Sean's trademark blonde braids were ceremonially cut off on the 295th and final episode of Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?

Owing to his fondness for ketchup, mustard, salsa, mango chutney and other meal moisturizers, Sean's friends call him the "Condiment King." His high school tennis team dubbed him the "Double-Fault King." He holds no other titles, but will turn none down. In 1997, Sean's life-long acute nearsightedness was corrected in a single blast of laser fury, thanks to an then-experimental procedure called LASIK. Sean resides in Manhattan's East Village in a spacious bachelor pad with an eat-in kitchen and a washer-dryer combo, which chicks really seem to dig.

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Last updated: June 7, 2000

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