Tartar Control Interview

10257005_10202912901295037_6830485413907773428_nIt’s not often you see a robot and two missionaries dressed in full uniform filling a venue for a show, but the punk rock missionaries in Tartar Control, headlined a show at the World Famous Doll Hut in Anaheim, California on May 30. Tartar Control is truly an act to be seen live, especially if you’re not afraid to mix comedy and punk rock. After reviewing their show at the Comedy Central Stage, we just had to learn more. By the Barricade caught up with lead singer, Robert Selander and guitarist/vocalist Sean Hart before their set and got the scoop about the band’s unique blend of Mormon ideals and punk rock.


By the Barricade: What is the origin of the band’s name Tartar Control?

Sean: Well, we had a vision … together … and separately at the same time of the Lord giving us instruments and said that we should create a band. This occurred after we had brushed our teeth that night to go to bed. He asked that we be his Tartar Control on earth for the souls.

Robert: We are the Lord’s toothpaste.

Sean: Exactly. Godliness through cleanliness is very important to us.

By the Barricade:  Do any religious people “dislike” what you are doing?

Robert: We try to avoid going head to head with any religious people. Actually our own church doesn’t know about us.

Sean: So if you would not tell them about this that would be best.

Robert:  I’m assuming our parents will not read your publication. So I feel that we are safe. I don’t think any official from the Mormon Church will be reading By the Barricade.

Sean: So far everyone we have met who have also been Mormon have been terribly nice.

_DSC1834Robert: To our faces…

Sean: And they have visibly enjoyed themselves at the shows.

By the Barricade: What does the writing process look like for Tartar Control in studio?

Robert:  All of our songs are based in metaphor straight from The Book of Mormon.

Sean: They all come out of our garage. That is where we record.  We make all of our own albums, our own songs, our own music videos. We operate entirely with just the three of us.

Robert:  And anyone else we can baptize.  That’s about it.

Sean: Oh, Robot doesn’t help out too much. He helps out immensely at the shows, but between programming him and his vigilante night life, he’s not much help.

Robert:  He’s full of sass and it’s hard to work with a sass-pot!

By the Barricade: The Mormon faith states followers get their own planet when they die. What would you call your planet?

Sean:  I would call mine Seantopia

Robert: Nebraska

Sean: Not the state, the state of mind.

By the Barricade: Your act is pretty versatile, what is the strangest event you have been a part of?

Robert:  One time we played a cow pasture in Chino and all we had for amplification was a piano amp and for light we had one work light. That was fun. There is video of that on our page. Also we played a 16 year old boy’s birthday party in which his father had booked us and himself as the headlining band in his living room. That was awkward.

Sean:  It was a little strange. There was that one time we played a ska show in South Central (Los Angeles) which wasn’t very far for us to go.  It was a bunch of youths.

Robert:  We were asked if we were police. Someone threw a bottle and hit a small rickety truss above our heads and rained glass on us.

Sean:  A few bottles actually, but those people were escorted out. There were a lot of balloons there.  We thought it was a festivity like somebody’s birthday party

Robert: But they kept just sucking the air out of them. I don’t know why they were doing that.

Sean: Their voices didn’t seem to change either

Robert:  They would walk around all stumbly I didn’t know helium did that.

Sean: I guess so.

Robert:  Then there was a time we were playing a show and Sean was punched in the face and his jaw was broken. That was an awkward time

Sean:  Yeah, there was that time we played at Sonora, California at a rustic country bar and the promoter fled with our money while we were on stage.

By the Barricade: What toothpaste do you use to brush your teeth?

Robert:  Crest

Sean: Aquafresh

By the Barricade: Are there any plans for another Peach Cobbler Party?

Robert: Those are things that happen yearly. There was the debacle last year where it was going to be at a place called Unit B, which closed down.  Then it was going to be at the La Habra Bowl, but the City of La Habra said, “No. No peach cobbler parties!” … the day before the event. Last year’s took almost a year and half because there was so much to do in between the first two venues, Sean got his jaw broken so there were so many things happening.  The next one may be in September … barring unforeseen catastrophes.

Sean: Or catastrophes in bars.

By the Barricade: If you could give Robot any bionic power what would it be?

Robert:  I think he is a bionic power.

Sean: He has too many already. He’s a little too self-aware.

Robert: He plays two instruments at once and he is very sassy about it. I think he is quite fine.  Though we are going to upgrade him … but you’ll just have to see.

By the Barricade: Can you share anything about what you discovered during your time undercover at Punk Rock Bowling?

Robert:  The audience smells, and even if you don’t smoke cigarettes, at the end of the night you will smell like cigarettes.  Las Vegas is hot when you are not under a stage cover or some sort of tent. I learned that pools don’t do well for 3 days when you have smelly people swimming in them the entire time.

Sean:  Who are also smoking and drinking at the same time as teaching their children to swim.

Robert:  I learned that if you vomit on cement, that’s no reason to stop dancing in it.

Sean:  I learned that Mohawks do droop on the third day.

Robert:  I learned that Sean looks like a ghost when he puts sunblock on, his already pale skin looks dead.

Sean:  That’s true, that’s why I wear my sweater most of the time. I also learned that Fat Mike (Lead Vocals/Bass of NOFX) is Jewish.  Can you believe that? I had no idea.

By the Barricade: Did you try to convert him?

Sean:  I wouldn’t, actually the last time we met him was last year. He threw us off the side of the stage.

Robert: He asked security to get us to leave while we were watching Devo. We were a little too close. I don’t blame him because it was mostly his event. We told the Stern brothers and they thought it was hilarious. We were not upset. We did learn that Fat Mike does not like it when Mormon missionaries sneak up behind him.

By the Barricade: You have a section on your webpage called “Ask Tartar Control.”  What do you wish someone would ask you?

Robert: Honestly we are very behind on our Ask Tartar Control. We have at least 12 that we haven’t answered yet and they cover the whole gamut of inappropriate questions.

Sean:  We have a lot to catch up on.

By the Barricade: Gwar is opening a “GWAR Bar”. Do you have plans for a dental hygiene clinic?

Robert:  No, not at the moment.

Sean:  We were however awarded a join Costco membership so we are flooded with dental hygiene equipment and mouthwash.

Robert:  You can buy floss in bulk. It looks like you could use it as fishing line.

Sean (to Robert): What kind of business would you like to open?

Robert: I would like to open a church, the business of giving is my business.

Sean: I think I would like to do a tackle shop more than anything else because if you teach a man to fish …

By the Barricade: Anything else you would like to share with By the Barricade readers?

Sean: We love you and we hope you love us back and if not, we forgive you.

Robert: Be sure to get 8 hours of sleep a night.

Sean: Brush your teeth.

Robert: Respect your elders.

Sean: Put your best foot forward and your worst foot back.

Robert: Don’t jaywalk.

Sean: Do give to the elderly and homeless.

Robert: Avoid gambling.

Sean: At all costs

Robert: Avoid swear words, read the good book daily and nightly.

Sean: Start biking.

By The Barricade: Tartar Control is headed on a “mission trip” to Canada and is sure to have more adventures and songs to share soon. Be sure to “Like” By the Barricade on Facebook to stay in the loop and catch them at a live show when they come by your town.

Contest time!

To celebrate our interview with punk rock missionaries Tartar Control we want to see you BRUSH YOUR TEETH!  Post a photo of you brushing your teeth and hashtag it #bythebarricade on Instagram or tag @bythebarricade on Facebook for your chance to win a Tartar Control prize pack. Winner will be chosen on June 16!  Creativity counts!

If you enjoyed this article check out:

Tartar Control at the Comedy Central Stage

Manic Hispanic at the OC Observatory

The Objex – Super Charged Little Nova Review

Masked Intruder – M.I. Review


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