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As a teenager, Hartman played both guitar and keyboards on a tour of Japan with Richard Hell & the Voidoids. He then went on to form Sammy with Luke Wood (where Hartman co-wrote, sang, and played guitar and keyboards), releasing Debut Album (1994), Kings of the Inland Empire (1995) and Tales of Great Neck Glory (1996).
He then went on to form the rock/electro group Laptop in 1997, releasing an EP, End Credits, in 1997, followed by the single "Gimme The Nite" in 1998. "End Credits" was well received by the British music press (notably NME), and garnered airplay on BBC Radio 1's Evening Session. The song used samples of Hartman's ex-girlfriend's answering machine. The Laptop single Nothing to Declare spent one week at #74 in the UK Singles Chart in June 1999.
Hartman was then signed to a recording contract by Island Records and released two singles ("Nothing to Declare" and "I'm So Happy You Failed", both in 1999), before leaving the label due to mounting pressures for him to release his album. He eventually joined Trust Me Records and released the albums Opening Credits (2000), The Old Me vs. The New You (2001), and Don't Try This At Home (2003).
As a filmmaker, Hartman has written and directed Happy Hour (1993, Best Short Film Award Berlin Intl. Film Festival), made documentaries for MSNBC's Edgewise (1997, opening night selection of Rotterdam Intl. Film Festival), co-produced Kelly Reichardt's indie hit feature River Of Grass, and has co-directed music videos for Helmet, Christmas, and his own bands. As an actor, Hartman has been in Larry Fessenden's vampire film Habit, his brother Phil Hartman's Eerie and No Picnic, and as the protagonist Severin in Joel Schlemowitz's Venus In Furs. He is now also a consultant and filmmaker for the musician's resource Musician.com.
A website also mentioned a film adaptation of the album Don't Try This At Home.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 312. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Donttrythisathome-thefilm.com/ The film's web site