- This article is about the San Jose, California band. For their eponymous album, see Smash Mouth (album). For the Omaha, Nebraska band, see Smashmouth (Indie rock band).
Smash Mouth is a pop rock band from San Jose, California.
Formed in 1994, the band comprised Steve Harwell (lead vocals), Greg Camp (guitar), Paul De Lisle (bass), and Kevin Coleman (original drummer). Their hit songs include "Walkin' on the Sun" (1997) and "All Star" (1999).
Focused at times playing third wave ska music, the band has adopted retro styles spanning several decades of popular music, as well as performing covers of popular songs such as The Monkees' "I'm a Believer", War's "Why Can't We Be Friends" and The Beatles' "Getting Better" as well as cult favorites such as the The Four Seasons' "Can't Get Enough of You Baby", which was covered by Question Mark & the Mysterians, (though their version owes more to The Colourfield's interpretation; in fact, the band at first believed it was a Colourfield original). They usually release one cover version per studio album. The band's 1999 release Astro Lounge is their most critically and commercially successful album to date.
In 1994 in San Jose, California, Steve Harwell was a veteran of a disbanded rap
group called F.O.S. which had released only one single, "Big Black Boots", available only on vinyl. His former manager was Kevin Coleman
. Harwell wanted to form a rock
band, so Coleman introduced him to friends guitarist Greg Camp
and bassist Paul De Lisle
, both veterans of a local punk band called Lackadaddy. They met and held their first rehearsal later, with Coleman on drums. They named themselves Smash Mouth after a football
term coined by Chicago Bears
coach Mike Ditka
, describing a style of hard, straightforward and bare-knuckles rock-and-roll. For the most part, the band played ska punk
, somewhat popular at the time, although Harwell has since claimed that the band is variously influenced.
Smash Mouth got its break in 1996 when San Jose rock radio station KOME played a demo of the band's song "Nervous in the Alley" which achieved some notoriety. The group was signed by Interscope Records after a show, and Smash Mouth released a first album, Fush Yu Mang the next year, sporting a title in a font suggesting Oriental characters.
Fush Yu Mang
"Fush Yu Mang" is an intentional misspelling of "Fuck you, man." Fittingly, this is the only Smash Mouth album to be awarded the Parental Advisory logo.
"Walkin' on the Sun" was Smash Mouth's first major single, released in 1997 (see 1997 in music
). The opening riff and backbone of the tune is borrowed from the opening riff of "Swan's Splashdown", from the 1966 Perrey and Kingsley album The In Sound From Way Out!
(considered to be the first-ever mainstream electronic music album). The lyrics in "Walkin' on the Sun" present an ironic and implied Generation X
view of the hippie
movement: that it extolled ideals of peace and love, then exchanged them for commerce. The song was the lead single from Fush Yu Mang
. The album combined light-hearted fun with songs exposing a darker side, such as "Disconnect the Dots" and the aforementioned "Nervous in the Alley". "Let's Rock" did moderately well as the third and final single, and the album went double platinum
. The song "Can't Get Enough of you Baby" was featured in the film Can't Hardly Wait
, and the video was included as bonus material on VHS. The video included an appearance by Jennifer Love Hewitt
. "Can't Get Enough of You Baby" has also more recently been used in television advertisements for the pizza
chain restaurant Pizza Hut
Smash Mouth released their second album, Astro Lounge
, in 1999 (see 1999 in music
). This album involved much less of the band's previous ska
influence. It is more laid back, sophisticated and retro-sounding, and to a point, poppy
. Although the change drove away some of the original fanbase, many new fans discovered Smash Mouth, and Astro Lounge
is possibly the most critically acclaimed album from the group.
The Astro Lounge single "All Star" became popular in mid-1999, and it was featured on the soundtracks for the films Mystery Men and Inspector Gadget and later Shrek and Rat Race. "All Star" was followed by another single, "Then the Morning Comes". "Stoned" and "Waste" followed and did moderately well as singles. Astro Lounge was certified triple platinum. Kevin Coleman quit the band following the release of Astro Lounge due to lower back problems. He was replaced on tour by Mitch Marine (formerly with Tripping Daisy and Brave Combo) and later by Michael Urbano.
An instrumental cover of "Then the Morning Comes" by David Benoit subsequently became a hit on smooth jazz radio stations.
In 2001 (see 2001 in music
), Smash Mouth covered The Monkees
hit "I'm a Believer
". It was featured on the Shrek
movie soundtrack as well as Smash Mouth's
self-titled album Smash Mouth
. However, as the song was released on the Shrek
soundtrack first, it is believed many people purchased that album instead of Smash Mouth's
own, contributing to poorer sales than their previous albums. Nonetheless, Smash Mouth
had moderate success. With its singles "Holiday in My Head", "Pacific Coast Party", and "Shoes n' Hats" to support it, the album was certified Gold
despite the relative competition of the Shrek
Get the Picture?
Get the Picture?
was the next Smash Mouth album, released in 2003 (see 2003 in music
). The album sold a disappointing 33,000 units, especially compared to the way Smash Mouth has sold in the past. A moderately popular single, "You Are My Number One" attracted some attention, while the singles "Hang On" and "Always Gets Her Way" flopped. Due to the low sales as well as the band's concerns of loss of creative control, Smash Mouth was dropped from Interscope
. 2003 also saw the release of the animated film The Jungle Book 2
which features the band on the soundtrack singing the Sherman Brothers
song "I Wanna Be Like You
Following their signing to Universal Records, Smash Mouth released a greatest hits compilation All Star Smash Hits in 2005 (see 2005 in music). The album contains some of the more popular songs from previous Smash Mouth albums, as well as songs from soundtrack albums which were not on the band's own releases. On certain networks and timeslots, the album was advertised as having 18 tracks, including Flo and Beer Goggles. Smash Mouth played at Gumby's Birthday Celebration in August 2005.
Gift of Rock
In December 2005, the band released a Christmas
album Gift of Rock
. It featured covers of Christmas songs by many artists, such as The Kinks
and The Ramones
, and one original song, "Baggage Claim".
Hiatus, Old Habits
Smash Mouth's fifth studio album, Old Habits
, was expected to be released in early 2006. The band had said that the album was much more like the Ska Punk featured on Fush Yu Mang
and The East Bay Sessions
. In September 2005, the band performed what was tentatively going to be the album's first single, "Getaway Car", on Last Call with Carson Daly
. The album was delayed many times, in the hope of gaining publicity with Steve's appearance on the reality show The Surreal Life
. Some time after recording Old Habits
, Smash Mouth returned to the studio to see if they could write better songs than the ones they had written for Old Habits
, in the hope of making the record better. Old Habits
was shelved, replaced by Summer Girl
, which included some remixed Old Habits
tracks as well as new songs. After being delayed in much the same way Old Habits
was for several months, the album was released on September 19
. Smash Mouth let Sony Pictures use much of their music from Summer Girl
and other songs for the movie Zoom
, whose opening titles credit the film's music to the band.
Summer Girl and Future
Before the release of Summer Girl
, the Smash Mouth community was surprised to learn that drummer Michael Urbano, who seemed very enthusiastic about the band, left on February 14
due to creative differences. The band found a new drummer, Jason Sutter, best known for his work with American Hi-Fi
and The Rembrandts
. The band released their new album, Summer Girl
later that year. Despite its limited commercial success, fans hailed it as the band's best work since Astro Lounge
. In early 2007, just one year after joining the band, Jason Sutter left Smash Mouth to play drums for former Soundgarden/Temple of the Dog/Audioslave front man, Chris Cornell. Fill-in drummer Mitch Marine returned to Smash Mouth and has said that this time he will be a permanent member.
In July 2008, Greg Camp left the band to focus on his other music projects and has been replaced by Leroy. Despite losing their main songwriter, the band is currently back in the recording studio, and according to Steve Harwell's myspace page, the new album will be out sometime in late 2008.
Steve Harwell is currently working on a solo country album.
Steve Harwell — lead vocals (1994-present)
Steve "Smash Mouth" Harwell (January 9, 1967, Santa Clara, California) is an American musician. He is the lead vocalist for the band Smash Mouth and former lead vocalist for the unsigned myspace band, radio Angel.
Harwell has credited Van Halen, The Waterboys, and Elvis Presley as musical influences. He formed the band Smash Mouth in 1994 with Greg Camp, Kevin Coleman, and Paul De Lisle. He was previously a rapper in a group called F.O.S.
Harwell was featured in the sixth season of VH1's Surreal Life, and has appeared on many other television and radio shows, as well as making an appearance in the movie Rat Race.
Harwell's 6 month old son Presley died in July 2001 from acute lymphatic leukemia
. Subsequently, Harwell created a medical research fund in Presley's name.
Greg Camp — lead guitar, backing vocals (1994-2008)
(born Gregory Dean Camp on April 2
in West Covina
) is a guitarist and main songwriter for the band Smash Mouth.
Camp has written some of Smash Mouth's most memorable songs of the later 1990s and early 2000s, including "All Star
" and "Then the Morning Comes". He also provides backup vocals to lead vocalist Steve Harwell
Camp credits KISS and Van Halen as his early influences. He insists that he reads every bit of fan mail that the band receives. Camp believes checking the mail helps him keep track of how many people love Smash Mouth, and how many people hate them. He has nothing against downloading music over the internet, and admits that he frequently gets his music in that fashion. Camp believes that the key to succeeding in the music industry is to be able to constantly reinvent oneself.
In the summer of 2008, the Smash Mouth myspace announced that Camp would be leaving the band to focus on his other projects, including The Maids of Honor and his solo career. His solo album Defektor, is to be released on September 9, 2008 on Bar/None Records.
Paul De Lisle — bass, backing vocals (1994-present)
Paul De Lisle
(born Paul Gerald De Lisle, 13 June 1963
) is the bassist
with the 1990s alternative rock band
, Smash Mouth.
De Lisle has been with the band for their whole career so far, and is known for being the "long haired guy" in the group. Aside from Smash Mouth, DeLisle is also an avid surfer, which may be an influence on surf sounds in Smash Mouth's music. He was also the writer of the band's single "Pacific Coast Party".
Additional stage musicians
- Mitch Marine — drums, percussion (1999-2000, 2006, 2007-present)
(Played on the Astro Lounge Tour, some parts of the Summer Girl Tour, as well as the current drummer)
- Leroy — guitar (2008-present)
- Michael Klooster — keyboards, programming, backing vocals (1997-present)
- Mark Cervantes — percussion, backing vocals (1999-present)
"Waste" was also released as a single from Astro Lounge. It hit the Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 Chart for a short stint in 2000.
Other media appearances
- The band appeared on Charmed, Season 6 Episode 1 miming an edit of "You Are My Number One" at a beach party.
- The band performed "Walkin' on the Sun" on an episode of The Larry Sanders Show.
- The band appear in the ending of the movie Rat Race in a charity contest, performing "All Star".
- The band performed "Pacific Coast Party" on an episode of The Drew Carey Show.
- The band made an appearance on the show What's New, Scooby-Doo?.
- The band is depicted performing the song "Come On, Come On" live in a school dance scene in the episode "Queen Bebe" of the animated television series Kim Possible.
- "Come On, Come On" is played in the movies Big Fat Liar and Snow Day.
- "Diggin' Your Scene" is played in a season one episode of Alias.
- "Diggin' Your Scene" appears in the dance video game Mungyodance.
- "Why Can't We Be Friends" is played in the movie BASEketball.
- "Virgin Girl" is played in the movie "Half Baked".
- "Walkin' on the Sun" is played at the beginning of the movie Made of Honor.
- "All Star" is played at the end of the film Mystery Men.
- "All Star" is played in the opening credits of the film Shrek.
- "All Star" was featured in the video game Guitar Hero: On Tour.
- "Every Word Means No" is on the soundtrack of an episode of Friends, Season 6 Episode 10.
- "Can't Get Enough of You Baby" has been used in Pizza Hut television commercials.
- An early version of "Come On, Come On" was featured in a GapKids commercial in 1998.
- "Walkin' on the Sun" has recently been used in advertisements for Mercury Vehicles.
- "All Star" was played in the movie Inspector Gadget.