Smash Mouth

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About Smash Mouth

Smash Mouth isn’t so much a band as a state of mind—an endless-summer fantasia where there’s always beer in the cooler, sausage on the grill, and loose-fitting bowling shirts for everyone. Though the San Jose group formed in 1994 at the dawn of the SoCal ska-punk explosion, they swiftly ditched the mosh pit for the beach party. While their peers were making the kids pogo, Smash Mouth were going to the go-go on their 1997 breakout hit “Walkin’ on the Sun,” where lead singer Steve Harwell’s surfer-dude rasp coasts on a cool hip-shaking drumbeat and groovy garage-rock organs. That affinity for feel-good, pre-punk sounds would only become more deeply entrenched through their ska-sped rendition of War’s “Why Can’t We Be Friends” and a faithful reading of ? and the Mysterians’ 1967 nugget “Can’t Get Enough of You Baby,” both of which became late-’90s alt-rock-radio staples. But to this day, any word-association game involving Smash Mouth will immediately yield the answer “All Star”: The band’s bouncy motivational anthem not only thrust their 1999 album, Astro Lounge, to triple-platinum status, it became a certified cross-generational bop when it appeared on the soundtrack to the 2001 kid classic Shrek (which also featured the group’s Top 40-cracking cover of The Monkees’ “I’m a Believer”). If Smash Mouth’s greatest successes seemingly crystallize a more innocent, pre-9/11 era, the band have continued to spread the good cheer well into the 21st century, embracing their destiny as ’90s alt-rock’s pre-eminent golden-oldies touring act. Even though they only released one new album in the 2010s, Smash Mouth still abide by the life-coach philosophies of their biggest hit: get the show on and get paid. After retiring from the group in 2021, Steve Harwell died at age 56 in September 2023.

San Jose, CA, United States

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