Smash Mouth is an American rock band from San Jos?, 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". The band's 1999 release Astro Lounge is their most critically and commercially successful album to date.
In 1994 in San Jos?, 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 Jos? 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." The band explained in interviews that the name was inspired by watching an edited version of Scarface on TV. Fittingly, this is the only Smash Mouth album to be labeled by the Parental Advisory. "Walkin' on the Sun" was Smash Mouth's first major single, released in 1997. 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.
Smash Mouth released their second album, Astro Lounge, in 1999. 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, Smash Mouth covered The Monkees hit "I'm a Believer". It was featured on the Shrek movie soundtrack as well as Smash Mouth's eponymous 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, along with "Forcefield", the album was certified Gold.
Get the Picture?
Get the Picture? was the next Smash Mouth album, released in 2003. 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" from The Cat in the Hat (film) 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 Get the Picture?s run the band very much fell out of the public eye that they had been in for the past few years. As a few years went by the bands whereabouts were very much unknown to the public, with the only hints of their existence being a few songs recorded for movie soundtracks by Steve Harwell only, leading many to believe that Smash Mouth had broken up and Harwell had gone solo.
Following their signing to Universal Records, Smash Mouth released a greatest hits compilation All Star Smash Hits in 2005. 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. Smash Mouth returned to the studio intent on making their new 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 , 2006. 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 when drummer Michael Urbano left the band without warning on , 2006 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. In early 2007, just one year after joining the band, Jason Sutter left Smash Mouth to play drums for former Soundgarden and Audioslave front man, Chris Cornell. Fill-in drummer Mitch Marine returned to Smash Mouth and had said that this time he would be a permanent member. However he was replaced in June 2009 when Michael Urbano returned.
The band is currently back in the recording studio, and according to Smash Mouth's MySpace blog, a new album was to be out sometime in early 2009. The group recently appeared on the 2009 Darryl Worley album entitled Sounds Like Life on the track "Don't Show Up (If You Can't Get Down)".
In the summer of 2008, Greg Camp left the band and released his solo album Defektor. Smash Mouth recruited Leroy Miller to play guitar. In the summer of 2009 Camp officially rejoined the band with former drummer Michael Urbano. According to a response to fan mail, the style of their next album will be close to that of Smash Mouth's earlier albums, Fush Yu Mang and Astro Lounge.
Smash Mouth lead vocalist Steve Harwell performing in the Centrum Arena at Southern Utah University.
Steve Harwell ? lead vocals (1994?present)
Greg Camp ? guitars, backing vocals, primary songwriting (1994?2008, 2009?present)
Paul De Lisle ? bass, backing vocals, occasional songwriting (1994?present)
Michael Urbano ? drums, percussion (2000?2006, 2009?present)
Current touring members
Michael Klooster ? keyboards, programming, melodica, backing vocals (1997?present)
Mitch Marine ? drums, percussion (1999?2000, 2006, 2007?2009)
Leroy Miller ? guitars, backing vocals (2008?2009)
Kevin Coleman ? drums, percussion (1994?1999)
Jason Sutter ? drums, percussion (2006?2007)
Former touring members
Mark Cervantes ? percussion, backing vocals (1999?2008)
Mark Camp ? turntables, sound effects, "sci-fi stylings" (1999)
Marie Colette - mouth harp, bass drum (1999)