Steve Harwell, who cofounded the band Smash Mouth in 1994, has died at the age of 56, band supervisor Robert Hayes confirmed. In an announcement to Rolling Stone, Hayes stated Harwell died at his dwelling in Boise, ID “surrounded by household and mates.” He added that the musician “handed peacefully and comfortably.”
“Steve has been retired from Smash Mouth for 2 years now, and the band continues to tour with new vocalist Zach Goode,” Hayes stated. “That stated, Steve’s legacy will stay on by the music. With Steve, Smash Mouth has bought over 10 Million albums worldwide-wide and topped the charts with two #1 hit singles, 5 Top 40 singles, three Hot 100 singles, 4 Billboard 200 albums and a Grammy nomination to not point out the tons of of movie and tv placements and naturally these musical options in Shrek.”
He continued, “Steve’s iconic voice is without doubt one of the most recognizable voices from his era. He liked the followers and liked to carry out. Steve Harwell was a real American Original. A bigger than life character who shot up into the sky like a Roman candle. Steve ought to be remembered for his unwavering focus and impassioned dedication to achieve the heights of pop stardom. And the truth that he achieved this near-impossible aim with very restricted musical expertise makes his accomplishments all of the extra outstanding. His solely instruments have been his irrepressible allure and charisma, his fearlessly reckless ambition, and his king-size cajones. Steve lived a one hundred pc full-throttle life. Burning brightly throughout the universe earlier than burning out.”
Harwell had been in hospice care following medical issues, though Hayes didn’t make clear the reason for dying.
While Harwell has not been an official member of Smash Mouth since 2021, he and bassist Paul Delisle are the one two unique band members who had remained constant by the vast majority of the group’s run.
Harwell started his music profession in San Jose, California as a rapper with the group F.O.S. (Freedom of Speech). After the group’s demise, he started working together with his pal, drummer Kevin Coleman in 1990. Later, he teamed up with guitarist Greg Camp and bassist Paul Delisle. The four-piece issued two demos that garnered airplay at a neighborhood radio station. They quickly carried out at a summer time pageant alongside No Doubt and Beck.
Their debut album, Fush Yu Mang, arrived in 1997 through Interscope and spawned “Walkin’ on the Sun,” a Number One hit on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart that reached Number Two on the Hot 100 chart.
The band’s sophomore set, 1999’s Astro Lounge, integrated extra pop and was extra musically numerous than its ska-influenced predecessor. It additionally spawned “All Star,” their largest hit of their profession. The m usic appeared in quite a few movie soundtracks, together with the primary Shrek
Harwell spoke of Astro Lounge’s new path and had a message for the band’s detractors in a 1999 interview with Rolling Stone. “Lots of people stated that we weren’t proficient sufficient to try this sort of shit. Well, we did it, and I would like them to eat their phrases. We obtained slagged a lot by individuals who wished us to fail,” he stated. “Even mates need you to fail. They’d get a very good chuckle if I fell flat on my face. We did this document to let folks know, “Hey, don’t fuck with us. We constructed this group and no one’s going to take it away from us.”
That similar yr, the band launched a set of early songs referred to as The East Bay Sessions. Coleman left shortly after, citing again issues. Ex-Tripping Daisy drummer Mitch Marine finally changed Coleman on tour and on later albums.
The band dropped two extra albums within the early aughts — 2001’s self-titled LP and 2003’s Get the Picture? They issued their fifth album, 2006’s Summer Girl on new label Universal following Harwell’s look on actuality present The Surreal Life alongside Alexis Arquette, C.C. DeVille, Sherman Hemsley, Maven Huffman, Tawny Kitaen, and Andrea Lowell, with Florence Henderson serving as the home therapist.
Smash Mouth’s most up-to-date full-length album, Magic, was launched in 2012, the identical yr their guide Recipes From the Road dropped. The band continued to tour as extra members rotated out and in of the group.
While Harwell remained a mainstay, he was vulnerable to onstage outbursts earlier than in the end leaving the group in 2021. At a Fort Collins, Colorado present in 2015, he reportedly turned offended through the encore, yelled profanities, and exited after bread was thrown onstage. He later apologized. (In August 2016, Harwell reportedly collapsed and was taken away by ambulance whereas the band completed the set with out him.)
But it was an incident in Oct. 9, 2021 that led him to retire from music. At the Big Sip pageant in Bethel, New York, Harwell was captured on video slurring his phrases, threatening the viewers, and giving the center finger to followers. A rep for the singer instructed the New York Post at the time that his Wernicke encephalopathy, a neurological situation, impacted Harwell’s motor features and reminiscence.
“Steve has been coping with long-term medical points during the last eight years and through his final efficiency at the Big Sip stage, he suffered quite a few signs immediately linked together with his present medical state of affairs,” the rep stated at the time. “As of in the present day, Steve might be retiring from Smash Mouth to concentrate on his bodily and psychological well being.”
To mark the twentieth anniversary of “All Star” in 2019, Harwell addressed the enduring attraction behind the music for Rolling Stone’s oral history of the observe. “All Star” was extra than simply an inescapable hit that flavored movies and your favourite memes, it turned a part of the material of generations of music lovers for almost 1 / 4 century and continues to resonate.
“It was undoubtedly a second the place different artists and folks lastly realized we’re not a bunch of punk children. We write nice songs and it’s iconic,” he stated.
“The music simply gained’t go away as a result of it’s simply a kind of songs,” Harwell added. “It’s like fucking Led Zeppelin ‘(*56*) to Heaven.’ It’s like fuckin’ Lynyrd Skynyrd. You have sure songs that bands make that simply don’t go away. We have been blessed with that, and it was ‘All Star.’”