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Smash Mouth is an American rock band from San Jose, California. The band was formed in 1994, and was originally composed of Steve Harwell (vocals), Kevin Coleman (drums), Greg Camp (guitar), and Paul De Lisle (bass). They are known for songs such as "Walkin' on the Sun" (1997) and "All Star" (1999).
The band has adopted retro styles covering several decades of popular music. They have also performed numerous covers of popular songs, including the Monkees' "I'm a Believer", War's "Why Can't We Be Friends?", Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)", Question Mark & the Mysterians's "Can't Get Enough of You Baby", the Beatles' "Getting Better", and Disney's "I Wan'na Be Like You".
Formation and first album (1994-1997):
Smash Mouth was formed in 1994 when Steve Harwell, who had formerly played in a rap group called F.O.S. (Freedom Of Speech), along with his manager, decided to form a rock band. Harwell's manager, Kevin Coleman, knew guitarist Greg Camp and bassist Paul De Lisle, who had both played in a local punk band, and introduced the three musicians to each other. They began rehearsing together, along with Kevin Coleman as drummer. They soon developed into a band, and named themselves Smashmouth, a football term. During their early years, the band played largely Rock music. The band's first publicity came when a demo of the song "Nervous in the Alley" was played by a San José radio station, KOME. Soon after, Interscope Records signed the band, and the group's debut album, Fush Yu Mang, was released in 1997. Also, upon signing to Interscope Records, the band changed their name from Smashmouth to Smash Mouth.
The album eventually went double platinum led by the band's first major single "Walkin' on the Sun". The singles "The Fonz" and a cover of "Why Can't We Be Friends" were also subsequently released.
Rise to fame (1998-2003):
The band's second album, Astro Lounge, was released in 1999 and marked a change in direction, as it had less of the previous ska influence and more of a pop sound. It led to more publicity for the band, and ended up being one of the most critically acclaimed albums from the group. Supported by the single "All Star" (which was featured in several film soundtracks), Astro Lounge was eventually certified as triple platinum.
Also in 1999, The East Bay Sessions was released as a collection of early songs. Shortly after the release of the album, drummer Kevin Coleman left the band due to back problems. He was initially replaced by Michael Urbano, who was quickly replaced by Mitch Marine for the tour supporting Astro Lounge, who was subsequently replaced by Michael Urbano at the conclusion of the tour.
In 2001, Smash Mouth covered the Monkees' hit song "I'm a Believer". It was featured on both the soundtrack for the film Shrek (along with "All Star") and their self-titled eponymous album. The album sold fewer copies than the band's earlier works, eventually being certified gold. Also in 2001, the group appeared as themselves in the climactic scene of the film Rat Race.
New label (2003-2005):
Two years after Smash Mouth was released, Get the Picture? was released, featuring the singles "You Are My Number One", "Hang On" and "Always Gets Her Way". Smash Mouth was dropped from Interscope shortly after the release of Get the Picture?. That same year, the band performed a cover of the Sherman Brothers song "I Wanna Be Like You" for the animated film The Jungle Book 2.
Following the band's signing to Universal Records, Smash Mouth released the greatest hits compilation All Star Smash Hits in 2005. The album contains some 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 an edited version of "Flo" and "Beer Goggles". Smash Mouth played at Gumby's Birthday Celebration in August 2005.
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".
Fluctuating lineup, Summer Girl, and Magic (2006-2011):
Smash Mouth's fifth studio album, originally to be titled 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 Harwell's appearance on the reality show The Surreal Life. Smash Mouth returned to the studio intent on improving the record.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, 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.
Before the release of Summer Girl, drummer Michael Urbano left the band without warning on February 14, 2006 due to creative differences. He was initially replaced by former drummer Mitch Marine, and then by 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, one year after joining the band, Sutter left Smash Mouth to play drums for former Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell; fill-in drummer Marine returned to Smash Mouth.
Greg Camp left the band in the summer of 2008. Smash Mouth recruited Leroy Miller to play guitar. Leroy left in 2009 and Camp returned to the band, but in 2011 Camp left once again and this time the band recruited Sean Hurwitz. Hurwitz stayed until 2012, and was replaced by Mike Krompass. Later in 2012, Hurwitz returned. In 2009 Mitch Marine left once again and was replaced by Urbano, who left again after only one year in 2010, and was replaced by Marine once again. Marine left yet again after a brief spell in 2010 and was replaced by Randy Cooke. Cooke was briefly replaced by Jason Sutter in 2011, then Charlie Paxson.
Magic, The Voice, live album (2012-Present):
After parting ways with Universal Records and signing with 429 Records, Smash Mouth released their sixth studio album titled Magic, on September 4, 2012. The album was primarily produced by new band member Mike Krompass. The first single, also entitled "Magic", debuted on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart at No. 22. The band spent the rest of 2012 touring behind the new project as well as promoting the release of their rock and roll cookbook -- Recipes from the Road. Cooke left permanently toward the end of 2012, replaced by Paxson. Paxson left in July 2013 during the Under the Sun tour, and was initially going to be replaced by a returning Cooke; however, he was replaced by Sutter once again. Tod Burr, former drum tech of Def Leppard and drummer of Merle Jagger, came on board in 2012 as drum and keyboard tech of Smash Mouth.
On February 1, 2013, Smash Mouth headlined the AutoNation Coast to Coast rebranding event (which combined all AutoNation dealerships into a single brand) at Wayne Huizenga Park in Fort Lauderdale, FL with Michela Paige from Season 3 of The Voice. The event also served as a final round in the AutoNation Culture of Caring Contest.
In late 2015, Smash Mouth plans to release their first live album through Sony Records. The recordings were harvested from shows in Rapid City, South Dakota and Manila, The Philippines.
The Bread Incident (2015):
On June 14, 2015, Smash Mouth was playing a set at the Taste of Fort Collins food festival in Fort Collins, Colorado, when Steve Harwell broke from his set and went into an angry three-minute, expletive-laden tirade, threatening to beat the audience members responsible for hitting him with bread. The band played the opening chords of "All Star" throughout a significant portion of Harwell's rant. A security guard stood between Harwell and members of the audience as the lead singer seemed to identify bread throwers and prepare himself to act on his threats -all of this taking place as individuals of the audience threw small tufts of bread at the alternative rock celebrity. The incident was covered by major media outlets, including TMZ, Gawker, and USA Today. Multiple publications dubbed the altercation "The Bread Incident." Harwell later apologized for the incident in an interview with The Herald-Mail.
Event organizer Jason Ornstein explained that he asked Harwell if he wanted him to have the DJs make an announcement instructing the crowd not to throw bread but according to Ornstein, Harwell "stormed on stage and took matters into his own hands." He continued "It wasn't like anyone was going to be getting hurt by throwing bread up in the air ... We just had to laugh at it, because he just really made a fool of himself."
Paul De Lisle - bass, backing vocals (1994-present),
Steve Harwell - lead vocals, piano, keyboards (1994-present),
Jason Sutter - drums, percussion (2006-2007, 2011, 2013-present),
Michael Klooster - keyboards, programming, backing vocals (2008-present; touring 1997-2008),
Sean Hurwitz - guitar, backing vocals (2011-2012, 2012-present),
Greg Camp - guitar, backing vocals, keyboards/turntables (studio) (1994-2008, 2009-2011),
Kevin Coleman - drums, percussion (1994-1999),
Michael Urbano - drums, percussion (1999, 2000-2006, 2009-2010),
Mitch Marine - drums, percussion (1999-2000, 2006, 2007-2009, 2010),
Leroy Miller - guitar, backing vocals (2008-2009),
Randy Cooke - drums, percussion, backing vocals (2010-2011, 2011-2012, 2013),
Charlie Paxson - drums, percussion, backing vocals (2011, 2012-2013),
Mike Krompass - guitar, backing vocals (2012),
Mark Cervantes - percussion, theremin, backing vocals (1999-2008),
Miles Zuniga - guitar (2013)