Interview with Smash Mouth


June 30, 2011


Smash MouthWhat’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear a Smash Mouth song? Fun and summertime! Oh and big green ogres too! With their unique blend of sounds, their music is like a party for your ears. We caught up with Steve Harwell and the rest of the guys for a little Q & A session. See what they had to say about having their songs featured in Shrek, performing for the troops, and what they’re up to next.


Your sound is so unique. Please talk a little about the origins of the bands sound.

Smash Mouth started out as a Ska/Punk/California Surf influenced band. As time passed, the sound migrated more towards accessible pop music. But, we’ve always maintained that California-in-a-can, fun-in-the-sun vibe.

Many younger audiences know you through your work on the Shrek soundtrack. How did that opportunity come about?

The head of Dreamworks actually chased us for several months trying to convince us it was a good idea to record songs for this animated movie featuring a big green ogre. We actually said no, until finally he flew up to the Bay area to preview the film of course, we instantly knew that we had to be a part of it.

You’ve done a lot of really great covers. How do you decide what songs you’d like to cover?

We do like covering other people’s songs, but only in collectively we all love them. So naturally there is a lot of discussion when deciding to do a cover tune.

We read that the name Smash Mouth comes from a football term. What does it mean, and how did you come to choose it for the band name?

One day we were sitting around watching football and Mike Ditka, coach of the Chicago Bears, was giving a speech talking about how his team always played smash mouth football. It’s just a really aggressive style of playing, and we liked the term so we decided to use it as we have a very aggressive, unique style of our own.

Smash MouthEarlier this year you spent time overseas performing for our troops in Iraq and Kuwait which we think is wonderful. We bet you definitely boosted their moral. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Honestly, that was one of the best things we’ve ever done. We were a bit nervous heading over, but knew that it was the right thing to do. And in the end, I think we benefited as much if not more than the troops we performed for. We’ve also performed for the troops in Guam, Japan, and Guantanamo Bay. We look forward to performing at other military bases around the world in the future.

This is directed to Steve. I hesitate to even ask about this issue, but seeing as it’s all over the internet and seems to be all people can talk about right now, would you care to comment on the egg thing? Let me say that I am not asking you to eat them, and in fact, I wouldn’t do it if I were you. Seems inane to me, but I just wonder what you think about the whole thing?

Yea, I’m not really sure what that is. I have seen postings of the want for me to eat the eggs. Problem is we haven’t seen any legitimate fundraising for any charity. I would gladly eat the eggs if someone would step up and legitimize this challenge and raise some serious money for charity. As I think people are aware, Smash Mouth is big into charity. We love kids and bring them up on our stage every single night. We visit hospitals, sick kids in their homes, and have granted last wishes for many families. We will always be a supporter of fundraising and charity!

Your music videos are all so brightly colored and fun. How much creative control did you have in the development of your videos?

We are very involved in the creation of each one of our videos. We work closely with the director to make sure the treatment is in line with what we are looking for and give it our best performance always. We will be bringing you new videos in the near future so keep your eyes open!

What’s your favorite song to play live?

It varies over time. Of course I love the crowd response when we play the hits like "Walking on the Sun," "All Star," "I’m a Believer," etc. But honestly sometimes I just love busting out a cover of Van Halen and rockin’ the house.

Being part of the entertainment industry who have you been most psyched to meet? Any star struck moments?

Smash Mouth's "Fush Yu Mang" albumI don’t really get star struck. I always am excited to meet other celebrities and share stories. I’m a big NASCAR fan so I love hanging out with my driver buddies. I’m always in a awe watching what they do.

What work are you most proud of?

I would have to say I’m most proud of our first album Fush Yu Mang. Although I’m proud of all our releases, I’m especially proud of that one simply because it was our first.

In the opening to "All Star" Steve takes out one of the would-be superheroes applying to be part of the Mystery Men team. What would each of your superhero names and powers be if you could have them?

We actually wrote a song about this a little while back. It’s called "Everyday Superhero." It’s basically about you, me, your neighbor, everyday people that do super things on a daily basis.

Steve, you were on Season 6 of VH1’s The Surreal Life. What was that like? And would you ever participate in a show like that again? Do you watch reality TV otherwise?

I was?

What’s next for y’all?

Big things. In the studio as we speak writing and recording our new album. We’ll be putting out a cookbook called Recipes from the Road that is near completion. Also working on a TV show based on the same premise. And, I just started a Tequila company called "Pedregal" . . . so watch for that!

Being a site all about the 1990s, we have to ask … What’s your favorite 90s:

a. Band?  A couple of my favorite 90s bands are Smash Mouth and Sugar Ray!
b. Movie?  Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction.
c. Fad?  Well it’s gotta be Tickle Me Elmo, right? No? How about the Macarena!
d. Fashion?  Converse.

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