All Stars | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

All Stars

The return of Smash Mouth

Smash Mouth came on the scene in 1997 with the album "Fush Yu Mang," which is the noise you make make while screaming expletives at the person that just smashed your mouth. With that album, the San Jose, Calif.-based band jumpstarted a resurging Ska craze almost single-handedly, becoming totemic to the idea of a "Summer Record." For months, their "Walkin' on the Sun" single and their cover of WAR's, "Why Can't We Be Friends?" were the ubiquitous soundtrack for life.

It was 1999's Astro Lounge that saw them step back from their initial ska sound and dive headfirst into ear worm, hook-driven pop music. With songs like "All Star," "Then the Morning Comes" and their cover of "Can't Get Enough of You, Baby," Smash Mouth crashed into pop music like a juggernaut with goofy songwriting, radio-ready hooks and mellow vibes, bro.

Since 1999, they've released six more albums including a greatest hits record, all in keeping with their pop-friendly vibe. Lead singer Steve Harwell remains a true mainstay, with his signature high energy, raspy vocals.

The Source Weekly recently interviewed Harwell, and we have included an excerpt below from that conversation.

Source Weekly: You have been together for almost 22 years now. How has touring changed for you? What do you still take the most joy from? The least?

Steve Harwell: Always loved touring the most and still do. We do way more one-offs now and that's OK except flying is a bitch. I love tour buses and for the last three-four years we've done awesome summer tours on buses.

SW: What are some of the bad habits you have on tour that fall by the wayside when you make it home?

SH: Sleep or lack of sleep is the biggest thing and then I would say food. You simply can't control the food on the road even though we try. And for the most part shows are parties and our regular life is not one big party. That can be tricky.

SW: When can fans expect the new record?

SH: Can't say much yet but we just signed a new label deal and a new awesome single should be released soon. Can't wait for peeps to hear it.

TSW: You basically revolutionized a sound in the '90s that shaped music for a decade. Did that make it harder to find the next place to go with your sound? Do you feel like you always have to top the last record or the early ones?

SH: Every album is a certain moment of time we can't mimic or even try to top because it's just different. That being said, I think people will be totally surprised when they hear our new material.

SW: Having toured for so long now, do you have a preference between the bigger shows and the smaller ones? Indoor vs. outdoor? Festival vs. headlining?

SH: Nothing like a huge outdoor radio festival with tons of bands, but sometimes a cool, smaller club packed and all sweaty can be fun, too.

SW: What can someone expect from a Smash Mouth show if they haven't yet seen you live?

SH: The overall energy. We play the songs like a damn heavy metal band with drum solos and each song is sped up a bit. We can play with the Sugar Rays of the word, but we could also hold our own with Van Halen.

Smash Mouth

Friday, June 24, 7pm

Century Center, 70 SW Century Dr., Bend


Jared Rasic

Film critic and author of food, arts and culture stories for the Source Weekly since 2010.
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