Smash Mouth, the Californian rock band behind smash hits such as “Walkin’ On the Sun” and “All Star” have been quite busy in recent months. Between constant touring and plans for recording a 7th studio album later this year, frontman Steve Harwell is also planning a solo EP release. WHUS got a chance to talk to Steve over the Internet and chat about several topics surrounding the band, from touring, to Shrek, to mash-ups, and more!
Hey Steve! Thanks for taking the time out of your day to answer some of mine and 91.7 WHUS’ questions, and I hope you’re excited to come back up to New England. How has this year been treating Smash Mouth so far?
It’s been great. We’ve been super busy touring this year. Putting the final touches on our live album that will be coming out later this year. Actually we will be selling advanced copies of that while on tour this summer with Toad The Wet Sprocket and Tonic so come on out and pick up a copy! In addition our bass player Paul wrote the official Smash Mouth Biography that will be coming out this summer as well published by The Anchor Group.
Smash Mouth is known in the mainstream for their late 90s/early 2000s hit singles, but the band has consistently put out great, catchy songs to this day on albums such as 2012’s Magic and 2006’s Summer Girl. If you had to pick one or two of the band’s more recent songs that you think define who the band is today, what would you pick and why?
Well you know we’re constantly evolving and our tastes and perspective changes daily. There are songs off all our albums that we absolutely love and we rotate those through our set list. From Summer Girl I would have to say “So Insane” and from Magic I guess “Flippin Out”.
The band is somewhat known for their fun, upbeat covers of classic songs and reinventing the sound of them. How do you guys choose what songs to cover?
For the most part we choose songs that we think we can make better than the original and that would lend itself to our classic Smash Mouth sound. Of course we have to love the song as well. But from time to time each member will throw out an idea of something they would love to cover.
Are there any songs popular right now that you’d like to try your hand in and cover, or is modernizing classic songs from the 60s, 70s, and 80s more what you see the band doing when they approach another artist’s material?
I’d say yeah, modernizing classic songs is more what we’re about when selecting a cover. We think a song has to pay it’s dues before getting remade. That said, you never know what the future brings.
Furthermore, what have you guys been listening to lately? What’s been your favorite album of the year so far?
Personally I’ve been enjoying listening to country music lately there are some great country artists out there. And I’ve been dabbling in that area myself. Watch for my own EP to hit the internet later this year.
Artist Neil Cicirega has become quite popular in the last couple of years for his Smash Mouth-based mash-up albums, first “Mouth Sounds” and, more recently, “Mouth Silence”. Our Public Affairs Director Vicki Chilinski asks, have you heard of Neil’s work, and if so, what do you think of it?
Yes we actually have heard his mash ups and we think they’re awesome. The Smash Mouth/Modest Mouse one is by far the best we’ve heard. Would love to hear more.
Listener Ryan Wenzel wants to know what made the band decide to attempt to re-popularize and modernize surf rock during an era when grunge and garage rock was king?
At the time Paul and Greg were living in Santa Cruz, CA and really living that lifestyle. It’s just what felt right for us at the time.
Listener Nathan Nye asks if the band has ever felt as if Shrek defined their being as a band and if it opened or closed certain doors for them.
Fortunately we were already defined as a band before Shrek came around but it definitely has opened doors for the band and we are fortunate that new generations of kids are exposed to our music every day because of Shrek.
After the tour, what is Smash Mouth’s plans? Will there be a new album in the works soon?
Well we never truly stop touring. We will take a short break after the summer before we head back out. But yes, we are talking about recording a new record this fall/winter.
And finally, the age old question, listener Drew Gates needs to know, would you rather fight a horse-sized duck or one hundred duck-sized horses?
I’m not sure about any of that. All I do know is that I don’t want to end up in an alley face to face with Drew Gates.
We thank Steve for his time and all of his interesting answers! Smash Mouth is coming close to Storrs on July 16th, with a show at the Zeiterion Theatre in New Bedford, MA. Tickets are on sale now!