One of the biggest pop/rock bands of the 2000s is suffering a devastating loss. Smash Mouth lead singer Steve Harwell is reportedly in the last stages of liver failure and has entered hospice care. The 56-year-old Harwell has suffered from alcohol abuse as well as numerous maladies, many self-inflicted over the years.
The San Francisco Bay area churned out numerous successful bands in the 1990s, including Train, Third Eye Blind, The Counting Crows, and others. Smash Mouth was amongst those, as Harwell, Paul De Lisle, and Greg Camp formed the upbeat pop/rock trio.
While Smash Mouth didn’t have the immediate success of some of their contemporaries, like Third Eye Blind, their feud with that band helped bring Smashmouth publicity and piqued the curiosity of fans. Once the band started gaining traction in the late 90s, Smashmouth singer Harwell leaned into the spat between him and Third Eye Blind frontman Steven Jenkins.
With the band’s first major radio hit, “Walking on the Sun,” which was released in 1997, the gravely, quirky voice of Harwell helped gain a following of fans. Two years later, the band released the biggest record of their career, “Astro Lounge,” which featured their signature song, “All Star.” The album peaked at number 6, and the single went to number 1 in numerous countries.
In 2001, the band released their third album, which featured the remake of the Monkees classic “I’m a Believer.” That song, along with All Star, was included on the Shrek soundtrack. While that essentially ended their chart success, the trio still toured relentlessly.
Apparently, years of living the rock-and-roll lifestyle caught up with Steve Harwell. His manager confirmed the sad news: “Unfortunately this is the case. Steve is resting at home and being cared for by his fiancé and hospice care. We would hope that people would respect Steve and his family’s privacy during this difficult time.”
At only 56 years old, it is a sad and unnecessary demise for Harwell. In 2021, the singer had a troubling incident at a show, which included hurling obscenities at the crowd and slurring his words, as well as being visibly disoriented.
Shortly after that incident, Harwell announced his retirement, and a litany of health issues, including cardiomyopathy, heart failure, and Wernicke’s encephalopathy, were cited, as well as his substance abuse issues.
After that incident, the band released this statement: “Despite Steve’s best efforts to work through these ailments, he is heartbroken to share that it has become impossible for him to continue doing what he loves most, performing in front of the band’s millions of fans around the world.”
It is going to be a sad end for Steve Harwell and a band that had seven studio albums, four compilation albums, thirteen music videos, and nineteen singles. For many folks of a certain age, they grew up listening to the songs featured in Shrek, and All Star remains a staple on radio and streaming services, with over 950 million streams.
Best wishes to Harwell and his family as the singer faces his final days.
Featured image screen grab from embedded YouTube video
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