After over 25 years fronting Smash Mouth, lead singer Steve Harwell, 54, decided to call it a day, after a viral TikTok video showed his band involved in a “chaotic” performance at the Big Sip festival in Bethel, New York on October 9. The video taken by TikTok user @Doesthisfeelgood showed the band during a sloppy performance, where the sound was unbalanced, and it included clips from the show where Steve seemed disoriented, and saying seemingly random nonsense phrases, such as “We’re going to Greece”, “I’ll f**king kill your whole family, I swear to god”, and “If I could suck my own d**k, I’d never leave the house.” At one point, he also appeared to do a Nazi salute.
Steve’s representative announced that the singer was retiring on Tuesday October 12 in a statement to The New York Post. “Steve has been dealing with long-term medical issues over the last eight years and during his last performance at the Big Sip stage, he suffered numerous symptoms directly linked with his current medical situation,” he told The Post. “As of today, Steve will be retiring from Smash Mouth to focus on his physical and mental health.” Find out more about Steve here!
1. He Sang For Smash Mouth For 27 Years
Steve was a founding members of Smash Mouth alongside drummer Kevin Coleman, bassist Paul de Lisle, and guitarist Greg Camp. Steve was the lead vocalist on all of Smash Mouth’s hits including originals like “Walking On The Sun” from their debut album 1997’s Fush Yu Mang and “All Star” from their sophomore record Astro Lounge in 1999. Some of Smash Mouth’s other hits were covers, including one of War’s “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” and The Monkees’ “I’m A Believer,” which the band recorded for the Shrek soundtrack, which notably featured “All Star” during its opening sequence. The band re-recorded their debut acoustically in 2018, but their last full-length studio album came out in 2012 and was titled Magic. Despite not releasing new music in over a decade, the band still regularly toured.
“All Star” in particular has been one of the band’s biggest hits, and it even became a meme in recent years, and Steve said that he was totally cool with all of the fun fans have had with the song. “I try not to pay attention to social media very much. I try not to personally read and look at all that shit. But I think it’s cool that “All Star” has made such a resurgence — we do have a team of people that are working that stuff regularly, helping work our social media,” he told Stereogum in 2017.
2. He Was A Cast Member On ‘The Surreal-Life’
While Smash Mouth’s music has appeared in a ton of movies and TV shows (see: Shrek), Steve has also dabbled in reality TV. He was a guest on a 2019 episode of Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, but his biggest reality role was in the sixth and final season of The Surreal Life on VH1 in 2006. He appeared in the season alongside fellow musician C.C. DeVille of Poison, as well as actress Alexis Arquette, actor Sherman Hemsley, WWE star Maven Huffman, and models Andrea Lowell and Tawny Kitaen.
3. He Was A Rapper Before Joining Smash Mouth
Before starting Smash Mouth, Steve had tried his hand at rapping, under the name F.O.S., which stood for “Freedom of Speech.” He had recorded a Chuck D-inspired song called “Big Black Boots” in 1993. He said that Snoop Dogg hitting the scene in the early 90s made him want to change styles in a 2017 interview with Stereogum. “This kid Snoop Dogg came out and changed everything. I was at a radio convention in Las Vegas watching MC Hammer of all people, and I just looked at my manager, ‘I’m tired of all this hip-hop s**t, I want to start an alternative rock band.’ He said, ‘You’re crazy, it was hard enough getting this.’ But he followed me down the path and here we are,” he said.
4. He Was Married To Michelle Laroque
Steve seems to keep most of his personal life private, but he was married to Michelle Laroque in the early 2000s. It’s not clear how long they were together for or when they may have separated, but it appears that they were divorced, as there were reports that his ex-fiancée Esther Campbell had filed a restraining order against him in 2020, via Page Six. While he was married to Michelle, he did have a son named Presley Scott, who tragically died at 8 months old in 2001, after a battle with leukemia, according to MTV News.
5. Smash Mouth Has Been Surrounded By Controversy Before
Aside from the recent “chaotic” performance, Smash Mouth have had their fair share of backlash over the years, and the Bethel show wasn’t the only one where Steve acted odd towards an audience. During a 2015 performance at a Colorado food festival, Steve threatened to fight audience members who threw bread at the band, per TMZ. He showed some regret for the profanity-laden rant in an interview with Herald Mail Media. “First and foremost, I obviously could have chosen better words. We do family events all the time. Obviously, my buttons were pushed,” he said.
The band was also a headline act at the 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota, which took place in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Onstage, Steve appeared to mock the virus, when he said, “We’re all here together tonight. F**k that COVID s**t,” according to NBC News.