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Smash Mouth Dish The Epic Story Behind Writing ‘All Star’ & Embracing Their Meme Status

Written by Sarah Bellamy on October 30, 2018

All you All Stars listen up, ‘cause someBODY is about to unleash some great news!

Multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated band Smash Mouth are heading back down under with Area-7 for an East Coast tour this November!

With a career that spans over two decades, the California 5-piece got their first taste of mainstream success after their 1997 single ‘Walkin’ On The Sun’ shot to number 1 on the US Billboard charts. Following up this achievement, Smash Mouth released their cover of War’s ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends?’ in 1998, and ‘All Star’ in 1999, with the latter peaking at number 4 on the US Billboard charts.

In 2001, ‘All Star’ was featured in Shrek – and in recent years, has become a pretty prominent internet phenomenon with countless mashups, remixes and memes made of the song. Its popularity has continued to grow, with the song now having over 330 MILLION plays on Spotify! There’s even a musical that’s been created titled All Star: The Best Broadway Musical, where the only song used throughout is, yep, you guessed it, ‘All Star’.

Music Feeds caught up with Smash Mouth frontman Steve Harwell to chat about the online popularity of ‘All Star’, the band’s experience re-recording their debut record Fush Yu Mang, and his feelings about All Star: The Best Broadway Musical.

Music Feeds: How was the experience of re-recording Fush Yu Mang acoustically for the album’s 20th anniversary?

Steve Harwell: It was a trip going back to the songs we first did in 1996. Some of the songs were very challenging because we took such a different approach. The song ‘Push’ just didn’t work acoustically stripped down so we decided to leave it off. But it was definitely fun!

MF: How do you feel about ‘All Star’ becoming such an iconic song online in recent years, and the resurgence of its popularity?

SH: It’s amazing, we started noticing about four years ago. The mashups and covers started it and we embraced them by re-posting etc, then we posted the actual authentic lyric page Greg scribbled on while first writing the song and people tripped out!

MF: What are you most looking forward to about heading back down under for your tour in November?

SH: The feel and energy of Australia is different from anywhere else. Such a passion for the arts. I grew up listening to AC/DC so that was my first taste of something down under and when we first did a show there I kept thinking or wondering ‘has AC/DC played here?’

MF: What’s your opinion on All Star: The Best Broadway Musical?

SH: It’s a low budget production that just feels right. We’ve only seen clips but it’s cool. They didn’t go through the proper channels as far as license usage for ‘All Star’, it was just a tweet saying sure use it [laughs]! If it grows we’re going to have to make it legit.

MF: When did you first fall in love with music? Was there a specific moment you realised you wanted to make it your career?

SH: Yes, the first time I heard and saw Elvis Presley. There was nobody like him back then and there’s still not anyone like him. He was an incredible performer, great singer too, but it’s the energy in the performance that nailed it for me. The Beatles had great songs and were good live but nothing close to Elvis. That being said, I saw the same energy from Angus Young the first time I saw him.

MF: What are some of your favourite songs you’ve ever written, and why?

SH: ‘Fallen Horses’, because we wrote it as a band in a live room. It’s based off the death of Linda McCartney (Paul’s wife). I’m proud of that song because it’s so different than anything else we’ve done. It’s not well-known at all, so next time you’re on YouTube check it out.

Our guitar player, Greg Camp, wrote ‘All Star’ and the cool thing about that song is it was in retaliation to Jimmy Iovine (Head of Interscope Records at that time) telling us he doesn’t hear a hit song. Bam, take that Jimmy!

MF: Can we expect new music from you guys in the future?

SH: We have two songs with videos all done and ready to launch. I think people will be surprised by both of them. One of them has two unlikely features from legends. We can’t wait to show people!

MF: What are your favourite releases from 2018?

SH: The new Twenty One Pilots LP is great! Bishop Briggs’ ‘Baby’ is awesome. LSD’s ‘Genius’ is genius, the song ‘Medication’ from YUNGBLUD is rad, ‘Goldrush’ from Death CaB For Cutie is amazing, ‘She’s Kerosene’ by The Interrupters is just too good and this may be the best song of 2018: HOUSES ‘Small Talk’. Oh, I almost forgot our cover of “Something Soon” by Car Seat Headrest!

Catch all the details for Smash Mouth’s forthcoming Australian tour right here.

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