Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Smash Mouth is an alternative band from San Jose, California that formed in 1994. Their genre of music is sometimes called "neo-ska ". The band adopts retro styles that actually cover several decades of popular music, as well as performing remakes of several blasts from the past such as "I'm a Believer" and "Why Can't We Be Friends". The band is headed by vocalist Steven Harwell . Greg Camp is the guitarist/songwriter, while Paul De Lisle is the bassist and Kevin Coleman is the drummer.
Smash Mouth first broke out into popularity in 1997 after releasing their single "Walkin' on the Sun", a song loosely based on a relatively obscure song from 1966, "Swan's Splashdown" by Perrey and Kingsley. It presented a Generation X view about the decade that brought us the hippie movement and the movement's later abandonment by the generation that had brought it about. Its retro style just in time for the thirtieth anniversary of the Summer of Love and well-written rhymes such as "This is a love attack/I know 't went out but it's back/It's just like any fad/It retracts before impact" helped garner it a lot of airplay. The single was a kicker for their album entitled Fush Yu Mang, whose title was written in a font suggesting Oriental characters. It was filled with songs suggesting a hard-partying, beer-and-gambling image combined with some connoisseurial cultural tastes, like "Let's Rock", "Heave-ho", "Beer Goggles" and "Padrino". A few other songs, such as "Disconnect the Dots" and "Nervous in the Alley", the latter of which was released as a cut for airplay, revealed a more distressed side.
In 1999 Smash Mouth released their second album, Astro Lounge. Much more laid-back, mature, and retro-sounding than Fush Yu Mang, Astro Lounge proved that the band had matured as musicians. Although it presented new, innovative sounds, the album still proved catchy and listenable, and was a big hit with younger fans. The Astro Lounge single "All Star" was a popular hit in mid-1999, and it was featured on the soundtracks for the movies Mystery Men and later Shrek and, Rat Race; "All Star" was followed by a second single, "Then the Morning Comes".
After the release of Astro Lounge, Kevin Coleman quit the band due to lower back problems. He was replaced by studio drummer Michael Urbano , who recorded on all of their following albums.
In 2001 Smash Mouth covered "I'm A Believer" by The Monkees, and it was featured on the soundtrack to the movie Shrek. This was followed by the release of a self-titled album (Smash Mouth) and then a fourth album, Get the Picture?, in 2003.
- Fush Yu Mang (1997)
- Astro Lounge (1999)
- The East Bay Session - collection of early material (1999)
- Smash Mouth (2001)
- Get the Picture? (2003)
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