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Smash Mouth: The Angelica Interview

article & photography by John Powell

It’s been 15 years since “Walking on the Sun” sent Smash Mouth through the radio of every American teenager, and six years since their last LP, Summer Girl, hit the shops. Needless to say, Smash Mouth has staying power as they return on tour in preparation for their upcoming fifth studio album.

Unlike their radio hits, including the terrifyingly catchy cover of “I’m a Believer”, Smash Mouth’s music is old school rock, mixed with punk and just enough gloss, and their deeper cuts are much less shiny than their hits. In fact, even songs like “Come On Come On” in the live setting come off more punky and less teenage.

So, as lead singer Steve Harwell roared at a recent show: “Smash Mouth is fucking back!” Along with Paul, Mike, Randy, and Michael, Smash Mouth’s shows include fiery guitar solos, jumping around the stage, bringing girls on stage to dance, and lots of sweat flying into the audience. It’s not so much that they are making a comeback- it’s just a continuation of the sort of live shows that popularized them in the first place.

Steve took time out of their tour schedule to catch up about the last six years:

Are you touring behind any new material, or just out on the road?

Both. We’ve been out on the road for several years. It’s in our blood, so we just can’t stop performing for our fans. That said, we do have a new album we just finished up that will be available physically and digitally September fourth, entitled Magic.

How often are you on a larger tour?

That just depends. Sometimes we’ll package with other bands and go out on a larger tour but sometimes we like to scale it down. Right now we’re playing a lot of festivals. We love the big crowds and sharing the stage with some of our friends in the industry.

Smash Mouth

Where’s your hometown and do you play often around there?

The majority of us are from the bay area, California. We do like to play there at least once or twice a year. But we’re pretty busy all over the place. We recently just got back from Brazil playing in front of hundreds of thousands of people. Later this year we’ll be heading to Australia. So we keep busy all over the map.

Your sound retains light-heartedness, especially with use of synth. Do you ever write songs that just don’t really sound Smash Mouth enough? What happens to those?

We do. When creating music for the group, various members submit all kinds of music, but at the end of the day we like to stay true to our core sound. On this new record you’ll see that we do expand a little bit on a couple of tracks. But for the most part we like to keep it fun in the sun, baby!

And, being light-hearted, how have you otherwise matured as a band over the years?

We like to believe we’re still kids.


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