Quick, what’s the first thing you think of when you hear Smash Mouth? Yup, ‘All Star’, that makes sense. OK, Shrek, but we’re getting colder. The unmistakable nasally bray of lead singer Steve Harwell, ding ding ding!
Whether your enjoyment of Smash Mouth begins and ends with ‘All Star’, you happen to actually like ‘Walking on the Sun’ too, or you’re just here for their ridiculous continued presence in pop culture, one thing’s for sure: you can’t get rid of that irreplaceable vocal cadence. It’s what gives the band’s songs their instantly recognisable ring, and without it, Smash Mouth are just another bland early 2000s pop-rock band.
So how the hell did Smash Mouth think that they’d get away with showing up to their recent concerts with some random dude replacing Harwell at the microphone? The band recently performed a show at Peterson Park in McHenry, Illinois with fellow goofbags Sugar Ray where the lead singer busting out covers of ‘I’m A Believer’ was definitely not Steve Harwell.
Startlingly, Harwell is recovering from cardiomyopathy and heart failure, two conditions that aren’t exactly just staying home because you have the sniffles. With such a serious health concern, one might be forgiven for thinking that the band would wait until Harwell – the face, voice, and only recognisable part of the band – was recovered before firing back up to hit the road. As you can probably tell, that’s not what happened.
In the video down below, the strangest part is that you can clearly hear Harwell’s unmistakable vocals come in at certain points of the song. The first couple lines spotted from this doppelgänger’s mouth are gritty and unnerving, resting somewhere in an uncanny valley between Smash Mouth and Krusty the Clown, but then Harwell’s familiar voice comes over the song. Sometimes the new singer doesn’t even try to act like he’s singing along, stopping to dance with some kid who wandered on stage.
It’s had Smash-heads (Moutheads? Shrekians? Whatever their fans call themselves) scratching their collective heads as to why this guy was out there and why the band decided not to tell anyone. Harwell is apparently set to rejoin the band soon, but add this into the wonderfully bizarre and never-ending story that is Smash Mouth’s applaudable continuing relevancy on the internet.
See the clip, below.