Smash Mouth

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Smash Mouth promotional photo
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. The fifth, Old Habits, is due for a 2005 summer release. It is said to have a more dark, aggressive sound.


  1. Fush Yu Mang (1997)
  2. Astro Lounge (1999)
    • The East Bay Session - collection of early material (1999)
  3. Smash Mouth (2001)
  4. Get the Picture? (2003)
  5. Old Habits (2005)

Sales/Commercial Popularity

Their first album, Fush Yu Mang, was a huge hit, considering it was a first album for a largely unknown band. The singles "Walking on the Sun" and "Let's Rock" probably fueled the sales, which reached double platinum (2,000,000).

Album number two, Astro Lounge, was massive. "All Star", "Then the Morning Comes", and "Diggin' Your Scene" all crossed the top 40. "Come On, Come On", another single, did not do as well. Even so, Astro Lounge is their biggest hit, with sales up to triple platinum (3,000,000).

Another album was released as an independent record, named "The East Bay Sessions", which contained some of the band's early works, some which are early versions of songs on "Fush Yu Mang", and even one from "Astro Lounge". Also included are a few sound bytes from the band inbetween songs.

Their self-titled album was a major letdown. "Your Man" and "Force Field" both flopped as singles, while "Shoes n' Hats" did phenomenal. Unfortunately, the album was very underrated. It sold enough copies to breach gold (500,000).

Get the Picture?, their fourth album, is their biggest flop. Every single ("Looking for a Wall", "New Planet") bombed, and the album was extremely overlooked. While this appealed to younger fans, it wasn't enough. The album sold a dismal 33,000, hovever, recent figures have shown that GTP has sold more copies, but still not enough to reach gold status.

Old Habits is a not-yet-released CD that will come to stores summertime, 2005. The website claims the album is more rock and grungey than the previous records, and it is even rumored to have a Parental Advisory Label.

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