Rock Icon Steve Harwell of Smash Mouth Dies at 56


The rock music world mourns the loss of Steve Harwell, the dynamic former lead vocalist of the iconic rock band Smash Mouth, whose untimely death was announced on Monday when he was 56 years old. The cause of death remains undisclosed, however, Harwell had recently been in hospice care and breathed his last in his Boise, Idaho residence, amidst loving family and friends. This was confirmed by Robert Hayes, Smash Mouth’s manager.

A true force to be reckoned with, Steve Harwell was best described by Hayes as an authentic American icon – a sporadic and mesmerizing entity, much like a roman candle illuminating the night sky. Hayes commended Harwell in a statement for his tenacious single-mindedness and fiery ambition, characteristics which drove him to the upper echelons of pop stardom. Quite the showman with his uncontainable charisma and charm, and remarkably, despite his limited musical training, Harwell’s accomplishments were simply extraordinary.

Known for its globally acclaimed hits “All Star” and “I’m a Believer”, Smash Mouth enjoyed a successful musical journey with Harwell as a founding member and the enduring lead singer. Their popularity soared and even bagged them a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group for “All Star” – a song which later gained a cult following after it was featured on the soundtrack of the animated film “Shrek” (2001).

In a candid 2014 interview with Vice, Harwell was asked if performing the same hits again and again made him weary. He responded saying that the opportunity of performing them never grew old, as it put food on his table and his performances were always aimed at those in the crowd who hadn’t heard or seen it live.

Harwell went to extraordinary steps to market the band’s early music – he personally took their album “Astro Lounge” to numerous radio stations across the country to introduce it to the airwaves. He reflected on this experience, saying, “We never do anything traditional. We never go through the front door. It’s always the back door, or an open window or something, to get our stuff played.”

Upon Harwell’s departure from the band in 2021 due to health concerns, the group maintained its momentum with newly inducted lead vocalist Zach Goode. Describing Harwell’s vivacious life and swift downfall, Hayes aptly stated, “Steve lived a 100% full-throttle life. Burning brightly across the universe before burning out.” As an homage to the great star that was Steve Harwell, he added, “Good night Heevo Veev. Rest in peace knowing you aimed for the stars, and magically hit your target.”

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.


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