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Steve Harwell Dead at 56, Smash Mouth Founding Singer Laid to Rest

Steve Harwell Dead at 56, Smash Mouth Founding Singer Laid to Rest

Smash Mouth cofounder STEVE HARWELL passed away at the age of 56, according to band manager Robert Hayes. The performer, who is best known for songs like “All Star” and “I’m a Believer,” passed away at home in Boise, Idaho, “surrounded by family and friends.”

Following medical issues, Harwell was receiving hospice care. According to Hayes, liver failure was the cause of death.

According to Hayes, Harwell “passed peacefully and comfortably.” He paid a lengthy eulogy to the musician, a mainstay of ’90s rock music who enjoyed success with several albums and hits, in a statement to Rolling Stone.

“Steve’s iconic voice is one of the most recognizable voices from his generation. He loved the fans and loved to perform. Steve Harwell was a true American original. A larger than life character who shot up into the sky like a Roman candle. Steve should be remembered for his unwavering focus and impassioned determination to reach the heights of pop stardom. And the fact that he achieved this near-impossible goal with very limited musical experience makes his accomplishments all the more remarkable. His only tools were his irrepressible charm and charisma, his fearlessly reckless ambition, and his king-size cajones. Steve lived a 100 percent full-throttle life. Burning brightly across the universe before burning out.”

Even though Harwell has not been a part of Smash Mouth as an official member since 2021, he and bassist Paul Delisle are the only two founding members who have remained constant over the bulk of the band’s existence.

Steve Harwell: Early Days

In San Jose, California, Harwell made his music debut as a rapper with the group F.O.S. (Freedom of Speech). In 1990, he started working with his friend and percussionist Kevin Coleman after the group disbanded. Later, he formed a band with bassist Paul Delisle and guitarist Greg Camp. The four-piece band released two demos, which were played on a nearby radio station. They soon joined No Doubt and Beck onstage at a summer event.

Smash Mouth’s most recent full-length album, Magic, was released in 2012, the same year their book Recipes From the Road dropped. The band continued to tour as more members rotated in and out of the group.

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Retirement from the gig life

While Harwell remained a mainstay, he was prone to onstage outbursts before ultimately leaving the group in 2021. At a Fort Collins, Colorado show in 2015, he reportedly became angry during the encore, yelled profanities, and exited after bread was thrown onstage. He later apologized. (In August 2016, Harwell reportedly collapsed and was taken away by ambulance while the band finished the set without him.)

However, a circumstance on October 9, 2021, caused him to give up music. Harwell was caught on camera cursing, threatening the audience, and giving the middle finger to supporters at the Big Sip festival in Bethel, New York. At the time, a representative for the singer informed the New York Post that Harwell’s motor skills and memory had been affected by his Wernicke encephalopathy, a neurological condition.

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An entity of flesh and bones in pursuit of becoming a higher being. A connoisseur of the mystic arts and everything musical. His origins are unknown, and so are his true motives.

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