Smash Mouth’s lead vocalist Steve Harwell, who started the band 20 years ago, can identify one major way the current version of the group is different from the one he started in 1994. “We’re about a million times better now,” Harwell said.
The group has undergone several lineup changes since they formed – 12 musicians have joined or left the group in the past decade. Harwell said that this latest iteration of the group, which consists of Paul De Lisle on the bass, Jason Sutter on the drums and Sean Hurwitz on the guitar, has been playing the best shows of his career.
“Honest to god’s truth, if I can speak with all honesty, with the original lineup we wouldn’t be as good. My guys, we’re on fire.”
The two constants in Smash Mouth’s two decades are Harwell and De Lisle, who both have been with the group since they formed. Harwell said he and De Lisle are like brothers who hate to love each other.
“We’re so alike and so different and that’s what makes [us] special,” Harwell said. “Paul’s very loyal to what we’ve created and so am I.”
According to Harwell, Greg Camp and Michael Urbano, two former members of the group, have agreed to play with the band during some of their August dates as sort of a 20-year reunion. Camp is one of the band’s original members and both he and Urbano were in Smash Mouth during the height of their success.
Smash Mouth’s current lineup has been on the Under The Sun tour since early July with a coalition of bands, Blues Traveler, Sugar Ray and Uncle Kracker, who had chart toppers in the 1990s. The bands are co-headlining the tour and, according to Harwell, making cameos during each other’s sets and “stepping their game up” every night they take the stage.
“You know, people are spending their hard earned dollars on these shows and for us it’s like ‘I’ve got to go out there and deliver,’” Harwell said.
“Back in the day when I was young I was like whatever, I didn’t really care; it was just like rock and roll. But now it’s like I’m 47 years old and I take my career much more seriously and so do all the guys.”
Harwell said Smash Mouth has been playing some of their hits, as are most of the bands on the tour, but are also playing a cover of The Kinks’ All Day and “All of the Night.” They’ve been recording to their live sets, too, according to Harwell, and are slated to release a live album later this year under Sony Records.
Smash Mouth played an Under The Sun tour date last night in Glen Allen, Va. but are taking a slight detour to play a solo show tonight in the Little City. The show starts at 8 p.m. at The State Theatre, which is located at 220 N. Washington St., Falls Church. Tickets are $25.
• For more information about Smash Mouth, visit smashmouth.com.