What happened to Steve Harwell? Smash Mouth's singer abruptly quit band after slurring speech at concert

Steve Harwell announces retirement from Smash Mouth (Image via Getty Images and Smash Mouth/Instagram)
Steve Harwell announces retirement from Smash Mouth (Image via Getty Images and Smash Mouth/Instagram)
Barsha Roy

Smash Mouth frontman Steve Harwell officially announced his departure from the band following a strange performance at the Big Sip Festival in New York last week. A TikTok video documenting his behavior surfaced online and left fans of the band disappointed.

In the video, the lead singer can be seen delivering a slurred speech, making offensive comments, and even threatening a few people in the audience. Several claimed that he even attempted a Nazi salute mid-way through the concert.

A representative from Steve Harwell’s team spoke to SFGate and attributed his behavior to poor mental and physical health:

“…nonstop serious medical setbacks including heart failure as well as acute Wernickes Encephalopathy, a condition that has greatly impacted his motor functions including speech and impaired memory.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the band also told the outlet that the singer is retiring from the band to prioritize his well-being:

“As of today, Steve will be retiring from Smash Mouth to focus on his physical and mental health. Steve has been dealing with long term medical issues over the last 8 years and during his last performance he suffered numerous symptoms directly linked with his current medical situation.”

Harwell was first diagnosed with cardiomyopathy in 2015. The condition leads to dilated heart muscles and creates difficulty pumping blood into the rest of the body.

In 2017, Steve Harwell was rushed to hospital after he collapsed on stage due to an emergency cardiac issue and suffered recurring problems.

A look into Steve Harwell’s life and career

Steve Harwell is an American musician and former lead singer of Smash Mouth (Image via Getty Images)
Steve Harwell is an American musician and former lead singer of Smash Mouth (Image via Getty Images)

Steve Harwell is an American singer and musician, best recognized as the lead singer of Smash Mouth. He began his music career as a rapper in F.O.S and joined the band when Greg Camp formed the group in 1994.

The band rose to immense popularity and released seven studio albums, four compilation albums, 13 music videos, and 19 singles, including popular tracks like All Star, Can’t Get Enough of You Baby, and I’m a Believer among others.

Steve Harwell also featured as a cast member of the 2006 VH1 reality show The Surreal Life. He made multiple guest appearances in several films and TV shows, including a cameo in the American comedy Rat Race.

He also recorded two tracks, Everything Just Crazy and Beside Myself, for the Korean animated film Pororo: The Racing Adventure. The 57-year-old was one of the oldest members of the band until his recent retirement.

Speaking to TMZ about his departure from the band, Harwell said:

“Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of being a rockstar performing in front of sold-out arenas and have been so fortunate to live out that dream. To my bandmates, it’s been an honour performing with you all these years and I can’t think of anyone else I would have rather gone on this wild journey with.”

Steve Harwell also thanked his fans for their consistent support to the band through the years:

“To our loyal and amazing fans, thank you, all of this was possible because of you. I’ve tried so hard to power through my physical and mental health issues, and to play in front of you one last time, but I just wasn't able to. I am so grateful to each and every one of you who has helped Smash Mouth sell over 10 million albums worldwide, put us on top of radio charts and those who have kept All Star relevant as one of the top memes on the internet today.”

Smash Mouth will reportedly continue with bassist Paul De Lisle, guitarist Mike Krompass, and drummer Randy Cooke while looking for a replacement for Steve Harwell. The band is scheduled to perform at the Alameda County Fairgrounds on October 27.

Edited by Srijan Sen
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