Steve Harwell is so identified with his band, Smash Mouth, that most people, in fact, refer to him by the name of the band. The San Jose, California-based pop rock band was formed in 1994 by Harwell himself. Born in Santa Clara, California on January 9, 1967, the Smash Mouth lead vocalist counts Van Halen, The Waterboys, and Elvis Presley as his musical influences. Yet most sentimental of all is his recollection of his grandmother playing the same three songs on the piano for 80 years. “You can hear her fingernails hit the keys before they actually make the note. And she whistles backwards – not out, but in,” Harwell said. Moreover, he said he remembers his teachers telling him that he would be a performer some day – and not just any performer, but a frontman, no less. As for the band, their primary niche is playing third wave ska music, yet they have also created a name for themselves by doing pop songs, such as their most successful 1998 hit, “All Star,” which figured prominently in Shrek, and covers, such as “I'm a Believer.”
In 2006, Harwell was cast in VH1 reality show The Surreal Life season 6. The show features celebrities who are said to have been past their primes and puts them in a Hollywood Hills mansion for two weeks, all while being followed by an unforgiving camera that aimed to capture their every move. It was interesting for fans to see Harwell opposite another rocker musician, C.C. Deville, lead guitarist for the rock band Poison. Harwell's rock star personality, moreover, surely brought in laughs in the mansion. In season 6, the cast was made to shoot a music video, produce and broadcast a live news program, host their own talk show, and participate in a battle of the bands competition.
(Photo courtesy of VH1)