Smash Mouth singer Steve Harwell retires from band to focus on his health
Smash Mouth singer Steve Harwell is hanging up his microphone.
The frontman for the San Jose, Calif., rock band — best known for their '90s hits "All Star" and "Walkin' on the Sun" — cited medical issues as the reason for his departure. He was diagnosed eight years ago with cardiomyopathy and has suffered medical setbacks including heart failure and acute Wernicke's encephalopathy, which impacts motor functions such as his speech and memory.
"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," Harwell said in a statement. "To my bandmates, it's been an honor performing with you all these years and I can't think of anyone else I would have rather gone on this wild journey with. 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."
Harwell seemed to be referring to his performance with the group over the weekend at New York's the Big Sip festival, where he made headlines for appearing to curse at the crowd from the stage and other unusual behavior, as documented in a video by TikTok user Haley, who called the set the "most chaotic show I've ever been to."
A source familiar with the situation told EW that Harwell "forgot where he was [and] his own lyrics and had limited understanding of his environment due to one of his episodes." They went on to call the recording "unfortunate" and said it doesn't reflect who he is.
The source also told EW that the singer had dealt with addiction over the years, which has led to mental health issues.
In his retirement statement on Tuesday, Harwell thanked fans for helping Smash Mouth achieve success and wished the band — which will continue on without him — well.
"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," he said. "I cannot wait to see what Smash Mouth accomplishes next and am looking forward to counting myself as one of the band's newest fans."
With Harwell's support, the remaining Smash Mouth bandmates will seek out a new singer for the group.