Music | October 11, 2021 5:53 pm

Smash Mouth’s Singer Threatened Audience With Murder

Live music is back, for good and for ill

Smash Mouth live, 2017
Musician Steve Harwell of the group Smashmouth performs at Queen Mary's Rock The Queen at The Queen Mary on June 3, 2017 in Long Beach, California.
Harmony Gerber/Getty Images

Let’s say you were at a concert and witnessed the vocalist of one band threaten to kill the audience’s family. What sort of music would you expect this band to perform? Your guess would probably be somewhere in the realm of metal (or, perhaps, an especially transgressive noise artist). Among the bands you wouldn’t expect to do something like this? Smash Mouth, a group who — their name aside — have a sound and demeanor that could accurately be described as “jocular.”

And yet we now live in a world where said band’s vocalist, Steve Harwell, has had what could politely be described as an onstage meltdown, complete with semi-coherent threats to the audience.

News of this comes via Grayson Weir at BroBible. Apparently, Smash Mouth was headlining the Big Sip festival at New York’s Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. As the name suggests, the event featured a healthy presence from brewers, winemakers and distillers. It might also explain some of Harwell’s, shall we say, exceedingly candid onstage banter.

TikTok user Haley (aka @doesthisfeelgood) posted a video featuring highlights from the set, which she dubbed “the most chaotic show I’ve ever seen in my entire life.” The video features Harwell — among other things — flipping off the crowd, giving what sure looks like a Nazi salute and alluding to fellating himself. Making matters worse was the sound at the event, which at times abounded with feedback to the point of the band being unintelligible.

“I know the ethics of this aren’t great,” Haley said in introducing the clip. Then again, compared with threatening to kill an audience’s family, the ethics are positively glowing.