The rock band’s front man cites ongoing physical and mental health issues in an apology
Steve Harwell, founding member and vocalist of the rock band Smash Mouth, is stepping away from the mic for good after a tumultous performance on Saturday. In footage captured by fans, the 54-year-old can be seen slurring his speech, cursing and even delivering what appears to be a Nazi salute.
“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 said in a statement. The “Smash Mouth” and “All-Star” singer gave no indication that the band would dissolve with his departure, adding, “I cannot wait to see what Smash Mouth accomplishes next.”
On Tuesday, a representative told the New York Post that Harwell had been grappling with ongoing medical issues for eight years, including cardiomyopathy, heart failure and acute Wernickes Encephalopathy.
These issues were responsible for the “numerous symptoms” – including impaired motor functions, slurred speech and memory impairment – that surfaced during Harwell’s performance at the Big Sip festival in upstate New York, the rep explained.
In a video posted to TikTok, a user known as Haley, who was present at the concert, describes it as “the most chaotic show I’ve ever seen in my entire life.” The recording features clips of Harwell’s “unintelligble speech” and crude language directed toward the audience. At one point, the singer raised his middle fingers and said, “F— you bitches” and “I’ll f—ing kill your whole family, I swear to God.”
A spokesperson insisted that “this Tik Tok video is not an accurate representation of the man Steve is” and said that the singer “regrets his actions.”
Harwell’s statement concluded with a heartfelt message to his bandmates and fans: “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,” he said. “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 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.”
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