"It's a cold place and they say it gets colder," chimed Smash Mouth singer Steve Harwell in his 1999 mega-hit. For Harwell, those wise, infectious words remain an ultimate truth. Ever since "All Star" became the song that launched a thousand memes, the singer has been plagued with health problems, ill-advised social media posts and constantly having his work discredited by just about everyone on the Internet. He has been so tortured that, at one point, he even threatened audience members and stormed off stage. Is it really so bad that he sold his soul to Shrek? Is Shrek not love? Is Shrek not life?
Memes aside, Steve Harwell's career is not ogre yet. As the band flies past their 20th anniversary with multi-platinum records proudly tucked under their belts, Smash Mouth are as great as they ever were. The band still sells out shows and has actually seen an increase in record sales thanks to a Geico ad. But being the butt of thousands of Internet jokes really does take a toll - especially if you're the kind of person who takes his work a little too seriously (which is increasingly difficult if you happen to create the soundtrack to a film where Eddie Murphy voices a donkey).
Somebody once told Harwell that the world was gonna roll him, and it did. Here's what he's been up to since "All Star."
He Sang The Most Inescapable Cover Of 2001 - And Everyone Missed The Irony
In 2001, Smash Mouth faced the ultimate conundrum – maintain their credibility as rock artists or make a ton of cash. They chose the latter, and the world never really forgave them for it.
Most mainstream music fans completely missed the irony in the song they chose to cover, "I'm A Believer" by the '60s made-for-TV rock group, the Monkees. The band covered the holy grail of all sell outs (the Monkees were literally crafted by TV networks to cash in on the Beatles' success) in the single move that marked Smash Mouth as sell outs themselves. Smash Mouth has never shied away from nuanced, self-deprecating humor, but in the age of the Internet where everything is ultra-serious, it was all but completely lost.
Shrek, of course, was a massive hit, and the sheer number of times people were forced to hear Smash Mouth's cover during trailers and previews for the four films led the outfit to be dubbed "The Shrek Band." It certainly didn't help that Shrek was a harbinger of off-color (or green-tinged) memes that permeated through the dark underbelly of 4Chan into mainstream culture.
There's A Running Theory That Steve Harwell Is Actually A Member Of Insane Clown Posse
If things weren't already frustrating enough for Steve Harwell, the Internet has developed a theory that he's actually the leader of the Juggalos, who are arguably America's most-hated music subculture and probably the sole reason the clown makeup industry remains in business.
There's no denying that Harwell looks a lot like Juggalo mastermind Violent J of the rap-rock band Insane Clown Posse – the hair, the body type, the penchant for frosted, spiky hair – but Violent J definitely has a few pound on him. Still, have Harwell and Violent J ever been spotted in the same place at the same time?
The only clear evidence lies in each group's song lyrics:
Smash Mouth: "Somebody once told me the world was gonna roll me; I ain't the sharpest tool in the shed."
Insane Clown Posse: "F***ng magnets! How do they work?"
It's reasonable to believe these sets of lyrics came from the same bloke. If not, perhaps they should collaborate.
He's Guy Fieri's "Brother From Another Mother" And No One Will Let It Go
If you're losing credibility as an artist, the last thing you should probably do is hang around deep-fried king Guy Fieri, whose around-the-mouth facial hair and strange adoration for bowling shirts made him an international taste-making sensation and widespread Internet meme. Steve Harwell even appeared on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, where Fieri dubbed him a "brother from another mother." The Internet could not deny their similarities, and some even speculate that, aside from the brief appearance together, the pair may actually be the same person. Harwell obviously denied this, and most of us are more realistic: they're simply two peas in a peroxide hair pod.
He Actually Tried To Fight (An Undoubtedly Losing Battle) With Twitter Trolls
It must be frustrating to receive negative comments online day in and day out. Eventually, you're bound to crack and Steve Harwell has clearly passed the level of "maybe I should ignore it" and moved into full-on "IDGAF" territory.
The singer has regularly slammed haters since the release of "All Star." Unfortunately, anyone who's ever read the YouTube comment's section knows that trolls lack the fundamental human capacity to reason. Here are just a couple key examples of Harwell engaging in his frustrating, never-ending battle.
Troll: No wonder you guys were a one hit wonder.
Smash Mouth: #7HitWonder Two #1's
Troll: Would u say the #shrek soundtrack was your musical peak?? I would.
Smash Mouth: Nope, we already had a #1 hit song on every chart in every country and All Star was already top 10 on its way to #1 before Shrek.
At a certain point, you've got to give props to anyone willing to take on the losing task of defending their art to Twitter trolls.