After living life as an "All Star," Smash Mouth frontman Steve Harwell is ready to retire from music.
Harwell, 54, made the announcement to TMZ before the news went public - even though no message of the retirement has been made on Harwell's or the band's official social media pages.
The retirement comes after a controversial performance in Upstate New York on Saturday (October 9) that found Harwell slurring his words, giving crude gestures, and making vaguely threatening comments towards the audience. The singer has been battling health problems for several years and the band has played some recent shows with a stand-in vocalist.
According to TMZ, Harwell was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy eight years ago, which led to other medical setbacks like heart failure and Wernicke’s encephalopathy. The latter problem impacts motor functions, including speech and memory. It presumably contributed to Harwell's disoriented performance at the New York concert - video clips of which have gone viral online.
A source close to Harwell told The New York Post that he had one of his “episodes” while on stage, as seen in the highly-circulated video clips.
“This unfortunate recording has now been taken out of context and his ailments used against him to paint him as someone who he isn’t,” the insider said.
“Steve has been dealing with long-term medical issues over the last eight years and during his last performance at the Big Sip stage, he suffered numerous symptoms directly linked with his current medical situation,” a representative for Smash Mouth commented. “As of today, Steve will be retiring from Smash Mouth to focus on his physical and mental health.”
“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.”
Prior to the retirement announcement, Harwell had announced that he intended to take some time off from performing.
“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,” he concluded. “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.”
Smash Mouth began performing in 1994, and Harwell has been around since the group's inception. His bold vocals helped make songs like "Walkin' on the Sun," "All Star," and the cover of The Monkees' "I'm a Believer," wildly popular in the early 2000s.
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