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Smash Mouth

In 2017, venerable multi-platinum and Grammy-nominated band Smash Mouth will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut, smash-hit album “Fush Yu Mang”. Released on July 8, 1997, “FYM” was a shocking — and industry-changing — success. Out of nowhere, the single “Walkin’ On The Sun” was an immediate international sensation. (Quickly shooting to #1 on the Billboard charts, and eventually boosting “FYM” sales to over 3 million copies in the U.S. alone.) In the two decades since, Smash Mouth has not slowed down. In fact, they are as vital and vibrant as ever.

In celebration of this milestone year, Smash Mouth will release a just-completed acoustic version of “FYM” in its entirety (along with a mini-book recalling it’s making). 2017 will also see the band releasing a new album of all-original material. And you will be hearing a whole lot of “Smash Mouth” on your TV screen as the bands name is prominently featured in a Geico campaign called decorative plates. 2017 is already shaping up to be a banner year for the veteran San Jose rockers.

May, 2016 saw the release of “Playlist: The Very Best of Smash Mouth”. As part of Sony’s recent “Playlist” CD series, the album is a composite of twelve Smash Mouth favorites chosen from live recordings of two late-2014 concerts (one in Rapid City, South Dakota…the other in Manilla, The Phillipines). This CD is a must-have for even the most casual Smash Mouth fan, as each track literally explodes with live energy. “We’re a totally different band live” enthused Smash Mouth lead singer Steve Harwell. “People are constantly telling me how much more powerful our songs are live compared to the studio versions”.

A look back at Smash Mouth’s formative years shows us a band determined to make an impact from the get-go. Formed in 1994, the band immediately begins recording demos and showcasing in both San Jose and Hollywood, CA. In June of 1997, Smash Mouth is signed to Interscope Records when label brass catch wind of an unknown (and unsigned) band being ADDED to highly influential LA radio station KROQ’s playlist after only one spin (!) of their song “Walkin’ On The Sun”.

Smash Mouth’s major- label debut “Fush Yu Mang” goes more than DOUBLE-PLATINUM and sets the table for what most consider their masterpiece, 1999’s brilliant follow-up album “Astrolounge”. No sophomore slump for these guys…Boasting three top-ten hits (“All-Star”, “Then The Morning Comes”, and “Can’t Get Enough Of You Baby”), sales for “Astrolounge” are nearly double those for their debut, approaching QUADRUPLE PLATINUM status.

Smash Mouth’s third, eponymous Interscope release features the ecstatic first single “Pacific Coast Party” and the smash hit “I’m a Believer”. Around this time, Smash Mouth crosses over into the film world by providing the musical heart of the soundtrack for “Shrek”, and even making a cameo appearance in the movie “Rat Race”. In recent years, Smash Mouth has focused on entertaining troops in such places as Japan, Guam, Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

2016 solidified an exciting new line-up for the veteran Bay Area rockers. Smash Mouth founding members Steve Harwell and Paul DeLisle (along with long-time keyboardist Michael Klooster) welcomed the return of world-class drummer Randy Cooke (with the band from 2010-2013) as well as introducing new guitarist Sam Eigen.

When Smash Mouth went looking for a new guitar player earlier this year, they didn’t have to look far. He was right in their own backyard. A long-time friend of both Steve and Paul, virtuoso string-bender Eigen (who has played with Alanis Morrisette, Janet Jackson, and John Fogerty, among others) is generally considered the best rock guitar player in San Jose. Says Delisle; “When word got out around town that Sam had joined Smash Mouth, the general response was, ‘It’s about f***ing time!’”. Eigen can also be heard playing guitar on several of Harwell’s solo recordings over the years.

“This new Smash Mouth line-up is pure fire-power” proclaims band manager Robert Hayes…”You’re simply going to have to see this to believe it!”

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Spin Doctors

The band’s Epic debut EP Up For Grabs was recorded live at Wetlands in Lower Manhattan and released in January 1991. (In 1992, these EP tracks were remixed and supplemented by additional live recordings to form the album Homebelly Groove.)

In August 1991, the Spin Doctors released their full-length debut album Pocket Full Of Kryptonite, co-produced by Peter Denenberg and Frankie LaRocka. Relentless touring and a wave of positive press kept the album alive into the next year, when sales began to increase dramatically. Kryptonite was certified gold in September 1992 and received an additional boost from the band’s October appearance on “Saturday Night Live.” Reaching the one million mark in January 1993, Kryptonite entered the Billboard Top Ten one month later.

By June 1993, the album was triple platinum and had breached the Top Five among Billboard Pop Albums while spinning off two major hit singles: “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and the No. 1 Rock radio song of 1993, “Two Princes.” Ultimately, Pocket Full Of Kryptonite sold over five million copies in the US and another five million overseas.

“[Their] popularity is based on universal rock & roll virtues,” said Rolling Stone, which put the band on the cover of its January 7, 1993 issue. “The Doctors aren’t trying to blaze new trails-they know we’ve been down this way with the Stones, Curtis Mayfield, and a few of their other touchstones. But the proof-plenty of it-is in the party.”

In June 1994, the Spin Doctors released their second Epic album, Turn It Upside Down. Once again co-produced by Peter Denenberg and Frankie LaRocka, the album featured new originals like “Biscuit Head,” “Bags Of Dirt,” and “You Let Your Heart Go Too Fast.” The band set out on a three-month headlining tour, and played to immense crowds at the Woodstock and Glastonbury festivals. Their cover of the Creedence Clearwater classic “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” was a highlight of the multi-platinum Philadelphia soundtrack.

Deeply weary of the road, guitarist Eric Schenkman left the group in September ’94-just as Turn It Upside Down was certified gold-and was replaced by Anthony Krizan for their fall tour of Europe. In November-December 1994, the Spins opened for the Rolling Stones on a series of eleven North American stadium shows. In March 1995, their album hit the one million (platinum) mark in the US, moving an additional million copies overseas.

The Spin Doctors’ next Epic album, You’ve Got to Believe In Something, was produced by Danny Kortchmar and released in May 1996; more touring followed. After Anthony Krizan’s departure, the band soldiered on with a new guitarist and a new label (Uptown/Universal) for the 1999 album Here Comes the Bride. But during these sessions, Mark White left the band. Later, Chris Barron lost his voice to an attack of vocal cord paralysis-and soon the Spin Doctors called it quits. (In October 2000, Sony Legacy released the 17-track retrospective Just Go Ahead Now.)

Mark White moved to Houston, Texas to practice and teach bass. Eric Schenkman earned two degrees from the New School University in New York before moving to eastern Canada. He has played and/or recorded with Natalie Merchant, Carly Simon, jazz composer Kip Hanrahan, Canadian songwriter Jimmy Rankin, and his own groups Cork (with drummer Corky Laing) and High Plains Drifter (with the late Blues Traveler bassist Bobby Sheehan).

Chris Barron undertook what he calls “a journeyman songwriting experience,” composing tunes with Blues Traveler’s Jon Popper and with former BMI executive Jeff Cohen. Aaron Comess produced and/or recorded with Joan Osborne, Chris Whitley, Mark Cohn, Rachel Yamagata, and Bilal, among others. He is one-third of the New York Electric Piano Trio, and appears on the albums New York Electric Piano Trio, War Oracle and Citizen Zen.

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