Smash Mouth Features New Singer With Rick Astley Cover

Smash Mouth returns with new vocalist Zach Goode (center). Photo: Smash Mouth

Following the abrupt departure of Smash Mouth frontman Steve Harwell from the San Jose band last year due to medical issues, the remaining band members are marking their comeback by getting their fans rolling with Rickroll and a new lead singer.

The band’s cover of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” released Wednesday, March 2, serves as an introduction to Zach Goode, a Los Angeles actor who previously headed Divided by Zero, the Secret Seven and a “Weezer/Beastie Boys fake senior citizen performance art group” called Geezer, according to his website. Goode’s website also lists that he has appeared in off-Broadway productions of “Grease” and “Rent” and provided the voice for Taco Bell’s most recent commercials.

Smash Mouth, best known for hits such as “All Star” and “I’m a Believer,” made headlines in October after a “chaotic” performance at the Big Sip festival in upstate New York. A viral tiktok The video showed Harwell on stage appearing to scramble for words, threatening people in the crowd, making vulgar gestures and raising one arm in what some people on social media considered a Nazi-style salute.

Steve Harwell performing with Smash Mouth in 2017. He left the band in October 2021 due to health issues. Photo: Harmony Gerber/Getty Images

Harwell was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy eight years ago, according to the group. The disease affects cardiac and motor functions.

After his departure from the group, he released a statement saying, “I tried so hard to overcome my physical and mental health issues and play in front of you one last time, but I just couldn’t. … I can’t wait to see what Smash Mouth will accomplish next and I can’t wait to count myself among the band’s new fans.

Smash Mouth was formed in San Jose in the mid-1990s and catapulted to worldwide fame when a few of their songs were included in the soundtrack to the movie “Shrek”. The band has sold over 12 million records.

goode said Kevan Kenney from KROQ that it was his idea to approach the band.

“It was kind of a fluke. I just saw somewhere that they needed a singer. I kind of wrote an email, almost like some kind of goof,” he said. -he declares. “Well, maybe I thought about it a bit, but it was one of those, ‘Hey, you want a guy with bad ’90s tattoos and a daddy body? Come talk to me! I’m here. This is my YouTube page.’ Not that I thought they would respond.

The group said they selected him after auditioning “thousands” of other potential candidates for the role.

Covering Astley’s 1987 hit, which became the source of countless Internet pranks, was the band’s management idea.

“One of our managers kept pushing us to do this song,” bassist Paul De Lisle told KROQ. “We kind of resisted. Like, that’s not really our thing.

De Lisle also said the band knew their days with Harwell were numbered.

“We kind of saw it coming,” De Lisle said. “It’s a shame for Steve, but it’s been happening for a few years.”

Smash Mouth also drew attention during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 for playing for thousands of spectators at te Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. The concert has become one of the largest known coronavirus superspreader events in the United States, according to a report by researchers from the Center for Health Economics & Policy Studies at San Diego State University.

  • Aidin Vaziri

    Aidin Vaziri is the pop music critic for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @MusicSF


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