The Smash Mouth meme-production mill does not rest. With each day comes a new iteration, a new version of “All Star,” a new official tweet plumbing the depths of tastelessness. Why, was it just two weeks ago when the band commemorated the deaths of Carrie Fisher and George Michael by slapping its logo on top of publicity photos of the dead celebs? Yes, it was just two weeks ago when they did that. Several days later they had recovered from the social media firestorm and were earnestly congratulating a fan for performing cunnilingus.
However, Smash Mouth remains Smash Mouth, which is to say that this is not the work of an opportunistic team of social media experts needling the public and playing into the band’s corner of the cultural market (see also: the social presences of George Takei or pretty much any fast-food brand). In a new interview with Inverse, the band’s bassist, Paul De Lisle, says that the tweets are written by the band members themselves. Of the widely reviled Fisher and Michael tweets, he said, “Those posts were not meant to gain attention from someone’s death. Our logo is our Stamp Of Approval. But of course we got destroyed and maybe we will do it differently moving forward.”
Throughout the interview, De Lisle talks about the band’s “fans,” saying at one point that they “don’t even know what a meme is,” implying some sincere group of die-hard Smash Mouth fans (Mouthheads? Smashers?) that are seemingly befuddled by the group’s online popularity. He also notes that those fans wear Shrek paraphernalia to concerts, which would seemingly indicate that they do know what a meme is. As for the band itself, De Lisle says that he and his bandmates “fully embrace the meme aspect,” which is an incredibly weird phrasing but also perhaps about as much as can be expected, as humans are still learning how to refer to themselves in meme form. And anyway, it’s all working out for him: He notes, with Smash Mouthian eloquence, that all of the attention has helped “All Star” to sell “weekly like mad.”
Also of note is the fact that people just go around calling lead singer Steve Harwell “Shrek” in real life, which is as bracing a vision of hell as humanity has yet devised. The whole thing’s worth a read.