During the ’90s, as many of you know, I ran a record label which, aside from releasing my own vanity recordings, helped birth a few albums by artists whose work I admired; as a result, between roughly 1994 and 2001, I spent a lot of time in recording studios. Since I don’t play an instrument, much of this time was spent reading magazines, eating cheese fries, and being humiliated by gleeful engineers when it came time to send a rhythmically challenged idiot out to the drum kit to set levels.

But there was also much shooting of shit, and trading of tapes. I’d forgotten about this one long ago, but after finding it misplaced in the far corner of the Cassingle Vault, I figured I might as well get it digitized and posted.

They’re mostly known today for sucking, and for their inane, gooey late ’90s hits, but Smash Mouth actually spent awhile kicking around the Bay Area before hooking up with Eric Valentine and Interscope Records. I only ever saw them in passing, but we recorded at the same studio for awhile, and I was thus privy to a lot of stories about what a bunch of clowns the band was — particularly “vocalist” Steve Harwell, who had a serious penchant for using people as rungs on his ladder to success. Harwell had already tried to dick the studio’s owner out of songwriting royalties on a rap song he’d had a modest local hit with, using the dubious claim that it was a work for hire and not a collaboration.

The studio’s owner should have known better, in other words, but there were other guys in the band who seemed more conscientious, promises were made, etc. Long story shorter, those promises were all broken, and my friend the producer ended up with a broken answering machine and a pile of Smash Mouth demos to show for his trouble.

Here’s one of those songs. It’s no “All Star,” but hey, what is?

Smash Mouth – Pet Names

About the Author

Jeff Giles

Jeff Giles is the founder and editor-in-chief of Popdose and Dadnabbit, as well as an entertainment writer whose work can be seen at Rotten Tomatoes and a number of other sites. Hey, why not follow him at Twitter while you're at it?

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