Less than six months after Smash Mouth singer Steve Harwell retired after footage of a shambolic live show went viral, the band have returned with a new singer and an unlikely cover of Rick Astley's pop classic Never Gonna Give You Up.
In a move we can only describe as extremely meta, Smash Mouth – whose 1999 hit All Star has been the basis for many a meme, remix, cover and parody – have chosen to return with the song that powers the Rickroll, the long-running internet prank in which web users are unwittingly directed to a video of Astley's 1987 hit. And for this, we salute them (opens in new tab).
The new singer is Zach Goode, who tells KROQ's Kevan Kenney (opens in new tab), "It was sort of a fluke. I just saw somewhere that they needed a singer. I sort of wrote an email, almost as sort of a goof, as they're not going to ever respond to this email.
"Well, maybe I put a little bit of thought into it, but it was one of those, 'Hey, you want a guy with some bad '90s tattoos and a dad bod? Come talk to me! I'm right here. Here's my YouTube page. Not that I thought they'd respond.'"
The band responded, and Never Gonna Give You Up is the result.
“One of our managers kept pushing for us to do this song,” bassist Paul De Lisle says. “We kind of resisted, like it’s not really our thing.” But eventually the band came up with an arrangement that worked.
“That was one of the first songs they sent to me during the audition process,” confirms Goode. “It’s so pitch perfect, yet out of leftfield at the same time.”
Regarding the departure of Harwell, De Lisle says, "For the last few years Steve's had a lot of medical problems. He has cardiomyopathy and heart problems. He retired. We kind of saw it coming. But we knew we were going to keep going."