From the Archives: SMASHED! (1999)

in Culture

Some bands owe marijuana a debt of gratitude for the inspiration the plant has provided them. In the case of San Jose, California quartet Smash Mouth, pot’s role in their success is far more direct. In the lean years before their 1997 retro-cool hit “Walkin’ on the Sun” launched them to the top of the charts, vocalist Steve Harwell and drummer Kevin Coleman would raid Bay Area pot gardens, pilfer the plants, then dry and sell the weed.

In defense of their reprehensible past, Harwell explains: “I provided the product for cheaper than what the actual grower would’ve provided it for. I was probably stealing the guys’ mortgages or something, but I was young and dumb.”

With their new album Astro Lounge, the band has repaid the debt—if not to the growers they robbed, then at least to the herb that kept them afloat during their starving-musician phase.

Among the album’s more compelling tracks is “Stoned,” a loping tribute to the joys of sparking up whose big, anthemic chorus declares: “We’re just getting high/Let us be, it’ll be all right.”

On the eve of their Astro Lounge tour, the band—Harwell, Coleman, guitarist Greg Camp, and bassist Paul DeLisle—sat down to discuss “Stoned” and their preoccupation with inhaling clouds of pot smoke.

HT: What compelled you to write “Stoned”?

Greg Camp: Part of it came from visiting Amsterdam. There’s no crime, no guns there. It’s totally mellow. Compare that to America, where they keep everything under law.

So it’s safe to say that Smash Mouth are pro-legalization?

Steve Harwell: Oh, yeah—legalize it. What the hell? It’s not killing anybody. There are worse things out there than marijuana. If everybody did smoke weed, we wouldn’t have tragedies like …

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Author: High Times / High Times

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