All Star wasn’t written for Shrek, but the two are almost inseparable at this point. It hardly happened.
“When DreamWorks came to us, some of us were a little worried,” said former Smash Mouth guitarist Greg Camp. “Because once you put your song into a family movie, you blend into that Disney zone. It’s like you’re out of Warped Tour Land and Credibility Land. “
The union finally came together thanks to the persistence of DreamWorks and unexpected outside circumstances.
“As we were about to put [the 2001 self-titled album, Smash Mouth] outside, September 11 happened. We have a single called ‘Pacific Coast Party’, which is basically ‘Hey, we’re all partying here on the west coast’, and the east coast was in shambles, ”group manager Robert Hayes said. We decided not to move. on top of that, which seemed like a good time to go back to Dreamworks and say, “Hey, we’re gonna do this for this Shrek movie. “
The group was almost too late, as Dreamworks had shut down production on the film, but the group convinced the studio to open the film; the band provided All Star for the opening streak, and their cover of I’m a Believer for the closing streak.
“We had no idea how tall Shrek was,” singer Steve Harwell said. “We had no idea. It was just a launching pad. The song was already a number one single, then Shrek came out and we sold millions of records just for that. “
“It took the group to a different world,” Camp said.
“It’s a double-edged sword for the group,” added Hayes. “Some of the guys totally embrace it and they love it. Two other guys hate being associated with a movie all the time. “
While the group has some philosophical differences over the song’s success, manager Hayes found something in common between them.
“From a managerial standpoint, I can say this: Sometimes they really hated making money, but they never hate spending it,” Hayes said.
The interview delves deep into the memes that Shrek and All Star spawned, from “Mario, You’re a Plumber,” a 2009 parody of the song, to Mouth Sounds by Neil Cicierega, who remixed and recontextualized the song into mixing it with tracks like Float On from Modest Mouse, Full House theme and Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger from Daft Punk. The group aren’t always thrilled with the way memes use the track, but also say they know it’s done from a place of love.
“Sometimes I feel like it’s a little disrespectful, and at the same time I feel like it’s an honor that people go out of their way to do this,” Harwell said. “I take more pleasure in seeing other artists take it up during concerts. I think that’s a really cool thank you, for us. But I think whenever someone goes out of their way to make their own version of it, it’s also a thank you because they go out of their way to make it happen. They wouldn’t do it if they didn’t like him. “
The oral history of the song by Rolling Stone is extensive, spanning the band’s early years and transition from punk to pop, the song’s origins and its long legacy for the band, and well worth reading.