On Labor Day, September 4th, the news broke that rock singer Steve Harwell had passed away from complications from liver failure. He was just 56 years old.

Harwell, of course, was known as the raspy lead singer of the quintessential '90s band Smash Mouth, whose biggest hits included "Walkin' on the Sun", "All Star" and "Then the Morning Comes."

Smash Mouth had undergone a series of lineup changes since their formation in the early '90s, but Harwell remained the face of the band-- that is, until a disastrous and "chaotic" gig at an Upstate NY wine festival in 2021 forced Harwell's bizarre exodus from the group.


Montgomery Book Exchange via Facebook
Montgomery Book Exchange via Facebook

On October 9th, 2021, Smash Mouth was booked for a beer and wine festival at Bethel Woods. It went off the rails rather quickly.

Throughout the performance, singer Hartwell appeared visibly intoxicated, swaying on stage and slurring his words. The band was also plagued with technical issues, irritating Harwell, who threatened the audience at various points.

I'll kill your whole f**king family, I swear to God... F**k you, bitches.

One particularly eyebrow-raising moment came when Harwell appeared to raise his arm in an apparent Nazi salute. One concertgoer said:

[This] was the most chaotic show I've ever seen in my entire life... I have no words.

Following the turbulent performance at Bethel Woods, Harwell announced his retirement from the band:

Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of being a rockstar performing in front of sold-out arenas and have been so fortunate to live out that dream. To my bandmates, it’s been an honor performing with you all these years and I can’t think of anyone else I would have rather gone on this wild journey with.

90sFEST Pop Culture And Music Festival
Brad Barket / Getty Images

Although this particular show in Bethel was one to forget, Smash Mouth said Harwell will be remembered for his "unwavering focus and impassioned determination to reach the heights of pop stardom."

Smashmouth Singer Melts Down at Bethel Woods

Smashmouth's visit to the Hudson Valley during a beer and wine festival ultimately led to lead singer Steve Harwell's retirement. Here's a look at just what fans say happened during the now-infamous show at Bethel Woods on October 9, 2021.

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