The guy from Smash Mouth once famously said, “Somebody once told me the world was gonna troll me.” At least I think that’s how the lyric went. Was it “roll”? I know it was something like that, but who can really be sure? I suppose a fan or someone who cared enough to Google it, but like most of the world with the ability to hear, I don’t fancy myself to be much of a Smash Mouth fan.
Despite feeling nothing neither for nor against the ’90s San Jose pop-rockers-turned-2010s joke, they—or at the very least whomever is tasked with maintaining their social media accounts—played a prominent part in one of my favorite summer memories in recent history. When we posted our extensive 2016 summer festival guide yesterday, that recollection came rushing back in equal measure as my anticipation of the upcoming season. We didn’t write about it at the time and those who could’ve seen it all unfold were probably away on vacation, but on July 6, 2015, Smash Mouth fucking hated Milwaukee Record. By July 7, we were on good terms. Here’s what happened in the hours between.
The short-lived feud actually originated July 5, when I published a post entitled “23 bread-free Summerfest foods to eat when Smash Mouth plays.” At the time, the band was less than a month removed from an incident in which singer Steve Harwell had an on-stage meltdown in which he lashed out at and threatened to fight members of a Colorado crowd at Taste Of Fort Collins food festival after being hit by bread. My post—a rare Sunday offering from Milwaukee Record—was intended to be a harmless jab in the direction of one of that night’s headliners, playing off the strange carb-based tirade, while also serving as a gluten-free dining guide people could access for the remainder of Summerfest. Besides mentioning Harwell, Smash Mouth, and the bread incident in my introductory paragraphs, the majority of the article had to do with gluten-free food offerings at The Big Gig™. In retrospect, maybe the accompanying image I created was a low blow.
That same day, I was on the festival grounds for the second day of “my entirely local weekend at Summerfest.” While getting a beer between bands, inspiration struck. Being only hours removed from finishing the very food guide Harwell (heretofore known as “the dude from Smash Mouth”) directly inspired, I had Smash Mouth on the brain and, thus, drafted the following tweet on my personal account and posted it on Facebook as well.
Though merely a joke on the personal social media accounts of somebody nobody ever heard of in a city the band would be leaving within a day’s time, I can see why that could inspired Smash Mouth (verified check mark and all) to block me, which they did…and continue to presently. Unbeknownst to them though, while I was taking borderline-too-far swipes at “The Dude From Smash Mouth,” I’d assigned Sammy Arechar, a then-Milwaukee (now Chicago) comedian and the only unironic Smash Mouth fan I knew, to write an earnest and fair review the band’s show to offset my previous post.
By the time we had posted and were ready to promote Arechar’s absolutely glowing review of Smash Mouth’s Summerfest performance on Milwaukee Record‘s social media accounts the following afternoon, this is what I saw when trying to link the band.
Not cool, Smash Mouth! Though we couldn’t ensure our post would be seen by other fans of the band and I quietly lamented no longer having access to 140-character samplings of the past-prime outfit’s innermost thoughts and feelings, myself and the other co-founder/editor Matt Wild took solace in knowing our previous posts must’ve captured the band’s attention. Plus, we were still riding high from our business’ Twitter account garnering a follow from none other than hotel heiress (and another 2015 Summerfest headliner) Paris Hilton. Matt noted as much on his personal Twitter account.
That tweet by Matt—the only MR-related figure not blocked by Smash Mouth at the time—prompted this reply. I assume the dashes mean something phallic that’s four letters long. We may never know for sure.
So there we had it, certifiable proof that Smash Mouth—or at the very least whomever is tasked with maintaining their social media accounts—saw the bread post, didn’t care for it, blocked us, and felt it necessary to offend Ms. Hilton’s honor in the process. Though I’d never set out to legitimately piss off the band responsible for writing “All-Star” and possibly other songs, it was kind of funny knowing something as simple as a bread-related Photoshop, a bad bread Photoshop at that, could cause that kind of social media ripple effect. I’d be lying if I said I was proud of my behavior, but by the afternoon of July 6, Smash Mouth was surely beyond Milwaukee city limits and our paths weren’t likely to cross until, I don’t know, the 2018 Wisconsin State Fair or some shit? I said a silent goodbye to Smash Mouth, a band I (like most of the world) barely knew.
Then I saw it.
Smash Mouth—or at the very least whomever is tasked with maintaining their social media accounts—read Sammy’s review! They liked it! Sammy was over the moon with the knowledge that somebody in (or at least close to) the band he unapologetically loved read his words and appreciated his sentiments. The Milwaukee Record account was not only un-blocked by @SmashMouth, they fucking followed us! Over the course of 24 hours, Smash Mouth went from not knowing we existed to loathing us to arguing with us to liking us to following us. Almost as quickly as it started, the feud was over. It was nothing short of a Summerfest miracle. Since my own account was still blocked from tweeting at them, I voiced my gratitude via the @MilwaukeeRecord handle.
Almost a year since the Internet spat, Smash Mouth helped make 2015’s summer festival season one I won’t soon forget. Out of curiosity, I checked Twitter today and discovered that Smash Mouth continues to follow us…at least until they read this.