Friday, October 7, 2011

Smash Mouth's Steve Harwell on the Egg Challenge, Guy Fieri, and his Competitive Eating Strategy

By Ellen Cushing
Fri, Oct 7, 2011 at 2:07 PM

So. In this week's paper, we bring you the completely bananas story of how Steve Harwell — aka the lead singer of Smash Mouth — got suckered into eating 24 eggs in one sitting, essentially because the internet told him to. Due to a combination of disorganization (on our part) and a brutal recording schedule (on Harwell's part), we couldn't actually speak to Mr. Mouth before the paper went to press, but Harwell graciously submitted to an interview earlier today (and made some seventh-grade dreams come true in the process). Here's an excerpted version of what he had to say about the challenge, what he's doing to prepare for it, and the future of Smash Mouth:

On taking the challenge:
“The way this happened, it was kind of strange and ironic I got this twitter from a local kid, saying ‘eat the eggs.’ I just kind of ignored it but then it started getting crazy… I had lost a son [to cancer] in 2001, and that really motivated me to get involved with cancer charities and kids charities. So we said, ‘let’s raise money for this and make it a real good cause instead of me just eating eggs for nothing .’ Instantly — like within three days — we raised thousands of dollars, and the numbers started climbing like crazy, and pretty soon it was on TMZ and on the news and its all over the internet. It just started spreading like crazy. The National Egg Foundation or whatever came on board and they’re completely backing the whole thing. So it was a joke at first but it’s become so serious. It’s been a strange event, it’s kinda weird, but there’s kids who’re really going to benefit from this. People want to see crazy stuff like this — people are just drawn to it, and it’s kind of comical but yet it’s a challenge. I’m not eating eggs just to prove a point.”

On Guy Fieri:
“We’ve been friends ten years and he’s a huge fan, and so I called him up and he was like, ‘dude, I’ve always told you whatever I can do for you, it’s no problem.’ So he came on board right away and I’m really pumped about it. Guy and I are two knuckleheads when we get together, but he’s a really nice guy and I really appreciate him coming on board...It’s going to be really fun; we’re going to make it really lighthearted. I imagine there’s going to be tons and tons of people. It’s going to be like the rock n’ roll Man vs. Food. I’m probably going to throw up halfway through but I’ll make it happen.”

On what he’s doing to prepare:
“I’m not going to eat for the two days building up to it, and I’m just going to drink a lot of water. That’s what people have said to do. There’s this local champion hot dog eater — this skinny kid — [Joey Chestnut] and I think he’s going to be there, cheering me on and giving me tips.”

On how the eggs will be cooked:
SH: I think we’re doing, like, scrambled eggs with a lot of spices. I like spicy food, but I shouldn’t have said that because I know Guy’s going to light my ass on fire….I’m nervous though — I don’t know if I can put that many eggs down. I mean, I think I can do this — I’m going to do this, I’m going to make it happen — but I don’t think its gonna stay down very long. Man, it’s going to be wild to stare down that mountain of eggs…oh my gosh.
EBX: Yeah, so what’s your relationship with eggs normally? Do you like them?
SH: I love eggs. I could never get ’em down boiled, but scrambled I think I have a shot…You know, I was thinking about an omelet, but I think I just have to do ’em plan. Just go for it.
EBX: I think scrambled with a lot of spices is probably a good tactic, because its flavorful but doesn’t add a lot of volume.
SH: Exactly. I think I have a better shot that way than any other way, and Guy’s already got a plan…he thinks I can do it, so we’ll see. The Tonight Show wanted me to go on there and eat them raw and I was like, ‘are you crazy?’
EBX: No that’s really dangerous and, I think, irresponsible. That’s, like, some salmonella waiting to happen.
SH: Exactly. I’d end up in the hospital.

On the future of Smash Mouth:
“We’re in the studio and we’re two songs away from finishing our new album. I think it’s the best record we’ve come out with in six years…we want to have as many hits as we can, so it’s not as personal as our past records — they were a little quirky in some areas — but I’ve always wanted to do the radio thing…And we’re planning a big spring-summer tour with Smash Mouth, Sugar Ray, Everclear, and some other bands…it’s going to be a big fun late Nineties tour…So I thank God for this opportunity to get back on top and kind of do it all over again. We keep saying, ‘it took us ten years, but we’ve finally hit our stride.’"

Update, 10/10: Smash Mouth did not, in fact, eat the eggs.

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