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Why Shrek Almost Didn't Feature Steve Harwell's Legendary Smash Mouth Song

With Smash Mouth lead singer Steve Harwell's tragic death at 56, fans of the band and their music are no doubt looking back at some of their finest moments. The crowning glory of the group's highlight reel needs little introduction, of course. Over the years, Smash Mouth has become practically synonymous with their smash hit "All Star," and its prominent use in 2001's "Shrek." 

With "All Star" and their Monkees cover "I'm A Believer," Smash Mouth has cemented its way in the history of the "Shrek" franchise, but back in the day, the band could have opted out of occupying this very particular spot of cultural real estate. In an interview with Carl Wiser of Songfacts, original Smash Mouth guitarist and songwriter Greg Camp revealed that the band used to clash between big paydays and Camp's own vision of artistic integrity, since all four members of the group had an equal say — yet very different views on the subject of movie soundtracks.

"So there were a lot of issues in that department, and being a quarter of the owner of a corporation, we all had a 25 percent say of what was next," Camp said. "Like, Pizza Hut wants to use a song. I'm like, 'No way. I don't like Pizza Hut. I don't think that we should sell out like that.' Back then, that's what it was — you don't put your songs in commercials. Maybe a cool film or something. Even Shrek, I was kind of like, 'Well, this is going to put us into this sort of Disney zone, and we're going to have to stay there and we're going to have to be writing for children and families now. I don't think that we should do that'."

Greg Camp wanted to keep it real

Though Greg Camp wrote "All Star" and was hesitant to allow its use in "Shrek," history has obviously shown that he didn't get the final say on this particular subject. This was also the case in other times he lost the vote on allowing the use of Smash Mouth's music in things like advertisements.

"There were just a lot of things that we butted heads on," the musician explained. "Everyone else was, like, 'No, we just need to make a ton of money.' I'm like, 'Yeah, but we need longevity and credibility. We have to keep these things and keep our fans, and our fans are going to turn their backs if we start putting our songs in Pizza Hut commercials.' That was my stance. I was voted out on those things."

In 2008, Camp ultimately ended up leaving the band in pursuit of other artistic endeavors. Per his official website, he's since focused on songwriting and film music — a fitting career path considering his best-known song's association with one of the best animated movies of all time.