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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

Smashmouth
Jay Blakesberg

Interscoping Out Smashmouth: Local rock band scores with 'Fush You Mang' album on Interscope.

Foot in 'Mouth:
Is Smashmouth the real thing?

RECENTLY, I got three separate calls from three separate people about Smashmouth. They were curious. Who is this band? Isn't it from San Jose? What is its story? How did it get signed to Interscope? Aren't the Phunk Junkeez on Interscope? To fill you in, Smashmouth got signed to Interscope the day after two of its tracks got added to influential L.A. radio station KROQ. The full-length album, Fush You Mang, arrived in stores last Monday. The group celebrates its CD-release party at the Usual on Saturday (July 12) with Maynards Lane. And yes, the Phunk Junkeez are on Interscope at this writing but are still played out.

I spoke to guitarist Greg Camp when news of the signing leaked out, and he was surprised I called. True, I've never given Smashmouth much attention because I've never been knocked out by the band. It has its own niche. I've seen Smashmouth three or four times, and I always thought the group was following trends (ska-inflected punk-pop a la Rancid, mostly) instead of setting them. Only once, the Kamp KOME gig last September, did I come away impressed. I was as surprised as anybody when it landed on the cover of BAM and on Interscope.

So I was driving home last week, intent on hearing the single "Walking on the Sun" that alternative-rock radio has in heavy rotation. Sure enough, it came on. It's an upbeat number, driven by a cheesy Farfisa organ. Do I like it? It's catchy, but it didn't leave me craving more. The lasting thought was that Smashmouth had finally latched onto a trend (Beck-style cheese) that paid off.

I'm happy for them. I think it's great that Smashmouth got signed; it only draws more attention to our area and the other bands toiling in obscurity. A warning to the fellas, though: save your money and be careful what you wish for--you could end up like the Phunk Junkeez. And hey, if the album turns out to be great (I haven't got an advance yet), I'm prepared to eat a Costco-sized case of humble pie.

Jazz Thing

Gordon Biersch has lined up some cool acts for its courtyard during the San Jose Jazz Festival, Aug. 9­10. Rare Brew, Bobby Matos, Viva Brazil, Los Compas, Lavay Smith and the Red Hot Skillet Lickers, Wally Schnalle, Fasmania, Toledo, Marcus Shelby Trio w/Teodress Avery and the New Morty and Connie Champagne Show will offer cutting-edge alternatives to the mainstream arenas. ... Fans of contemporary Hawaiian music should take note: Yokohama Restaurant (230 E. Jackson St., San Jose) is hosting Hawaiian Music Nights every second Saturday of the month. The series debuts on July 12 with the youthful reggae-fied local kanaka kids the Island Riddim Band. Shows go from 9pm to midnight, and there's a $3 cover. ... Pop goodness recently confirmed: Bis and the Mr. T. Experience at the Edge on Aug. 7. ... Music in the Park gets started Thursday (July 10) with the South Bay Blues Revue.

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From the July 10-16, 1997 issue of Metro.

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