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Carson reflects on friendship with late Smash Mouth singer: ‘I always rooted & prayed for him’

Carson Daly says the late Steve Harwell "brought joy to millions with his music."
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/ Source: TODAY

Carson Daly is sharing some touching memories of his long friendship with Smash Mouth singer Steve Harwell, who died Sept. 4 at age 56 after struggling with various health issues.

“I spent the morning down the rabbit hole of 90’s music memories as I got the official heartbreaking news about the passing of Steve Harwell from Smash Mouth,” Carson wrote on Instagram, sharing a throwback photo of the “All Star” singer.

Carson said his friendship with Harwell began in 1995, when Smash Mouth was still a new, unsigned band. Working at the time as a radio DJ in San Jose, California, Carson wanted to give Smash Mouth a leg up.

“In an attempt to help support our local band (and new party pals) we played their song ‘Nervous In The Alley’ 1 billion times,” Carson wrote. “Things started really happening for them. Our friendship grew tighter.”

Smash Mouth was eventually signed by Interscope Records, and the band went on to release several hits, including “All Star” and a cover of the Monkees song “I’m a Believer,” both of which were memorably featured on the “Shrek” soundtrack.

“I always kept track of their success as I moved onto MTV & NBC,” Carson wrote. “They had a great run & wrote (and covered) some timeless pop songs.”

As the years went on, Carson said he “was aware of Steve’s darker days.”

“Life threw him some nasty curveballs including the tragic passing of his son in 2001 & addiction issues,” Carson wrote in another Instagram post. “I always rooted & prayed for him.”

Harwell’s infant son, Presley, died in 2001 of complications from acute lymphocytic leukemia, Billboard reported at the time.

Carson recalled seeing Harwell in 2016 when the singer performed on TODAY’s Halloween show. 

“We hugged like long lost bros & got caught up on each others’ lives,” Carson wrote. “That was the last time I saw him.”

Carson recalled Harwell’s “quick-witted” sense of humor and looked back fondly on the “magical time” they spent together.

“In better days, Steve was a force of a frontman & lived the life of 50 men. He brought joy to millions with his music and his legacy will thankfully live on,” Carson wrote.

“I hope in his final days & hours, surrounded by family & friends he found comfort. He’s in a better place now for sure," he added. "Thanks for the good times Steve. You’re home with little Presley now. Rejoice & Rest in peace.”

Carson also paid tribute to his friend on TODAY on Sept. 5, saying Harwell “was just the funniest guy with the best personality.”

“We were listening to Smash Mouth yesterday, it’s amazing how many hits (they had),” he said. “My kids know him from the ‘Shrek’ songs. It’s great that music lives on.”