When Punk Jumped The Shark: January 11, 2020, roughly 1 p.m. on a Saturday


I’m watching the replay tv version of the 49ers playoff win over the Vikings. I noticed a weird thing or set of things after the first touchdown, which was Garoppolo to Bourne 6 yards southside far side end zone.
First, they played a Green Day song, at the bumper, between the re-run and the commercial break. It doesn’t matter which Green Day song, a newer one, obviously Green Day, regardless of the hook.
Second, the first commercial was for a car company, and the plot was rocker dude watching his daugther’s all girl punk band at a club, and they loaded out into the trendy hybird import or something. Doesn’t matter what (and it was not The Donnas’ roller derby song in which it was asserted that youngish women will be safe in a Toyota as if they were surrounded literally by group of roller derby queens. But past is prologue, even as we are comparing fall 2019 to January 2020).
Third, and what I was getting at — what made me stop the tape, grab my computer and my phone is:
Progressive is a cool set of commercials, even I would admit. With “Flo” and them. In this case, she is counseling a couple who are prospective insurance buyers. And in the middle of the discussion, or 10 seconds into the :60 spot — it is halftime and the scene splits and it is revealed as “halftime show” of the commerial and a band appears thru the fog and there is a logo on the stage SMASHMOUTH — which fittingly is a type of football reference, to John Madden and his description of the Chicago Bears mid-1980s Richard Dent and Mike Singletary — and you hear just a snippet of “All Star”* an then back to the commercial per se.
I am wondering if that is actually Greg Camp and Steve Howell in the spot. For example, could they have used stand-ins? The ad agency, to save money, might have merely licensed the song and the name “smashmouth” for the sake of the spot without incurring further cost to actually have to shoot Greg and Steve (and a drummer — not seen, and a bass player, no one knows his name, or a cameo by Eric Valentine).

I know this is at least the third use of the song in a spot. I am thinking car and pizza. Oh, yeah, and “Shrek”. I remember band manager Robert Hays of Sound Management of San Jose saying at a conference that the pizza people or the car people gave them $200,000 for the synch — which seemed like a lot at the time. So I am guessing in this case a cool million, even without use of the actual dudes.

*I have a long riff below about sitting next to Greg Camp on the plane and him telling me that he quit the band because it was a mixed blessing to do Shrek in that his audience went from punks and hipsters his age to little kids as old as bandmembers kids who only know that one song. So he could farm out his guitar parts and live shows to $500 a show guys and still make the same money on publishing and the like. But I think later her rejoined the band. I met their agent Brian Swenson of Madison House at a conference in Nashville.

Also, I thought of Greg (who played for Mood Ring at Mountain Charley’s when simultaneously Smashmouth was a punk band that had neither Valentine nor a farfisa) when there was discussion of Lizzo whose song had a catch phrase that was a found word string (in this case “I am 100 percent that bitch” or something). Camp told me that a lot of the stuff in “All Star” were phrases that people sent him in fan letters. Some body once told me the world is gonna roll me. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. I was looking for a chick with her fingers in the shape of an “L” on her forehead. She was looking pretty dumb with her fingers and her thumb, rather. Only shooting stars break the mold. Fed to the rules. I hit the ground running. Or as David Shields says Pablo PIcasso says good artists create great artists steal. Smash mouth copy.

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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