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Smash Mouth Swapping Automakers for Sales Promo

Smash Mouth offered up the first public performance of its new single, “You Are My No. 1,” and several other cuts from its upcoming Interscope album, “Get the Picture,” at a concert Saturday near Charlottesville, Va. The set is due Aug. 5.

The band’s appearance was the culmination of a three-day event called Camp Jeep 2003. Smash Mouth has promised the single, released to radio last week, to Jeep parent company DaimlerChrysler for use in an upcoming sales campaign, and placed a Jeep in its video for the song. It will be the second time a Smash Mouth tune has been featured in a car commercial; the San Jose, Calif., band’s hit “Walking on the Sun” was used in a General Motors ad.

“I don’t want to talk about,” lead singer Steve Harwell told Billboard.com. “We’re squashing that one.”

But he said Smash Mouth has been blessed with the opportunity to have its songs heard in commercials and films, including the hit movie “Shrek.” The band actually performed in the final scene of the movie “Rat Race,” and Harwell recently sang an ode to his mother for a “Got Milk?” radio commercial.

“We market ourselves a lot, so if you are not, like, in the public eye, at least you’re still out there, in a way,” Harwell said.

The reggae- and ska-tinged new single features toasting by Ranking Roger of the ’80s band English Beat. “He hasn’t lost it, I’ll tell ya,” Harwell said. ” he’s been cool enough to come over and join us in the States and do the TV stuff with us.”

But Ranking Roger won’t be joining Smash Mouth on tour – a least, not as a guest band member. “They’re talking about getting back together, the original group, and they wanted us to go out with them, or them go out with us,” Harwell reported.

“We’re trying to get back into the sun and fun stuff, which radio really likes,” he continued. “So far the response has been awesome. And we’re off to a good start. We’ve gotta get out and work now.”

Harwell is also working hard at another endeavor. After he and his wife, Michelle, lost their six-month-old son to acute lymphatic leukemia two years ago, the couple founded the Presley Scott Research Foundation, which provides funds for research, donations to other foundations and occasional payment for treatment.

On Saturday, the Chrysler Group presented Harwell with a $5,000 check for the foundation. Chrysler also donated $1,000 to the University of Virginia’s Children’s Medical Center.

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