Friday, August 29, 2014

So you wanna be an ALLSTAR? My interview with Sean Hurwitz, lead guitarist for Smash Mouth

So you wanna be an ALLSTAR? Just ask Sean Hurwitz, lead guitarist for Smash Mouth, how it's done. Last summer, I was at Wolftrap, reliving my 90's dancing days, listening to Smash Mouth play. I was front row left and my immediate view was the energetic guitarist. He seemed to be having the time of his life and the crowd picked up on it. You couldn't help but jump up and down to mimic's Sean's dance moves. I was a hot, sweaty mess after that show. I remember wishing I'd wore waterproof mascara when I looked at the after concert photo of us. After the show, we had a chance meeting when he hopped off the stage, to greet the fans. We said hello and snapped a photo and I asked if he was on Twitter. We entered the cyber friendship world and throughout this past year, I've followed his musical journey and became a newbie fan of his. In March, he sent me cyber cheers when I attempted to run my first 100 Miler, well, because, that's the kind of guy he is.

Saying hello to Sean Hurwitz, after he hopped off the stage at Wolftrap, Under The Sun Tour 2013

In the Fall, a friend of mine who is a bus driver for musicians, went on tour with Smash Mouth! What are the odds?! Their tour included a stop in DC but another chance encounter wasn't meant to be. I had to run a 50 miler race at 5am the morning after the concert. I flirted with the idea of trying to see the show, to say hello AND attempt to run a few short hours later, but knew that 50 miles was going to suck the life out of me. I saved my energy so I could cross the finish line.
I held out hope that maybe the Under The Sun Tour would circle back around next summer. And my wish came true! The Under The Sun Tour 2014 featured Smash Mouth, Uncle Kracker, Sugar Ray, and Blues Traveler. The tour wrapped up earlier this month but made magical music, across the country for 8 weeks this summer! Stay tuned for announcements about the possibility of a 2015 Under The Sun Tour. For the past two years, the show has featured popular 90's bands with a variety of musical talent that has the crowd out of their seats and dancing the night away!

Smash Mouth Rockin Innsbrook After Hours, Glenn Allen, VA ~ Under The Sun Tour 2014
I contacted Sean about interviewing him for my blog when I found out he was going to be making a stop in Glen Allen, VA, at Innsbrook After Hours. I was intrigued by his energy, showmanship and dedication. Nothing was set in stone for our interview. It all happened haphazardly. I was thrown for a loop when he responded to my message about meeting up, with "How about now?" But this is what Sean does best, he takes the time to meet his fans, to respond to the press and to be active on social media. When I arrived at the venue, he greeted me and my friend with a friendly hug. My friend said she would meet me later and we said our goodbyes. My interview with Sean was informal and we decided on a random spot to chat. It was where the tour buses were parked and bustling with activity but none of that mattered. We made the most of the situation, sitting outside at a plastic table, underneath the summer sun, sipping bottled water, and casually chatted for over an hour!

And this is the rest of the story...the part where you get to read about Sean's amazing life, his career goals and his charity work. I think I became his Number One fan when I learned about how he is giving back to the community.

A soulful Sean Hurwitz, lead guitarist for Smash Mouth, Under The Sun Tour 2014,
Innsbrook After Hours

I started off with the simple question of "tell me your life story." Sean was born in Israel and his family still lives there. He taught himself how to play the guitar at age 13 and fell in love with music. In his homeland, he played with well known musicians but Sean knew there was more he could achieve with his musical career. His talent was his one way ticket out of a war torn country. And here he is now, achieving the American dream. Sean spoke about the possibility of being drafted for the Army and made a decision that would change the course of his young life. At the mere age of 23, he picked up and said goodbye to his family and came to America. He was an aspiring musician with a strong desire to succeed. He had very little money, a guitar, an amplifier, and settled in LA.

Sean spoke about playing covers in various L.A.venues as he patiently waited for his spotlight in the music industry. With excitement in his voice, he spoke to me about his first "big break" while living in America. After arriving in America, Sean began playing gigs with original bands and became familiar with the L.A. nightclub scene. Then, in 2008, good karma floated his way, after playing the cover "Breathe" by Anna Nalick. Two days later, he found himself in a L.A. studio, auditioning to play guitar for her promo run. Sean got the job, and he was given the opportunity to go on tour with Anna Nalick.

Sean found himself in the studio again, after he received an invitation to play lead guitar on the Smash Mouth Iraq/Kuwait tour in February 2011. His hard work and determination, landed himself anther gig with the popular 90's band and Sean was extremely grateful for the opportunity. However, he had one challenge. The tour started right away and he had 4 days to learn how to play 23 songs, with little time for rehearsing. I get the impression that Sean likes challenges thrown his way so it didn't surprise me when I didn't detect an ounce of nervousness, as he explained to me, how he was thrown into this opportunity. If anything, there was a sense of gratitude for allowing the Universe to pave the way for his successful musical career.

Sean Hurwitz and Steve Harwell, having fun "Under The Sun Tour"
July 2014, Innsbrook After Hours

Sean has continued to be the lead guitarist for Smash Mouth since 2011. He is also the guitarist for Chris Wallace and Kelley James and has played with Judith Hill (The Voice), Ferras and many other talented musicians in the music industry. Sean has also proven himself to be a successful co-writer and producer. When I asked him about writing his own songs, he said his preference is to collaborate with other musicians and enjoys the creative process.

What's next on the list for Sean after Under The Sun Tour 2014 wraps up?  This Fall, he will continue to tour with Smash Mouth. You can check out Sean Hurwitz upcoming shows to find out if Smash Mouth will be playing in your City. The band will also be promoting a Smash Mouth live recording album. As for individual projects, Sean is excited about having the opportunity to work with a "boy band, from the Netherlands, called Main Street." The song is already recorded and will be released this Fall. Stay tuned to hear Sean's musical talent on this song!

Sean believes in giving back when he is in a position to do so. His most recent charity projects will tug your heartstrings. When the band was recently in New Jersey, he donated two autographed guitar's to the non-profit organization, The Project Matters Sean contacted the agency and signed on to donate his time and expertise to mentor fellow musicians. To read more about this charity and Sean's involvement, follow this link: Sean Hurwitz brings his expertise and generosity to The Project Matters He also recently filmed a video segment for the non profit, Smashing Walnuts A non profit based in Middleburg, VA, dedicated to "Cracking the Cure for Childhood Brain Cancer."

Whenever I am impressed by one's individual accomplishment's, I must ask them "Who inspires you?" Sean first replied with the classic musicians, such as "Tom Petty, Eric Clapton, and Pink Floyd." His modern day inspirations include the bands, Fall Out Boy, Foo Fighters, and Butch Vig, the drummer from Garbage, who is a world renowned producer. His everyday, Rock-n-Roll hero is someone he met when he was an employee at the Guitar Center in L.A. in 2003. Sean vividly described the first time he saw Phil X at a show. The band playing was "Powder" and Sean was enthralled by the guitarist. He made a lasting impression on the young musician from Israel. Shortly after arriving in America, Sean watched this Rock-n-Roller, light up the stage, as his thoughts raced "and this is what I'm up against." At that moment, Sean made the realization that he had fierce competition in the music business. When Phil X walked into the Guitar Center, not long after the show, Sean knew that the guitarist looked vaguely familiar. What was it? And then he realized it was his guitar hero without spiked hair. Sean, a true opportunist, immediately made a connection with the musician and they are still friends today. Randy Cooke, who just finished up The Voice Tour, is another individual who continues to inspire Sean. Sean met Randy about 8 or 9 years ago when Randy was playing with Phil X. In true Sean style, Sean made a lasting impression and Randy is whom recommended him for the Smash Mouth Iraq/Kuwait tour.

What goals have been scratched off Sean's "to achieve" list? All of them. Every single one. Except to be a millionaire. But I'm certain that he will accomplish this goal too. During our conversation, he explains how he is open to new opportunities and new goals but is grateful for the amazing opportunity with Smash Mouth. As one can imagine, being on tour can be difficult, having to spend so much time away from home. Sean keeps a positive frame of mind and makes the most of each moment, especially when playing at a show. Sean loves to interact with the crowd and truly enjoys meeting his fans. He stays healthy by trying to work out daily, consuming (mostly) healthy food and avoids caffeine and alcohol. Sean remembers his roots and all that he has worked for. He continues to climb up the ladder of success with his strong work ethic and motivation to continually work on his musical skills. He believes that no matter the age of who he is working with or meeting in the post show crowds, there is something to learn from everyone.

Sean loves to connect with his fans! Follow him on twitter and he may surprise you and reply to one of your tweets!

Follow Sean on Social Media:

Twitter: @SeanHmusic
Instagram: @SeanHmusic
Facebook Community Page: Sean Hurwitz
Website: Sean Hurwitz

Or after a show, say hello, ask for a photo, strike a pose, and ask for a signature guitar pick! Sean loves to post photo's with his fans on his website so make sure you send it to him via social media.

It was fabulously fun interviewing Sean and to learn more about this amazing, authentic musician! I look forward to continuing to follow his musical career and watch his list of accomplishments grow! He has me convinced that he will be a millionaire one day. "I'm a Believer!"

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