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GRIM REAPER - Interview with Steve Grimmett
By Wojtek Gabriel,
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NWoBHM band Grim Reaper
Wanna hear a story about a real metal hero? Let me tell you about Steve Grimmett. Struck with a life-changing tragedy while on tour in South America and having had his leg amputated, he soon hit the road again and started to work on a new album. Talk about a true metal spirit! Out a few weeks back, "At the Gates" is the second LP released by the new incarnation of his band Grim Reaper, much darker lyric-wise and significantly heavier sound-wise, but I don't find it strange, given the circumstances. If you want to learn more about the album, read on!
The new release sounds up-to-date, but you still managed to capture the old-school spirit of Grim Reaper. How did you approach the recording session?
It's all recorded old school, there are no drum machines, so it's recorded real time with the energy it needs to make it sound the way it should. You can't get this recording in your bedroom.
Are the tunes on the album the result a team effort or were you the main songwriter?
Most are a team effort.
The album is clearly heavier than the previous one. Why is that?
No reason, it's just the way we wrote the songs. We didn't aim for anything, just let it happen.
A lot of the lyrics on the album deal directly or indirectly with the tragedy that struck you two years ago. Was it easy for you to write about that stuff?
It will never leave me. I suffer with mental health problems from it, PTSD is the major one. I don't think anyone would forget hearing your leg being sawn off. Yes, I was awake for the three operations I had.
If wasn't for your tragedy the lyrics would have been different obviously, but what about the music? Did you and the guys feel that the music should be a bit darker this time around?
As I said before, there was no direction at all, this is the way they came out.
"Only When I Sleep" was a Japanese bonus track on Lionsheart's last album in 2004. Why did you decide to re-use this song?
Because that album slipped through the gaps, never to be seen again and it was my favourite track.
You filmed a video-clip for "Walking in the Shadows", are you planning to do one for the new album?
Not sure yet to be honest.
My fave tune off the new album is "Venom", which is yours?
"At the Gates", it sums up my time in hospital.
Let's go back to the early '80s. When you started out some people thought you practiced occult, because of the band's name and cover arts. Did you find it funny back then?
No, it pissed us off. No one wanted to know our side of it all, but that was the practice of the people that wanted to make a name for themselves back then and none of them won a case.
You had two quite successful albums out, then got signed to RCA and they dropped you after just one release. What happened?
Ebony Records took us to court, because we had left their company through them not paying money due to us, so they countered our claim and stopped us from working.
You joined the wave a bit later, when acts like Maiden or Saxon had already 3-4 albums out. Do you think if your debut release was out 3-4 years earlier, Grim Reaper would have survived for longer?
It might have done but that's in the past.
Unlike many of your peers, Grim Reaper has always been a one-axeman band. Was there any reason for that?
It sounds better.
Of the first three Grim Reaper albums which one's your favourite, and why?
"See You in Hell", it got us started and it remains the song of choice for our fans.
What do you think would happen if you didn't put that tune on your setlist?
I would be hanged.
When you resurrected the band in 2006 you asked members of your solo band to join you. Did you reach out to the original Grim Reaper guys at all?
I reached out to Nick, but he wasn't interested, so I used the best musicians I knew.
And why did you change the name to Steve Grimmett's Grim Reaper? Were there any problems with the band name ownership?
Not at all, but Nick and I came up with that so no one would think it was a reformation of the old band.
We've already touched on it, but getting back to the tragic events in Ecuador, I can't even imagine how hard something like that must be for one's psyche. How did you cope with it mentally?
I had to dig very deep, and one thing that was always in the fore front of my mind was that there was always someone worse off than me and I have met some of them. Also, Douglas Bader was at my side, if he could lose two legs and get into a World War II fighter and fight then I could.
Were you surprised by the amount of money your fans collected to help you with the healthcare bills?
It will always stay with me, that's why I fought to get back up on stage, for my fans.
When I saw you live two years back you spent quite a lot of time in the wheelchair. How hard was it for you to perform? I mean one can't fully use their diaphragm sitting down?
Says who? I do most of my singing sitting down. Can you guess that I'm sitting down for this last album? I think not. And yes, I can still use my diaphragm sitting down.
You're the in-house producer at Samurai Studio. Have you produced any bands an average metal fan may have heard of?
None of any worth, but I am producing Desolation Angels in February, so look out for that one.
There's been no new Lionheart album since 2004. Why?
Because it's not active.
What are your next touring plans? It's time for a proper UK tour I think...
I'm looking to go out in Europe, Japan and Australia but other areas are being looked into.
Interview by Wojtek Gabriel

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Tags: Grim Reaper, NWoBHM, Steve Grimmett, At the Gates
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© 1997-2020 Wojtek Gabriel. All rights reserved. Unauthorised use of any works published on this website is prohibited.
Materials may not be reproduced in whole or in part by persons, organisations or corporations without the prior written permission.
© 1997-2020 Wojtek Gabriel. All rights reserved.
Unauthorised use of any works published on this website is prohibited.
Materials may not be reproduced in whole or in part by persons, organisations
or corporations without the prior written permission.