Interview with Grim Reaper Vocalist Steve Grimmett

By Mick Michaels

COSMICK VIEW: Hello, Steve! Welcome to The Cosmick View. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it is greatly appreciated.

CV: Grim Reaper emerged as a NWoBHM force to be reckoned with back in the 80's.  In some regards, the band set the precedence of what the modern Metal band of the era needed to sound like.  Did you believe at the time that your music would have such an impact then and still 35 plus years later?
Steve Grimmett: To be fair no. I had no idea that I would still be treading the boards some 35 later… and to be honest with you, we had no idea what the term NWOBHM meant as we did…we just went with the flow.

CV: Since the release of the band's latest album, "Walking in the Shadows," Grim Reaper's popularity has surged once again. Do you believe that Metal fans are desperately craving the classic era sound, wanting a return to the glory days of the genre?
SG: Yes I very much do! I think that good songs, well played with melody, are everyone’s favorite. We have played several festivals, including 70,000 Tons of Metal, not expecting a great response, but surprised by the reaction we got, and still get… its phenomenal! And as long as we continue doing that, we will be playing for our fans.

CV: Grim Reaper's contributions to Metal are undeniable no doubt. The band was making waves long before Metal fell into the mainstream's attention. Do you see yourself as a pioneer of Metal?
SG: Do you know what? No I don’t. I don’t do it for that…I do it because of our fans, they have supported me for a long time and I will be there for them as long as I can. We do have a bond that I don’t think is going to go away any time soon. I love seeing the fans smiling.

CV: Due to legal issues with the record company in 1988, the production of Grim Reaper's fourth album was delayed and, unfortunately, halted, leading to the band's disbandment.  Were any tracks recorded during that time and if so, will fans ever get a chance to hear them?
SG: No there are none I’m afraid…we didn’t get that far. The legal stuff hit us while we were writing that album and we just lost faith. A shame really, but I got involved with another band called Onslaught… after sending messages to management and the record company, I had no response and Onslaught were keen to get on with things so the inevitable happened.

CV: What do you think of today's heavy divisions and sub-divisions within the Metal genre? At times, fans seem to be more at odds on what is considered Metal and what is not because of such splintering. Are all the divisions really necessary in your opinion? And has such divisions divided Metal to a point of no return?
SG: It used to bug me…but now I think the fans know what they want and I leave that in their capable hands.

CV: Many of your contemporaries are or have experienced issues with their ability to sing their songs.  However, you are to the contrary.  Your iconic voice has stood the test of time and continues to amaze and rock fans.  What's your secret? How do you keep your voice belting out the blazing Metal?
SG: Yes that’s a shame…that must be very frustrating. I have no secret, no special things I do…I don’t even warm up before a gig. I think it’s a God given talent but I also don’t abuse it. I don’t smoke; drink very little… so I’m guessing that may be part of it.

CV: What are your thoughts on bands today using backing tracks for both music and vocal performances?
SG: I have heard it but I don’t like it. My belief is to give the fans what they paid for…it’s a form of cheating in my book…if you can’t do it for real don’t do it.

CV: Is there someone who you would like to do an album with or even a duet?
SG: There are a few that spring to mind…but not many people know that the reason I sing is Elton John…I would love to do a duet with him one day.
CV: In recent years, your personal story has become not only an inspiration, but of legend.  After losing part of your leg you fired back on all cylinders.  What gave you such strength?
SG: I say this to our audiences; I laid in a hospital bed for 7 weeks with no entertainment at all and just half an hour internet per day… so half that time I spent in rotors talking to my family, and the other 15 minutes a day looking at how the hell I could get back up on that stage to do what I do for the fans. It drove me mad that I just didn’t have more time than that, but that was the driving force that kept me going. Once I had my prosthetic leg that’s when the hard work started… but 6 months later I was back up there doing what I do best.

CV: January marked two years since you overcame seemingly impossible odds. Again, your story is an inspiration to anyone who faces a challenge of any magnitude. Have you always been a positive thinker? Do you believe anything is possible if you believe?
SG: I have to say that I haven’t been like that at all. I looked at it like I’ve been given a task… so I had to do it…and knowing that I would get back on stage… and I do agree that if you believe in yourself you can do anything.

CV: Were you surprised at the world-wide support you received during that time?
SG: The support was unreal from the start…and I was going to say to the finish but, it’s not finished. We were doing a singing session on the 70,000 Tons ship and a couple gave me money to help me to keep doing the recovery thing. It bought a tear to my eyes…my fans are very special to me.

CV: If asked, what are some words of wisdom you would pass on to a young band just starting out?
SG: There are…you will meet every obstacle along the way. Some will be heart breaking, others will change the way you look at things. But in the words of the great Sir Winston Churchill “Never, Never, Never give in.”

CV: What would you say is the biggest difference between the Grim Reaper of the 80's and Steve Grimmett's Grim Reaper of today?
SG: Yes there are… the main one is that we get to play all over the world. Back in the day we only played in the States, now we travel to all the corners of the world.

CV: Will the band be returning to America for any shows in 2019?
SG: We are talking to our booking agent in the States at the moment…we are planning to be there August to middle of September.

CV: What’s next for you?
SG: We are still recording our next album “At the Gates” and that will be released in June

CV: Thank you again Steve for spending some time talking and sharing with our readers. It has been an honor. I wish you all the best and continued success.

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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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