I had the chance to sit down with singer and founding member of GRIM REAPER, the incomparable Steve Grimmett recently. This fall marks the fortieth anniversary of the band, actually. So, with a brand new album in At the Gates on the horizon at the time (it’s out now, Dissonance Productions) we had a lot to talk about. Check it:
Amps: It’s nice to see GRIM REAPER going strong after all these years, Steve.
Steve: It is cool, yes. I think we decided to carry on back in 2001. I was about to knock it all on the head, I’d had enough, really. Then we did Keep It True in Germany and it was very apparent that the people really liked it. So we decided to do some more shows and see what happened. This led to us putting an album together and that was it.
Amps: And I think the Heavy Metal world is better for it.
Steve: Thank you very much. That’s kind of you, sir!
Amps: How are you health-wise? How is everything for you right now?
Steve: It’s good. Obviously, you know I struggled with my health, but it’s all been taken care of. The bad leg’s been taken care of because it’s been taken off (laughs). But I’m all good otherwise. Being diabetic you are up for many different things that can happen to you, some of which have befallen me recently, but my doctors are really good.
Amps: When everything went down in Ecuador, obviously the whole metal community was pulling for you. And I think I can speak for everyone when I say we were so very happy that you’re keeping things going.
Steve: Absolutely, thank you. it was my determination to carry on. Yes, I’ve been slowed down, but at the end of the day all I could think of was how I was gonna get back up onstage, and that’s the God’s honest truth. I lay there for seven weeks in a hospital with nothing to do but figure out how to crack it. Fans all over the world were contacting us and encouraging me to get well. People in the area came in to the hospital because I needed blood and they donated.
Amps: At the Gates is the long-awaited fifth opus from the band. how long did you spend coming up with the material?
Steve: We had a lot of it in the can, and we also wrote a lot. It’s taken a while, but that’s the very nature of how we do things to be quite honest. At the end of the day, what you hear is the exact product we wanted to put out, with no compromises. Everything was done old school. The drums are all real, and everything is instruments played by real people.
Amps; How have the shows been?
Steve: Fantastic! The guys at McStew’s Pub just last night treated us so well, we couldn’t have asked for better. And that’s the way it’s been at the other venues. It has made for a fantastic time.
Amps: GRIM REAPER in 2019, how do the songs come together? how is the writing handled?
Steve: This time around it was myself and Ian (Nash, guitar) and Mark (Pullin, drums). Mark is quite a talented guy. Him and Ian produced the album, we recorded it in his and my studios. He’s been at the helm to start off with and made the job look easy. It’s been mainly the three of us, but of course Julian (Hill) has had his input with his bass parts, so it’s kind of, nearly a full band effort.
Amps: Any tracks stand out for you over the others?
Steve: I quite like them all, but “At the Gates” really stands out for me because that is actually about me in the hospital and receiving life blood and all that.
Amps: What is in your CD player or iPod these days?
Steve: It’s really old school for me. I firmly listen to DIO, WHITESNAKE, and all the standard stuff from the good old days. I’ve been on a DIO kick a lot more now than ever, actually.
Amps: I recently saw WHITESNAKE live again, and David Coverdale is such a great frontman. The band sounded great, and I didn’t want the show to end I was having such a good time!
Steve: I get that, I really do. He’s a professional for sure.
Amps: After your London show in October, what’s next gig-wise?
Steve: We have two more in England, and then that’s it till after the Holidays. We’re working on plenty for 2020. I can tell you that we’ll be back in the States sometime next year supporting the album.
Amps: Away from music, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Steve: I’ve got quite a big family and I’ve got grandkids that I dote on. My second biggest love is that I build and fly remote control airplanes. I’ve got a fabulous workshop down at the bottom of my garden, and that’s where you’ll find me if I’m not doing anything with music.
Amps: Are there any newer bands out there that have your attention?
Steve: Yes, actually. A band I really like is called TRIP 6 from Chicago. They’ve been on this tour with us and they are ones to watch out for!
Amps: What would you like or hope for the listener to take away from this album?
Steve: I hope they’d say, “Fuck! I’ve gotta listen to this again!” and I’m sure they will. It’s doing that to me and I normally don’t listen to my own albums more than the once. I find myself listening to it quite a bit in the car.
Amps: What do you want to say to all your fans out there in the world?
Steve: Thank you for your continued support. Thank you for the support when I lost my leg. You wouldn’t believe the amount of traffic that caused on social media (laughs)! SO I thank you. I am all healed now and the back of the t-shirt says, “Only one leg but still kicking ass!” and that’s what we’re doing. We’re up, running, and going for it all! Thank you everyone and I hope to see you all in the future.
You have to applaud and admire Steve Grimmett. There are a lot of people who would have given up, hung up the mic, and sat around feeling sorry for themselves after losing part of his or her leg in 2017. But that’s not how this man is wired. His refusal to quit, coupled with his love of making Heavy Metal music has resulted in GRIM REAPER not only being alive and well, but also unleashing At the Gates upon the masses. Grab your copy now, and keep the metal fires stoked for always.