Farewell Steve Grimmett, Grim Reaper Vocalist Dies at 62 – 2022
Steve Grimmett’s Grim Reaper (Official):
Thank you for the thousands of messages of condolences since the passing of my beloved Steve. I’m gradually reading a few at a time but I will get round them all eventually.
Steve had 2 passions, aeroplanes & being on stage, & it’s his fans that made being on stage possible. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for buying tickets, queuing for hours to meet him after a gig (which he was honoured that you all did) & buying his albums. After every gig he would call me to tell me how amazing the crowd were & about the people he met.
Over the weekend we were talking about our plans for the future. The tours he had coming up this year & next, the album he had half written, which had guest musicians on, the planes he was working on & looking forward to flying & the places we were looking forward to exploring together. Life was amazing. Steve was in the best place, mentally, that he’s been since losing his leg. My heart couldn’t have loved him more.
I found Steve forever asleep at home on Monday 15th August. He hadn’t been ill so to say this was a shock is an understatement. His official cause of death has not yet been released by the coroners.
My heart will forever be broken & my life now incomplete. I long for the day that we are together again. Steve sung a lot about hell, but I know he is in heaven waiting for me and watching over his family.
Please help me keep his music & memory alive by playing everything he ever wrote, sung, produced & did guests’ slots on. If you don’t own it all, buy it, download it. Please keep his 40+ years on this mad industry going. There’s plenty of YouTube footage too & we all loved the Beavis & Butthead videos but none more than Steve.
Steve was known as the Metal Warrior, to me he was My Steve.
Thank you again. Blessings & prayers. Millie 💋
This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write but it’s with a heavy & shattered heart to say that my beloved Steve died suddenly & unexpectedly on Monday 15th August.
Wait for me my love. Until we are together again. Your Millie xxx
We can’t begin to put into words the current feelings. But as dad was so well known the news is starting to reach out earlier than we would have liked. Unfortunately, our dad passed away today and leaves a massive hole in the world and our hearts. We are utterly heartbroken 💔 sleep tight dad. We always love you xxx
Very distressed to hear that old friend and singer for GRIM REAPER, Steve Grimmett has left us… A terrific vocalist, and all-around perfect gentleman – you will be missed my friend. Condolences to Mark and Millie and friends and family – a very very sad loss.
EXCERPT FROM AN OLD SCHOOL FULL IN BLOOM INTERVIEW (2011):
full in bloom: Do you remember what the budget was for the Grim Reaper album “See You in Hell?”
I don’t because from the day we signed our deal, we were being ripped off. I have no idea what the album cost. The whole thing was recorded in four days. We were well rehearsed. It was pretty much recorded live with a few overdubs, then the vocals were redone and that was it. It was a pretty easy thing to do, but there was no real budget.
We didn’t have a real budget until we did the third and final album with RCA, “Rock You to Hell”. We had originally recorded that one with Ebony Records, but the recording was so bad that RCA refused to release it. Then we got into the legal battle with Ebony Records and eventually signed over to RCA. That was when we recorded with Max Norman and that album cost well over $50,000, which wasn’t really a huge amount in the ’80s, but it was more than we had ever spent.
full in bloom: The money was well spent. The production was so much better on “Rock You to Hell” than the previous releases.
Yeah. Well, the guy actually worked on our songs. He didn’t just sit on his ass and record us. He produced the songs, changed the songs for the better. He got the best out of us and made us work really hard, and I mean really hard. He made that album sound as good as it does because we played well on it. Plus, he was a mixing engineer as well, so he was there from day one to the last day. It was a vast difference because of the work that went into it. We spent three months recording that one and then another four days to mix it.
full in bloom: What’s the story with your first producer, Darryl Johnston?
He ripped us off for money. He was getting huge advances from RCA, which obviously some of that was supposed to come our way, and it never did. He kept us in the dark, and we were stupid enough to have not taken it to a lawyer in the first place. We really only have ourselves to blame at the end of the day. As much as we want to blame Darryl, we only have ourselves to blame. We did finally get away from him, but by the time we did, it was too late. The damage had been done.
full in bloom: What are some moments that stand out when you think about the “See You in Hell” recording sessions?
We had a real good laugh (laughs). We were up there for about five nights, and we went out and got drunk for five nights. It was a lot of fun. We didn’t have a thought that the album was going to go anywhere.
full in bloom: You didn’t think that the title track was going to be a hit?
No, not at all. At the end of the day, it was just about us getting together twice a week and then we had written enough songs to put an album out. It was just a social event, really. Then it got released, and it did quite well in Europe, which I didn’t even know about until I went to Europe three years ago with SG’s Grim Reaper. Then a month or so later, we signed with Ebony and did the deal with RCA.
Next thing, we are getting phone calls from RCA saying that they wanted us to come out and talk, “We want you to do a video”. Then we did the video and MTV says that they were only going to show it one time. But they put a questionnaire up after they played the video for the first time on air. They asked the audience if they wanted to see more of this sort of stuff and they were inundated with, yes, they did’. So, we ended up with maximum rotation, which was seven times a day, seven times a week, for about two months.
full in bloom: I remember. I figured you guys would have sold a ton of copies because I remember seeing that video all the time.
Absolutely. But at that time, we didn’t even think about that sort of thing. We were out on tour, and I know this is a really cliche thing to say, but it was really just sex, drugs and rock n roll. It really was. We had no money, but we didn’t care.
full in bloom: How old were you at that time?
I think I was twenty-two. We didn’t think we were going to make it, and to be fair, we didn’t really. It wasn’t until two or three years ago, where I did this one show. I was about ready to pack it in because I had just had enough of the music industry. I had done the stuff with Onslaught and Lionsheart, so I had never really been out of it. But I did this festival out in Germany called “Keep it True”, and I just couldn’t believe how many people had turned out to see us. So many that it inspired me to write another album with the Steve Grimmett band.
full in bloom: What was your inspiration for “See You in Hell?” Didn’t you write the lyrics?
Yes, I did. Nick (Bowcott) used to be a university student, so we sometimes wouldn’t rehearse for a number of weeks. One time he came back and said he thought “See You in Hell” would be a great title for a song. I thought it was good. Nick got the riff sorted out, then I was at home one afternoon thinking about it, and I actually wrote “See You in Hell” while I was taking a dump. It was about the temptation of Christ, when the devil was trying to tempt him. Then Nick and I got together after a week or so and sorted out the rest of it.
full in bloom: Were there any negative reactions to it?
Not really, not here. I think in the States we did. They just misjudged us without listening to it. We were just about hammer and horror, none of us worshiped the devil. We weren’t like that at all. The thought of not being able to play some places because they thought we worshiped the devil really upset us.
full in bloom: What stands out when you think about the “See You in Hell” tour?
Every show was, in its own way, great. We always met with the fans after the show. We always made sure to get out and shake hands with the fans, sign stuff, and I still do it to this day. For us, the whole thing was a standout because it was the first time we had been to the States.
It was our first time to go to New York, see the Twin Towers, the Empire State Building. Everywhere we went we would go see the local monument, so for us, we were always walking around with our mouths open because it was just awesome.
full in bloom: What was your initial impression of the United States?
Just how big it was because we were all country boys. I never really dwelled in big cities. We were just in awe all the time because people were coming to us wanting us to endorse their gear. By the second tour, we were endorsed by Peavey, Tama Drums, you name it. I think the only thing that we had to pay for were drumsticks, everything else was free. The whole thing was special, they welcomed us and took us in. It was great.
full in bloom: How long did the “See You in Hell” tour last?
About 3 1/2 months.
full in bloom: And then you start recording the next record, “Fear No Evil”?
Pretty much. I think we had about a month off. Then we started writing, we had most of it written anyway. Then we spent about six weeks getting everything ironed out. After that, we went into the studio and recorded for about three weeks.
full in bloom: Darryl Johnston busted out the big studio time, huh?
Oh Yeah (laughs). It was still being done by the same guy who really didn’t care, to be quite honest. He was just waiting for the big paycheck, which we knew nothing about at the time.
full in bloom: It’s around this time that the legal stuff enters, right?
Pretty much, it had already started by then. But once the “Fear No Evil” tour was finished, we were back to writing and recording another album. It took a little longer this time because RCA asked us to write some different stuff. We ended up doing that, but not using it and ended up going back to Grim Reaper.
We recorded the third one again with Ebony Records. Darryl had gotten a new studio by then, with our money. He hadn’t sorted out the acoustics; he had just built this room. It sounded ok when you were in the room, but once you got it out anywhere else, it sounded like shit.
We soon found out that he was receiving royalty checks, which he wasn’t passing on. So basically, we gave him thirty days to sort out the money, or we would sue him, which we did. RCA took us on, and we re-recorded “Rock You to Hell” with Max Norman, which we did in Massachusetts.
full in bloom: Did he end up settling the lawsuit?
No. The whole thing went into the courts. He sued us, we countered, and it really never went further than that because he didn’t have any money. He had used all the money, including what was ours. He lost everything in the end.
I think it was Channel 4 that did an exposé on him. He had been telling other bands that if they gave him 250 pounds, then he would put them on a compilation album and do for them what he did for Grim Reaper, which was to get them signed to RCA. Of course, he had nothing to do with that. The whole thing just fell into our laps and Darryl Johnston did absolutely nothing for our careers. So, they did an exposé on him and exposed him for the fraud he was.
full in bloom: When did that happen?
Probably about 1987/1988. Of course, after that, he wasn’t going to get anyone to record with him. The whole thing fell around his ears, and he ended up going bust. I have a lawyer friend of mine, and he ended up getting the rift between us and Ebony Records thrown out. That all got sorted out about 10 to 12 years ago.
full in bloom: You had mentioned that you guys spent about 3 months recording “Rock You to Hell”.
Absolutely. Again, it was a big learning curve for us because working with Max Norman, we did everything properly. We just sat there in amazement and watched each other lay down tracks and just thought, ‘Holy shit, we are totally different players now’. When we came back to England and played some local places, we were just totally different.
I remember Ian Nash, the guitarist I have now, came up to me at the time and said he couldn’t believe it: ’You had gone to the States and recorded that album and then you came back, and it was a completely different band. It was local band makes it big. The playing and musicianship were absolutely stunning’. He was right. We had become great musicians because of Max Norman.
You can read the entire interview @ this location.
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Awful news to hear about the passing of Steve Grimmett from Grim Reaper. What a voice and a super kind person. My sincerest condolences to his wife Millie, his family, and friends.
— Todd La Torre (@ToddLaTorre) August 15, 2022
As a guitar technician, I was lucky enough to be on the “Hell on Wheels” tour from the 80s.It featured Grimm Reaper/Armored Saint and Helloween. The band and Steve were a joy to be around. I distinctly remember Steve being a powerhouse vocalist. Every night he’d give his all. Mtv recorded a show and actually aired it live, from Prince’s Infamous club 1st Ave in Minneapolis MN. It was on a Halloween night and it remains posted on YouTube. Check it out to see just how powerful Steve Grimmett was live. Will miss you buddy, and will never forget how special those days of old were. You will always be a force to be reckoned with. RIP my friend😔