Steve Grimmett’s Grim Reaper – Evil Walks AgainFriday, 4th November 2016
Dead Rhetoric: Can you let the readers know about the outside ventures Grim Reaper is looking into regarding beer, barbeque sauce, and hot sauce?
Grimmett: (laughs). We have a brewery in England called Wychwood Breweries and they have a special, one-off with Grim Reaper. It’s only when they feel like doing it, and I’ve talked to them about doing something together. I’ve gotten the answer of yes, we will do it… so that’s on hold. And that’s okay because everybody has done beer. The hot sauce stuff, they are a company called Grim Reaper Foods. We were doing a search on Facebook and their name came up. We thought this could be different, so we had a meeting with them. They are up for it, they will support us as well. They are going to make us chili chocolate, I’ve had some of that and it’s absolutely gorgeous. They are also going to do two different hot sauces for us that we can tour with, it comes in a plastic container. The other stuff is just too wild to put into a plastic bowl, it will eat through it. That will be a special order item which we will do on Facebook and our own website. They are physically working on these items right now, that’s really cool. I don’t know who first did this, but obviously Iron Maiden have made their Trooper beer quite well known. That’s opened up things that wouldn’t have normally been cool to do. Yes, we could have our own beer, but nobody is going to do this kind of chili thing, especially from Grim Reaper Foods.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel about reaching a second and third generation of Grim Reaper fans this many years down the road?
Grimmett: It’s astounding. When we first started doing the Grim Reaper stuff again in 2006, we did that because we were asked to do a number of festivals. I didn’t get it at first, but then we were asked to go to South America. And that is wild, most of them are teens to thirty years old. I tried to analyze it forever, and I came to the conclusion that this is just another wave. I don’t think there are many new younger bands out there that are capable of doing what we do. I think that’s why we have this audience, and now we can travel worldwide. Because in the 1980’s we only toured the United States- we didn’t even really tour Europe. Now it’s all open to us- things have slightly changed because people are putting on some bigger festivals as well. We can now tour all over the world.
Dead Rhetoric: Where do you see the major differences between touring in Europe and North America versus South America?
Grimmett: South America they are absolutely nuts. I have to have security out there because I just get mobbed. They are more reserved everyone else in the world, and that’s okay. I love all the people who take their time to come out to the shows, they’ve spent their money, and I love it. Those guys are the people that we play for and we take care of them.
Dead Rhetoric: The Onslaught album you did In Search of Sanity was one of my personal favorites with you on vocals. Especially considering how you had to prepare for that record very quickly, how do you feel about the outcome?
Grimmett: I enjoyed doing the album. I didn’t know what the guys wanted when they asked me to sing for them. I asked them to give me the tracks with no vocals on them, and the ones with vocals on them so I could see where this was all going. I sent them four songs with my vocals on them and I got a phone call asking when I wanted to start. I didn’t know if that was what they really wanted as it was a million miles away from what they used to do- but they said that was what they were aiming for. So I went to Atlantic Studios and did the vocals there. To my knowledge it’s still the best-selling Onslaught album ever. I did enjoy my time there but it wasn’t destined to be long because I’d started a project called Lionsheart and that was really up my street. Once I had done a year with Onslaught I knew it was time to move on.
Dead Rhetoric: Will you still be doing more work with Sanity Days?
Grimmett: We launched an album, and then Alan Jordan contracted cancer, it put a total hold on doing anything with the band. He is just about okay, he kept getting flare ups. He had about six operations, he was a very ill guy for quite some time. When I get down time from Grim Reaper, we will work on something.
Dead Rhetoric: You are doing a tribute to Dio on this tour with “Don’t Talk to Strangers” – did you ever have the chance to meet him?
Grimmett: I did not, unfortunately. I wish I had. I listened to his material for many, many years and I love the guy. I was gutted when I heard he died. And that’s why that song is in the set- I think that personally that is one of his best songs. Obviously people like it when we play it.
Dead Rhetoric: Did you notice a big difference recording See You in Hell in four days versus working with Max Norman on Rock You to Hell with a $50,000 budget?
Grimmett: Yes, totally different. See You in Hell was recorded as you said in four days, and that was because we did all the songs together. We played all together, and the musical instruments were separated as they were recorded. That was probably two days and the rest of it was re-doing parts of vocals, overdubbed guitars and that was it. Now recording with Max was totally different – everything was recorded separately and we all had to go through the ringer. Being a professional producer he was there to get the best out of you that he could. That to me is what producing is all about- it’s not the sound at the end of the day, that’s mixing. Producing is getting the best performances out of the musician period. That is production.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel about the changing business model as far metal- is it tougher for new bands to make it?
Grimmett: Yes, without a doubt. And even for us- we’ve got a fairly good record deal but we still had to come up with the album, pay for it and finish it ourselves, mix and master it, and we footed the bill for that. The artwork as well- although Dissonance does have their own art department so they could have done that, the album sleeve but I don’t think they would have come up with what I really wanted. So all of that, new bands have to come up with all of that- and unless you are getting that done for nothing, you are talking about $5,000-$7,000. Most young bands don’t have that kind of money, and most of the record labels these days, and they are all independent, will not do anything because they are worried about the costs involved. So you have to do things differently, pain in the ass as it is.
Dead Rhetoric: What goals do you set for yourselves now, has your definition of success changed through the years?
Grimmett: Yes, I am not after being a millionaire. I never have been, I now do this for a living and the priorities have changed slightly. I’ve got my own recording studio, I run that when I am at home. I earn money from live stuff, doing stuff for other bands. I am a really happy guy now. I am my own boss and in charge of my own destiny, you know. I’m enjoying that an awful lot.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you see the next six to twelve months shaping up for the band?
Grimmett: Really busy. We finish this tour on the 25th of November, and we have a show in the UK on the 3rd of December. The first week of January we are going to South America, touring for six weeks. We are already penciling in stuff after that for Europe- we won’t be touring there as much as playing a lot of the festivals. We are going to Japan, Australia, New Zealand- and India is turning up. I didn’t think they would ever be into metal. We have a busy 2017 ahead of us.
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