Early years (1979-1984)
Grim Reaper were originally formed in 1979 in Droitwich. They were discovered after winning a Battle of the Bands featuring over 100 bands. They were eventually signed to Darryl Johnston’s Ebony Records, and had a track featured on the Ebony compilation LP “Heavy Metal Heroes”. The lineup finalised to that of Nick Bowcott, Steve Grimmett, Dave Wanklin and Lee Harris. Their debut album “See You in Hell” was released in 1983 by Ebony and was distributed worldwide through RCA Records in 1984.
The bands lineup for the first album was Steve Grimmett on vocals, Lee Harris on drums, Dave Wanklin on bass and Nick Bowcott on guitar.
Commercial success (1985-1986)
Their 1985 follow-up, “Fear No Evil”, showed improvement on the production front and was the first to feature new drummer Mark Simon. The album enjoyed moderate success in both the United States and Europe giving the band more exposure. In the summer of 1985 the band appeared at the long running Texxas Jam Festival, playing to over 80,000 people. The bill included headliners Deep Purple, Scorpions and Bon Jovi.
Grim Reaper soon became readily identifiable with Bowcott’s guitar work and lead vocalist Steve Grimmett’s powerful screaming vocals.
Legal battles and later years (1987-1988)
The increased exposure and commercial success led to the band recording their 3rd album with legendary producer Max Norman. Legal battles with Ebony Records delayed the release of the album which was to be titled “Rock You to Hell“ by almost two years. The album was released directly through RCA Records in 1987.
The US tour that followed, dubbed “The Hell on Wheels” included an appearance on headbangers Ball which was televised around America. With the changing musical tides towards the heavier thrash sound and ongoing problems with their record label, the band ultimately called it a day in 1988.
Other projects (1988-2006)
Steve Grimmett went on to front UK Thrash band Onslaught for the “In Search of Sanity” album in 1989 which gained chart success in the UK. Their cover of the AC/DC classic “Let there be rock” reached a top 40 chart placing and a UK tour of theatres. In the early 90s Steve formed the melodic rock band Lionsheart, recording 4 studio albums “Lionsheart”, “Pride In Tact”, “Under Fire” and “Abyss” that took the band to Europe and Japan. He has also made several appearances on tribute albums, many of which feature Ian Nash on guitar.
In 2006, Steve Grimmett formed a new version of Grim Reaper, using the lineup that were in his solo band – Pete Newdeck on drums, Ian Nash on guitars and Rich Walker on bass. This lineup recorded Steve’s solo album “Personal Crisis” in 2007.
Performing as Steve Grimmett’s Grim Reaper a set of all Grim Reaper songs, they played the Keep It True VI festival in Lauda-Königshoffen on 8 April 2006. The band played the annual MetalBrew festival in London’s Mill Hill on Saturday 18 July 2009. Later they were scheduled to play at the Play it Loud IV in Bologna, Italy, in September 2009. The festival was then cancelled when the promoter forfeited, but the band (urged on by a crowd of hardcore fans who had already bought tickets) managed to play the date along with a number of originally billed acts (as a single-day event instead of a weekend-spanning one).
The band made a very successful appearance at the British Steel festival in Bolognia Italy in November 2010 at the Estragon venue on a bill that included other classic bands of the NWoBHM era – Diamond Head, Girlschool, Demon and Angelwitch. They also played at the Academy Birmingham with the band Jameson Raid.
Greek tour and YouTube video sensation
The current lineup continues to tour the UK and Europe. They did a short tour of Greece and Cyprus in November 2011 and released the Limited Edition CD EP “Live in Europe 2011”. The band gained worldwide attention during the tour when a video of them playing a small gig at Riff’s bar earlier in the year started getting numerous plays on YouTube. This was due to a Greek fan pointing out that Steve looked just like their then finance minister Evangelos Venizelos! The video started to increase in views, resulting in the band getting coverage in national Greek press and front page features in the media magazines. Steve was interviewed many times during the tour. The clip was shown and discussed on national tv. By the end of the tour the video had been viewed more than 250,000 times! It gave Greek fans some light hearted distraction during the tough financial times they were dealing with. The tour took the band across Greece and into Cyprus with well received shows in Athens and Thessaloniki.
Festival appearances in 2012 included headlining at Sweden’s “Muskelrock” and Germany’s Sword Brothers in 2013.
In spring 2013 Steve Grimmett’s Grim Reaper began recording their new studio album, their first since 1987 for release later in 2014. A week was spent recording drum tracks, ready for sessions to add guitars, bass and vocals to be recorded in December. Mixing is scheduled for January.
The band headlined at this year’s British Steel festival in London in June, Rock for Diabetes Festival in Trowbridge UK and co-headlined with Tokyo Blade at Belgium’s Heavy Sound Festival in November.
The band are currently finishing off their 4th studio album to be mixed in January for a release soon after in 2014.
The band are appearing in February in Italy and in Chicago in April with more dates worldwide to follow.