Steve Grimmett, singer with NWOBHM icons Grim Reaper, dead at 62

Steve Grimmett onstage
Steve Grimmett onstage at Sweden Rock Festival 2015 (Image credit: Gonzales Photo / Alamy Stock Photo)

Steve Grimmett, singer with NWOBHM icons Grim Reaper, has died at the age of 62. 

The news was confirmed in a social media post from Grimmett's brother Mark, who wrote, "I don't really know where to start so I guess I will just come right out with it. It is with great sadness and a very heavy heart that I have to tell you all as many of you know him my very talented brother Steve Grimmett very sadly passed away today."

Born in Swindon in 1959, Grimmett's first band was the short-lived Medusa, before the Droitwich-based Grim Reaper came calling in 1982. The following year he sang on the debut album by Chateaux, and in 1983 Grim Reaper's See You in Hell appeared. Fear No Evil (1985) and Rock You to Hell (1987) followed, before a tenure with highly regarded UK thrashers Onslaught. 

Grimmett would go on to front Lionsheart for five albums – and was considered as a replacement for Bruce Dickinson when he left Iron Maiden – before two more with Grim Reaper, 2016's Walking In The Shadows and 2019's At The Gates, and The Sanity Days' Evil Beyond Belief, made with other former members of Onslaught.

Always cult figures, Grim Reaper's biggest exposure came on Beavis And Butthead, where the band were regular targets. Creator Mike Judge revealed that he'd once bumped into Grimmett and apologised for the mean things Beavis and Butthead had said about the band, but that Grimmett was delighted with the exposure.

In January 2017, the singer had his right leg partially amputated in order to "remove an infection from his foot and bones" after being hospitalised in South America, which led to "Grimm Up North", a fund-raising gig that took place in Bury featuring a cast of NWOBHM-connected bands including Holocaust, Oliver Dawson Saxon, Tysondog, Spartan Warrior, Salem and Scarab.

"I have no regrets whatsoever," Grimmett told VWMusic earlier this year. "I should by rights be a millionaire, but I haven’t got a penny to my name. I’m on welfare at the moment because of COVID, and a lot of people do think that I am a millionaire, but I can tell you now, I’m not. I’ve never received a penny – not one penny – from Grim Reaper, so that says it all, doesn’t it? 

"But still, no regrets. I still love getting up there and playing. I still love watching the smiling faces in front of me. That says it all and does it all for me."

No cause of death has been announced.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.