ERIK GRÖNWALL Admits He Was 'Scared' Before Performing With SKID ROW For First Time

December 30, 2022

New SKID ROW singer Erik Grönwall, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in March 2021, spoke to Australia's Metal-Roos about how his cancer battle affected his outlook on his music career, particularly as it relates to the passion that he puts into his vocal performance. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I think SKID ROW was a way for me to really get back. I was telling myself when I was at the hospital… 'Cause I was kind of heading towards another lifestyle in many ways. I left my former band H.E.A.T. and I wanted to do other things in life. But I realized, when I was at the hospital, that the moments I valued the most were being onstage, being on tour, being in the studio, being creative. So I told myself that if I can make it out of here alive, I will sing for the rest of my life. So SKID ROW was a way for me to get back on stage, definitely, but also mentally and physically. Because my goal was to be back June this year, when this year started, so I had four months to recover, 'cause I had another show booked. But SKID ROW gave me one month. So I just started rehearsing. The goal was to be able to perform in [Las] Vegas [as the support act for SCORPIONS at their residency] at the end of March. This was the end of February. And I went to my vocal coach — I did all these things that I had to do in order to get back in shape. And I feel great now, but I was definitely — I think 'scared' is the right word, in the beginning. Being on stage for the first time in two years, including having gone through the treatments. And I was just trying to figure out how my body would react and also the mental aspect of everything, just processing this whole story. Coming from leukemia to SKID ROW, it's so much to take in and to process. I'm still doing it, to be honest."

Grönwall, who auditioned for the competition show "Swedish Idol" back in 2009 by singing a cover of SKID ROW's "18 And Life", joined SKID ROW in January. Previous SKID ROW vocalist ZP Theart, who had been in the group for more than six years, played his final gig with SKID ROW in February before being officially given the boot.

"It was a big risk for the guys to ask me if I wanted me to become the singer without ever meeting me or being in the same room as me," Erik told Metal-Roos. I told [that to] Rachel [Bolan, SKID ROW bassist], and he told me that, 'Well, you took four risks with us' — Rachel, Scotti [Hill, guitar], Snake [Dave Sabo, guitar] and Rob [Hammersmith, drums]. I guess there's some truth to that. But when I joined the band… first of all, this is an opportunity that you can't say no to. And I told myself that, well, if this doesn't work, if they don't like me and I don't like them, well, at least I was the singer of SKID ROW for a week or two. And that's something I will always have with me — that I was actually the singer. So that was the mindset I had going into this. But, luckily, we have a really good time together, and we really connected. So it's all good."

Grönwall was a member of the Swedish hard rock band H.E.A.T. with whom he recorded four studio albums — "Address The Nation" (2012),"Tearing Down The Walls" (2014),"Into The Great Unknown" (2017) and "H.E.A.T II" (2020) — before exiting the group in October 2020.

In September 2021, Grönwall announced that he was cancer free after receiving a bone marrow transplant.

Regarding how his health is now, Erik told Metal-Roos: "I got back the test results from the 12-month examination [in September] — I mean, 12 months after the transplantation — and I have one hundred percent healthy cells in my body. So that's good news.

Erik previously reflected on his March 2021 acute lymphoblastic leukemia diagnosis in an interview with Australia's May The Rock Be With You. He said: "I think a lot of my values got — it didn't change that much when I got sick, but they intensified in many ways.

"Something that has always been with me, I guess, is the fact that I really value waking up every day being able to do what I want with my time.

"I did this for a lot of years without making any money. If I was in it for the money, I wouldn't be here doing this now," he revealed.

"I was telling Scotti and Rob one morning when we had breakfast. I was, like, 'It's so weird because I'm out here having a good time, and then I get home and I realize, 'Oh, I can send an invoice.'' [Laughs] It doesn't really feel like you're out working; it feels like you're just out doing what you love. And then you realize, 'Oh, I actually make money now doing this.' And it's just mindblowing and it just makes me feel so privileged to be here as the lead singer.

"So that value, that thing of doing this just because I love it, just because it makes me so happy, that has always been with me throughout my career," Erik noted.

"We all have bad days. All jobs come with bad days. But that's why I just keep going, because I love it. It's my passion."

SKID ROW's new studio album, "The Gang's All Here", arrived in October via earMUSIC. The group recorded most of the LP in Nashville, Tennessee with producer Nick Raskulinecz, who has previously worked with FOO FIGHTERS, STONE SOUR, HALESTORM, EVANESCENCE, RUSH and ALICE IN CHAINS, among many others.

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