Erik Grönwall / ‘I’ve got so much more perspective now’

Erik Grönwall is “really good, thank you,” telling MetalTalk’s Taylor Cameron that he was looking forward to the upcoming co-headline tour of Skid Row and Buckcherry, which kicks off next Thursday at North Star Casino in Bowler, WI.

Grönwall auditioned for Swedish Idol back in 2009 with 18 And Life. Having spent a number of years with H.E.A.T, Erik joined Skid Row in March 2022 in a full circle moment. “It’s still surreal,” Erik says of performing with Skid Row. “When we were on the European tour in the fall, about eighty shows in for the whole year, and I realized on stage, like what the fuck is going on. Am I the lead singer? I get reality checks sometimes like, whoa, okay. But now we know each other, which is a different thing, and you get more and more used to it. It’s definitely completely full circle, and it feels amazing.”

Erik Grönwall, Skid Row
Erik Grönwall, Skid Row. Photo: Taylor Cameron

For Grönwall, it’s been an opportunity to grow as an artist as he approaches his first anniversary with Skid Row. “I’ve learnt so much from these guys,” he says. “I thought I kinda had it figured out regarding the way a show should be and how I should act on stage, but I feel so much more calmer and confident as an artist now. They’ve taught me how to be more dynamic during a set.

“The first thing Snake [Sabo] told me after the first couple of shows in Vegas was that he thought it was really good but noticed that I was yelling a lot, yelling at the audience. So he taught me how to be more dynamic and talk to the audience instead of yelling and things like that. Even being in the studio with the guys, and getting to see how they work as songwriters, has helped. There’s always a lot to learn.”

Erik Grönwall, Skid Row. Photo: Robert Sutton
Erik Grönwall, Skid Row. Photo: Robert Sutton

This tour gives Skid Row a chance to air tracks from their October 2022 album, The Gang’s All Here, and Erik says the band are still working on the tour setlist. “We’re going to try a couple of new songs,” he says. “We’re rehearsing a few days before the tour starts, and we’re going to rehearse Not Dead Yet, maybe October Song and a few songs off of the Slave To The Grind album that I haven’t played yet. We’re not sure if they’re going to be added right away, but we’re going to rehearse them.”

For the album, the majority of Erik’s vocals were recorded at his home studio in Sweden. What was it like diving into that and learning the ins and outs of a studio? “My buddy Jona [Tee] helped me, and I YouTubed a lot of videos because this was my first time recording my own vocals. It was at the beginning of last year, and there wasn’t any time for me to fly over to them to record. So recording my own vocals was the only option.

“So when Rachel [Bolan] asked me if I knew how to record, I told him ‘yes’, and it wasn’t until we met that I told him that it was my first time recording my own vocals. He was very glad I didn’t [tell him earlier] because he told me he would’ve been stressed the fuck out, but Jona helped me a lot. I didn’t even know what microphone to buy or what software to use, but he saved me and made it all happen basically.

“Now I record everything here. My YouTube covers and song ideas. I did the New Horizon album here. It’s definitely been a good investment.”

Skid Row. M3 Festival. Merriweather Post Pavilion. May 2022
Skid Row. M3 Festival. Photo: Shannon Wilk/MetalTalk

Besides his music career, Erik released a book last year in Sweden and has crafted his own beer. “I love writing,” he says. “It’s like therapy to me, and I love having projects to work on and things to do. I’m so creative, I have so much energy, and there are just so many things I want to do. I will always find time to do things because I love experimenting and starting projects. I don’t always finish them [laughs]. I like trying new things, and there are a few things I want to try out, but I have to prioritize my time, and the main priority right now is Skid Row.”

His appreciation for life since overcoming cancer is very inspiring and inspires me and many others not to take anything for granted. How does Erik stay so positive in his mindset? “I’m lucky that my vocal coach is also a therapist,” he says, “and one thing she told me was to do more of what works for you and what makes you happy. I thought that it was really obvious, but somehow we forget about those things when we get sick.

“So I thought, well, I like singing, so I started the YouTube channel because I wanted to sing more. That’s one way of staying positive, doing more of what you love. I think I was a pretty positive guy before, but I also think that I got more perspective when I got cancer.

“The things I think are problems in life aren’t actually problems in life. Things like not having any coffee left in the house or being late for a meeting. Those aren’t problems in life. The real problems are the shit you don’t expect that bites you in the ass.

“It’s like Mike Tyson once said, ‘everybody has a plan in life until they get punched in the face’, and it’s so true. We think we have everything figured out and that life is going to be this straight line, and then someone punches you in the mouth, and you’re like, ‘whoa, okay, what happened?’

“So I’ve got so much more perspective now, and that makes me happy as well. I’m also human, so I’m still going to have days where I’m annoyed at traffic, but I can tell myself now, ‘Okay, Erik, this isn’t a problem’. I also used to care a lot about what others think, and now I don’t. I care about my family’s opinions. If my son told me he hates me, I would be miserable. But some guy or girl on social media that I don’t know, why should I care? I’m much better at distinguishing the things I should and shouldn’t care about.”

Erik Grönwall, Skid Row. Photo: Taylor Cameron
Erik Grönwall, Skid Row. Photo: Taylor Cameron

Erik has such a strong presence online, especially with his YouTube channel and the memberships he has created. He says he loves “getting close to the fans.”

“We kinda chat every day because I’m replying to the comments, and it’s such a cool community. I’m a fan of the community because everyone is so nice and having a good time and making each other feel better. It’s a really cool thing we got there. I wasn’t too sure about it when I first started the memberships, I thought about not doing it, but then it turned into friends hanging out, and I love that part. It’s what I spend most of my time doing when I’m at home.”

If his 20-year-old self could see him now, do you think he would be proud? “Oh yeah, he would,” Erik says. “He wouldn’t believe it. He’d be like no way. This is a dream. I had two goals when I was around twenty. One, I wanted to be able to make a living off of music, and two, I wanted to be in a band and tour the states, and that’s what I’m doing right now.

“It just took me a little bit longer than expected, but it’s always like that. I didn’t expect to get better and shit. The journey is never the way you imagine. It took me around twenty-five years to really make a living on music from when I started singing. If it’s fun, you just keep going, and it doesn’t matter how much money you make if you enjoy doing it and can cover your expenses.

“I’m privileged because I get to wake up every day and do something that I love. It feels amazing. If you work really hard for something and believe in yourself, I know this is a cliche now, but you can make it happen.”

Erik Grönwall – Quickfire

You can go back in time to see one show/festival. Who do you choose and why?

“Queen with Freddie Mercury because they’re amazing. Every band member is an amazing songwriter. I think everyone in the band had a big hit that they wrote. Freddie Mercury is the best frontman, the best singer. What else do I have to say?”

You can only listen to three albums for the rest of your life, so what do you choose?

“Some kind of Elvis album, not sure which one, but an Elvis album. This requires a lot of thinking. And then I would say some kind of blues album, I love blues. And Queen, A Night at The Opera. If you ask me tomorrow, it could be a different album, but today it’s A Night at The Opera.”

What would your dream festival lineup look like? Who would you love to have on a festival bill to play alongside Skid Row?

“I would say Queen, Little Richard would be pretty cool, doesn’t make any sense but would be cool, Van Halen, AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Pantera. If I could travel back in time, it would be so cool to see Pantera with Dimebag Darrell. That’s what I can come up with right now.”

Buckcherry - Skid Row US Tour 2023 poster
Buckcherry – Skid Row US Co-headline Tour 2023

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