Onslaught had no chemistry with Steve Grimmett
Onslaught founder Nige Rockett says the band were given a straight choice in between working with singer Steve Grimmett on 1989 release In Search of Sanity– or being sidelined until their record contract expired.
While the album was their most successful to date, it marked a significant change of direction and left diehard fans bewildered and angry, not least because popular frontman Sy Keeler had been kicked out.
But Rockett explains the band were left with little say in the matter.
He tells 69facesofrock.com: “We’d recorded aw hole album and we were in the mixing stages. This was the fist time the label came down to listen to it, and, basically, they didn’t like what they were hearing.
“You could tell something wasn’t right. At the end they said, ‘We were expecting something else. We want to look at the vocal situation.’
“Next day the management tells me Steve Grimmett’s name was thrown into the bag. We said, ‘No, Sy is our singer.’ They were like: ‘You do what we say or we put the band on ice for the length of your contract. You’ll release no albums in that time. You got to play ball with what we want.’ So that’s what happened.”
Rockett says he has nothing personal against the Grim Reaper frontman, who he describes as a “nice guy” but continues: “There was never a chemistry with him in the band. There certainly wasn’t a chemistry with the fans, that’s for sure.
“The guy left the band within a year of joining. There was no commitment there. I think Grim Reaper had been long gone and buried and I think Steve was looking for a way back into the music industry.”
Asked what they should have done instead the guitarist replies: “Signed with a different label.”
The band reunited with Sy Keeler and they’ve gone back to their thrash roots with acclaimed recent album Sounds of Violence. Meanwhile, Grimmett is fronting a reactivated Grim Reaper and he’s also working with ex-Onslaught drummer Steve Grice in The Sanity Days, performing material from In Search of Sanity.