ERIK GRÖNWALL: Why I Decided To Leave SKID ROW

Erik Grönwall, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in March 2021, has offered a lengthy explanation for his decision to leave SKID ROW, saying that he wanted to focus on his “full recovery”.

Earlier today (Wednesday, March 27),the 36-year-old Swedish singer shared the following statement via his social media: “Yes, I have decided to leave SKID ROW. The main reason being that it’s proved difficult to prioritize my health and full recovery as the lead singer of the band. ⠀⠀
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“In 2021 I was undergoing treatment against leukemia and that gave me a superpower called perspective. I decided to use that perspective and write down the values I wanted to live by for the rest of my life. On top of that list it says ‘health first’.⠀⠀
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“I’ve had to look at that list a lot of times this last year, questioning if I’m really living according to my values. At the end of the day I realized the answer was no. ⠀⠀
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“As a result of the treatments and transplant my immune system was impaired. You can think of my immune system as a 4 year old kid bringing home all kinds of viruses from preschool. It takes awhile to build up that resistance again but my immune system is getting stronger every day. However I’m still doing regular check ups (blood tests) at the hematology department in Sweden, which has proved challenging while keeping up with the SKID ROW schedule. I have way too much respect for my medical history to push myself to the limit.⠀
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“I love SKID ROW, I have nothing but respect for the guys in the band but I love and respect my health more. I understand that SKID ROW is a touring band but like I told the guys: ‘if I can’t prioritize my health, then I’m not the right guy for the job’.⠀⠀
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“Please note, I’m NOT sick and it’s not that I don’t want to tour. I love being on the road. And of course we have tried to find the right balance together but at the end of the day I realized that it was better for me to step aside. ⠀

“So now I’m going to focus on my full recovery, and come back stronger than ever. Meanwhile I’m finalizing my biography. And I’m going to start writing my own music again. ⠀⠀
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“Lastly, once again thank you to everyone who accepted me as the singer of this iconic band. ⠀⠀
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“Always remember that no job, no money, no fame is worth your health or well being. Health first always. I owe this decision to the guy in the second picture [ in the post below] and I’m proud to be able to say that I kept my promise to him. Health first!”

SKID ROW‘s longtime friend Lzzy Hale (HALESTORM) will handle lead vocals for the band’s four concerts in late May and early June.

The SKID ROW members said in a statement that they are “proud of what they have created and accomplished with Erik over the past two years” and “wish nothing but the best to him and his health. To celebrate the last two years, the band will be releasing a live album that perfectly captures this moment of time in the band’s 35-plus-year history, to be announced soon.”

Lzzy said: “I’m stepping in for a few dates as the lead singer in SKID ROW! What an honor to call them my friends and a privilege to be sharing the stage with them!

Erik, I wish you all the magic on your next adventure.

“Now… which leather pants to wear?!!”

SKID ROW shows with Lzzy Hale on lead vocals:

May 17 – Walker’s Bluff Casino Resort – Carterville, IL
May 18 – Riverside Casino & Golf Resort – Riverside, IA
May 31 – Nugget Casino Resort – Sparks, NV
June 01 – Hard Rock Live Sacramento – Wheatland, CA

Erik reflected on his leukemia battle and subsequent addition to SKID ROW in a summer 2022 interview with 80’s Metal Recycle Bin. He said: “I wouldn’t call myself a religious man [laughs], but I would call myself… After all of this, I’m way more spiritual. I’m, like, ‘Okay, who planned this?’ I was on my way to a completely different life [before my diagnosis], but it was kind of like someone just nudged me.

“I was scrolling on Instagram a couple of days ago and I just saw a post, and it was a text saying, ‘I’m sorry I had to make you uncomfortable, but I had to make you move. God.’ And I was, like, ‘Oh, fuck, man.’ [Laughs] That’s what it feels like.

“I’m not sure if everything happens for a reason, but that’s the only way I can explain this — getting leukemia, then ending up in my favorite band,” he continued.

“When I was on stage in [Las] Vegas [with SKID ROW in March and April of 2022], I was interacting with the audience, and I told them that, ‘Do you know how amazing it feels to be here singing the song that started your career?’ ‘Cause ’18 And Life’ was the song I auditioned with for the ‘Idol’ show; that’s what got me on ‘Idol’. And I told them, ‘Do you know how it feels to be here on stage with your favorite band of all time singing the song that started your career?’ And someone commented on it, and it was, like, ‘Did he just quote the ‘Rock Star’ movie script?’ And I was, like, ‘Yeah, I didn’t even think about that, but it’s that movie,” he said, referencing the film in which an average kid from Pittsburgh gets tapped to be the new lead singer for his favorite heavy metal band. “So it’s kind of like a movie script.

“It’s just incredible,” Erik added. “I’m still trying to process it. It feels like I’ve been in the band for two years. It’s been four months. We’ve done, like, 30 shows in four months. We recorded an album. We started working on a new album. We recorded a music video. Everything has been happening so fast. It’s overwhelming in so many ways.”

Erik also credited his wife with providing him with the emotional strength and support that he needed through his ordeal.

“I wanna say my wife has been incredible this whole journey, especially during the treatments, ’cause when I was ready to give up, she was, like, ‘Hey, you’re not giving up now. You’ve got so many people that love you and need you in their lives.’ She was tough,” he recalled. “And I needed that. So I was, like, ‘Yeah, I know.’ And I can mention I also have a two-and-a-half-year-old son at home. So that was really, really tough — coming back from the hospital and seeing him. That was my weak spot. She really helped me a lot, and she’s very understanding. And obviously, when you have this kind of lifestyle, you need someone who really understands that lifestyle and supports it. And it’s kind of a selfish lifestyle in many ways. But she totally gets it, and she’s got my back.”

Grönwall, who was a member of the Swedish hard rock band H.E.A.T. for nearly a decade before exiting the group in October 2020, announced in September 2021 that he was cancer free after receiving a bone marrow transplant one month earlier.

“There’s been a lot of tears, and I still get emotional now talking about this,” Erik said. “I think I’m done with the crying [laughs] — I think — but somehow I feel grateful that I went through all of this, ’cause it gave me a lot of perspective. I just feel like I’ve gotten a lot of perspective on things.

“Being in this business, you see a lot of comments, and you’ve gotta be tough in many ways,” he explained. “And back in the H.E.A.T. days, negative comments could really get to me. Now I’m just, like, ‘Dude, I don’t care.’

“I’m so happy to wake up every day above ground. It’s, like, ‘Shit, I get another day? What am I gonna do with this day?’

“I was happy before SKID ROW,” Erik added. “I am very happy in SKID ROW. Everything is temporary. I will be happy after SKID ROW. I’m just happy. I’ve got perspective, and I’m just happy to be alive. And I’m gonna keep singing until this voice can’t sing anymore.”

Grönwall sang on four H.E.A.T. studio albums — “Address The Nation” (2012),“Tearing Down The Walls” (2014),“Into The Great Unknown” (2017) and “H.E.A.T II” (2020).

In September 2021, Grönwall released his new cover version of “18 And Life” via all streaming platforms.

In 2018, Grönwall debuted in the U.S. for 10 million viewers in NBC‘s live broadcast of Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s and Tim Rice‘s musical “Jesus Christ Superstar”. Along with John Legend, Alice Cooper, Sara Bareilles and others, Erik played the key role of Simon Zealotes.

In January 2022, Grönwall told Headbangers Lifestyle about beating cancer: “Some anonymous wonderful human being somewhere in the world donated his/her blood cells so that I could get a second chance at life. Sometimes I can just get tears in my eyes when I think about it. It’s so beautiful that one person who is not connected to me in any way wanted to do that for me. He/she doesn’t know that the blood cells were for me. It’s completely anonymous.”

In late March 2022, SKID ROW released its first single with Grönwall, “The Gang’s All Here”. The song is the title track of the band’s latest album, which arrived in October 2022 via earMUSIC.

SKID ROW played its first show with Grönwall on March 26, 2022 at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada as the support act on the rescheduled dates for SCORPIONS“Sin City Nights” residency.
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Yes, I have decided to leave Skid Row. 
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The main reason being that it’s proved difficult to prioritize my health and…

Posted by Erik Grönwall on Wednesday, March 27, 2024

To the Skid Row faithful…

Posted by SKID ROW on Wednesday, March 27, 2024


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