The new Skid Row singer battled leukemia, joined his favorite band; Erik Grönwall replaces Sebastian Bach

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The 35-year-old Swedish singer recently joined Skid Row, the 1980s hard rock band that headlined Coleman’s 11and annual “United By Sacrifice” concert on May 29 at 501 E. Washington in Coleman.

Grönwall is living a dream: to tour the world with his favorite rock band and sing some of his favorite songs to dedicated Skid Row fans.

A year ago, he was fighting for his life.

In March 2021, Grönwall was feeling tired and wisely took his wife’s advice to see a doctor. He was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“I thought it was COVID. (The doctor) called me the next day and said, “Go to the emergency room, right away,” Grönwall said. “They did a lot of tests at the hospital, and a few days later they said it was leukemia.”

Grönwall attributes his recovery to a life-saving bone marrow transplant he received in August 2021.

“It’s been a journey,” Grönwall said. “It gives you a lot of perspective on things.”

Erik Grönwall

Erik Grönwall

When he celebrates his first birthday without leukemia, Grönwall will likely be on stage with Skid Row. The band’s 1990 record “Slave To The Grind” is one of the top 3 albums of all time for him. The opportunity to sing the band’s catalog is “a pleasure”, said Grönwall.

“Looking back to a year ago in the hospital and now looking back at where I am now – playing tonight in Miami (Florida) with Skid Row – it’s hard to fathom, you know? he said during his May 20 interview with the Daily News.

A new Skid Row album is out October 14, featuring the band’s new single “The Gang’s All Here”, and Grönwall is thrilled fans are hearing what he brings to the music he describes as reminiscent of the sound of ” the group”. that we fell in love with.

With a solid album of new material and Grönwall’s air raid siren pipes, it’s conceivable that Skid Row will see a resurgence in public interest – it’s happened for other bands with fan-turned-frontmen such as Journey , Foreigner and Queensryche.

Grönwall’s story – let’s call it “From Sweden to Skid Row” – is like something out of a movie.

After being cast as the lead in her high school production of the Queen musical “We Will Rock You,” he put his guitar down to focus on his singing. This led him to accept a position as a karaoke entertainer. One of the songs he performed for karaoke crowds was Skid Row’s “18 And Life”. He took his powerful rendition of the song from the karaoke bar to “Swedish Idol” – a talent show similar to the American version – which ultimately won the competition in 2009.

“That song practically launched my career. It’s crazy to think about it now; it’s come full circle,” he said. “I performed ’18 And Life’ in the Idol audition. I won Idol in 2009. People still talk about that performance. There’s a connection between me and Idol and that song.

American audiences got their first glimpse of Grönwall when he was featured as Simon Zealotes on NBC’s 2018 live broadcast of “Jesus Christ Superstar” with John Legend, Alice Cooper, Sara Bareilles and others.


This isn’t the first time Grönwall has replaced a popular vocalist in an established band. He joined popular European hard rock band HEAT in 2010, replacing original vocalist Kenny Leckremo.

The key to gaining fans after taking the reins from an established frontman is to be your authentic self, not a cover version.

“You have to find the balance where you really respect and appreciate the old catalog and also add your own identity and personality to it,” Grönwall said. “It’s a difficult balance, but you come to understand that, and I think the fans notice that.”

As Skid Row continues its trek across the country this summer before heading to Europe, it’s possible that one night in the future Grönwall will sing “Money Business” or “I Remember You” and, while watching the public, meet the eyes of the person whose bone marrow donation saved his life.

Of course, if that happens, they’ll never experience that special connection.

Bone marrow donors are anonymous, Grönwall said, so he will never have the chance to personally thank the person who allied with him in his battle with leukemia.

Although Grönwall himself cannot donate, he encourages others to consider becoming bone marrow donors.

You never know who you might help – it might end up saving a member of your favorite band.

“I have no idea who saved my life, and I don’t even know where to begin to show the gratitude I feel,” Grönwall said. “You can make a difference and save lives.”

You can see Erik Grönwall and Skid Row at Coleman’s 11and annual “United By Sacrifice” concert on May 29 at 501 E. Washington in Coleman. Frame 42 and The Rock Show open the show at 1 p.m. Proceeds from the concert fund upkeep of the war memorial and allow for donations to community organizations such as Coleman High School’s sports boosters, drama club, and marching band. Tickets for the show can be ordered here: https://www.colemanveteransmemorial.org/


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