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TM - Hi, This is Amelia and Elizabeth from Twinmusix and we are here with Michael from Stryper, Thank You for having this interview with us today we appreciate it.
MS - Of course, Thank you for having me, are you guys ready for this?
TM - yeah we are ready and we are excited to have you come to Australia. What can fans expect from your show?
MS - Stryper always gives 110% no matter where we go and I think they are going to hear some songs that they haven't heard before. The fans can expect a lot of excitement and energy, We are going to give it our all and put on a great show and we are flying a long way to do that.
TM - Yeah, it is a long flight, so Thank You for coming all that way. You recently did a show Pantera at Heaven and Hell Festival, how was it?
MS - It was Mercyful Fate, Pantera Judas Priest and Stryper, it was pretty cool pretty awesome.
TM - Yeah and you met King diamonds, so how was that?
MS - It was amazing, his dressing room was right next to ours and I said to myself I have to meet him, I have never met him before. We spoke for about five or six or seven minutes. He was very cordial, very nice, we talked about the weather, there was a lot of smiling and it was a good chat. He is a very sweet guy and not what you expect and I am sure that I wasn't what he expected either.
TM - Did you talk about working on a song?
MS - You know what, we did not it was one of those things where it was a first meeting so I thought it would have been a little rude of me to be like hey, let's work together, hopefully, we will at some point I would be open to it though.
TM - That would be cool.
MS - It would be.
TM - Did you get any backlash for being on heaven and hell fest, just for the hell part?
MS - Of course, we always get backlash from anything we do, because anything we do is always very different from the normal. In terms of the quote-on-quote Christian music and Christian bands, we always get backlash, but we just follow our heart, we do what we feel and that's how we have done things from the very beginning and fast forward to 2023, right now and we are still doing things that way.
TM - In a recent interview you praised the two Super Bowl ads for the Christian group He Gets Us, what do these ads mean for you?
MS - Well, I was surprised to see those ads because my first thought was those ads aren't cheap, they are millions of dollars. I was thinking who did that, who spent that kind of money on the first ad, then I saw the second ad and it just blew my mind because they spent a lot of money. I thought how amazing to have two ads that are delivering the gospel in a unique way but delivering the gospel to everybody watching instead of just another Budweiser commercial. It is actually something with depth and meaning and it was powerful to me. I thought this was great, I thought this is amazing. I don't know if anyone else felt that way or posted the same thoughts, that's why I posted about it.
I saw the positive side of it straight away, I thought that was really cool, but I have to say something. We need more of that in this world, we need more ads like that on television, in movies and in music. It doesn't have to beat people over the head in an uncomfortable way but I think there needs to be a better influence on people in general in this world.
TM - Yeah, I think it is good to show different ads and show their point of view on different subjects.
TM - Back to your Australian tour what can fans expect from your setlist?
MS - We are going to play One song Over and Over again 21 times, it is cold calling on you, we are going to play that one over and over again (Laughs).
TM - (laughs) I'm sure People would be happy with that.
MS - I would have to say that would be funny, if a band ever did that, just joking. I would say we are going to play a setlist that we have already played this year, mixing in a lot of classics with a lot of newer songs and it is an eclectic mix with a lot of heavy music and lighter music thrown in. We have a lot of hits that people want to hear, so we will just go out there smile and put on a good show, engage people and try and make them part of the show because they are part of the show. We don't get back to Australia very often. I think we have been there a total of 6 times since 1987, so whenever we do go to Australia we always want to make it special. We love the people of Australia and we love going it is such a unique place, it is one of our favourite places to tour.
TM - what is your favourite thing to do in Australia?
MS - When we have downtime, we love going to see animals. I don't know what the deal is people get so excited about seeing kangaroos and koalas. We enjoy going out and seeing the countryside but we don't get to do that often. I love to eat so I'm always asking, what do we need to try while we are there. You guys might have the answer to that.
TM - You should try The Black Bar and Grill in The Star Casino, it is a great steak house. We normally go for our birthday.
MS - What's the Dress Code?
TM - I just wear Jeans and a nice top.
MS - We wear the outfits we wear on stage to every restaurant we go to, do you think they would allow that?
TM - (laughs) I'm pretty sure you would get away With it, just tell them you are from a band.
MS - (laughs) Of course I'm being silly and I'm kidding, we don't wear those outfits, Lord no.
TM - Can you please, I just want to see the photo on Facebook now.
MS - Well we could it would probably be the most ridiculous picture you have ever seen, but we could do that.
TM - You released your new album The Final Battle, what was your writing and recording process on them?
MS - It was interesting because I had a problem with my retina at the time, it detached right before I was supposed to write then I had to get surgery and lay face down for 2 weeks, when I sat back up I started writing the album and I was fearful that I was not going to get it done. I did it within two weeks and then it happened again and that's when I started thinking we are going to have to cancel the album. That was a scary time for me because I never had to do that ever. We got through it and I went in for the second surgery and healed up then we went in and started recording.
The process was a little different, we were a little slower paced and took our time doing it a little more than normal, but for the most part, it was not that different to any other album process, it was pretty much the same just a little longer.
TM - What made you choose the album name The Final Battle and what was the meaning behind the album cover?
MS - You know it's funny, people assume it's referring to it being our final album. We had a lot of people ask the question, is it our final album and the answer I give them is somewhat vague. I say well it could be and they are like ah ok and I'm like well it could be we are not promised tomorrow. We don't know if we are going to do another album today, so we don't know.
Then I go into the real reason that we came up with that title and the graphic and the artwork. It is because we were trying to show people and tell people about the battle of Armageddon, which is in revelation and that talks about when God comes back there will be a battle called Armageddon in the field of Armageddon and that's what the artwork is trying to represent.
TM - That is a cool concept. Your opening truck Transgressor is really heavy and the scream that you do at the beginning sounds like Rob Halford from Judas Priest, which is really awesome, so what inspired this track?
MS - We are big Judas Priest fans especially me and Perry the bass player. I am a big fan of Rob, he is a big inspiration to me vocally. He really inspired me as a Young singer to sing better to sing higher with more excitement and power. I have been a big fan of Rob for a long time, so I think that subconsciously comes out in my writing style sometimes and in My Singing style sometimes. Although I don't sound like Rob, I sound more like Dennis De Young trying to sing heavy metal. I love Rob Halford and you hear it on that song in particular.
TM - I definitely can hear it it sounds awesome.
MS - I am glad that you'd like it and Stryper has a more heavy side more often than not. We also have a lighter side with songs like death do us part. We grew up on Judas Priest, Dio and Maiden, we love all that stuff. After listening to that for a few hours I might throw on a Loverboy album or a Journey album, We love that stuff just as much.
TM - Talking about loving music, what was the first band or artist you ever saw live as a kid?
MS - I was 12 years old at the La forum and I saw Elvis Presley.
TM - That's so cool, did he inspire you to be a musician?
MS - Yeah, Elvis always inspired me. My dad was a big Elvis Presley fan. I grew up around Elvis, I love Elvis, he is a huge inspiration to me musically. I got to see him as a kid and it happened to be the same night that Led Zeppelin was there.
I went on to see bands like Van Halen and Judas Priest, I saw Judas Priest at the Long Beach Arena I was 16 or 17. At the time and followed them back to their hotel room with my buddy Greg and I knocked on their hotel room door to try and get their autograph and Rob Halford came to the door. We were pretty boys back then and I was wearing skin-tight white sailor pants and had my hair was done up and make-up on and everything. I think Rob was looking at me with an extra big smile on his face, he was so polite and nice.
Then fast forward to 1991 when we were performing in Canada and Judas Priest was performing the next night in town. Rob was in the crowd watching us. I stopped the set and said wait Rob Halford you have to come up and jam and we played breaking the law together with him singing. We also played Breaking The Law every day for sound check.
TM - If you could have any band play one of your songs what band would it be, what song would it be and would it be in your style or their style?
MS - I would probably go with Judas Priest. It would be pretty cool to hear them do a cover of soldiers under Command or The Rock That makes me Roll. Something old school, Surrender something back in the early days it would be awesome.
TM - That would be awesome.
MS - The thing is we are so different and some people are a little fearful of us and they don't know what to think of us because we are just weird. We will just call it what it is. We are different and I can't see it ever happening but you never know maybe it will.
TM - Is there anything else you want to say to your fans?
MS - we are so grateful to have you as fans you supported us since the beginning, almost 40 years. I can't figure it out I scratch my head all the time and think why do we have any fans it just blows my mind. People have stuck with us and they still support us, they buy our music, and they come and see us play, it is amazing to me. It is such an honour it's such a blessing and we are thrilled to have fans like that.
TM - Thank You so much for this interview today re appreciate it.
MS - Thank You for having this interview with me you guys are awesome.
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