Stryper are a Christian metal band and were formed in southern California in 1983. The current line up features three of the original members, including singer-songwriter Michael Sweet, his brother and drummer Robert Sweet, and guitarist Oz Fox. Stryper have also welcomed their newest member Perry Richardson on Bass. For the past 35 years Stryper has stayed true to their sound and have released hits such as “Calling On You,” “Free,” “Honestly,” and “Always There For You,”.
Stryper’s have sold over 10 million albums worldwide, including 1986’s multi-platinum "To Hell With The Devil". With their unique music, they are the first band in history to have two songs in MTV’s Top 10 with “Free” and “Honestly.” Stryper came back in 2003 after a twelve-year hiatus, and have released music annually since. Fallen released in 2015, reached #44 on the Billboard Top 200 and #2 on the Top Hard Music Albums chart.
Stryper have recently released their new CD "God Damn Evils" and we got to talk to Michael Sweet about his new album, his upcoming tour and more.
TM- What can fans expect from your Australian tour?
MS- Were playing about an hour and forty-five minute set, so we are going to mix in a lot of the old classics with a lot of the new songs. We also have our new bass player Perry Richardson, so there is a different dynamic within the band. We haven't been to Australia in a while and are really excited, so that is going to show in our energy level on stage.
Every time you come to Australia if Feels Like were Home, It doesn't feel foreign, It doesn't feel like that far away, but it's as far away that we can get from where we live. It is a nice place we love the people, we love the food and everything about it is Amazing!!.
TM- You recently released your album "God Dam Evil" how did you come up with the album cover and who designed the image?
MS- My brother came up with the title a few years back, we actually decided not to go with it we didn't feel comfortable to go with it when he came up with it. It got brought up again this time around and got put back on the table and we thought this time it was the perfect time to go with that title and then me. My wife started throwing out ideas for the imagery and we email those ideas to the guy who designed the cover. The guy who designed the cover is called Stannis Decker, he is a really talented and designs artwork for a lot of bands.
TM- If you could have any band play one of your songs which band would it be which song and in your style or theirs?
MS- Van Halen doing not that kind of guy and Judas Priest doing Soldiers Under Command.
TM- You go to Spirit House to work on your albums with Danny Bernini what draws you back to go back and work with him?
MS- When you come across a real chemistry with someone and happy at the place you're working at work there. Thereisa old saying that says that "If something isn't broken, don't fix it". We love working there, we get Great Results, we live there, eat there and sleep there. It is a great atmosphere and a great environment to record in We love Danny and he's a renowned engineer and Paul is the owner of the studio and he is an amazing guy and they are both incredible.
TM- Take It To The Cross was one of your heavier songs from your new album and you brought in Matt Bachand from ShadowFall to work on it, what inspired you to write a heavier song and how do you think Matt helped inspired?
MS- I don't know that Matt had any influence on the song because the song was written entirely. We just brought him in to do a vocal part on this song that being said, I do think he influences the track except he brought new things to the table, to the song and recording itself.
What inspired me to write the song was years of fans asking and deciding to write something borderline thrash and that was our version or answer to that, but it is fun to stretch out a little bit and try something different.
TM- You have some solo albums which include one-sided War and Sweet and Lynch can we expect any more solo albums from you?
MS- Absolutely, I am one of those guys that is known for that stuff. I have been nickname digger and the Energizer bunny.
TM- I heard you are releasing another album next year do you know when it will be released and what we can expect from it?
MS- It won't be a Stryper album it will either be a solo album or album. I am going to be releasing something with Joel Hoekstra of Whitesnake or both. I may try and get into albums next year one at the beginning one at the end but we will see how that goes. My solo album will be my follow up to one-sided War and the Joel Hoekstra album will be more a 70's vibe along the lines of Deep Purple meets journey meets Bad Company.
TM- You have plans to release a document root can you tell us more about it?
MS- We have done a lot of work on that and I have got a lot more to do. Probably two and a half years more of filming. It is not going to just be the typical footage of the band, We will also be interviewing people whose lives have been affected changed or touched dramatically by the band, so it is going to be quite an extensive and deep documentary.
TM- You played Breaking The Law with Rob Halford at one of your show's what was this experience like?
MS- It was Amazing, he just happened to be watching a show in Canada as JudasPriestwere performing the following night, I invited him up and we played Breaking the Law.
TM- I saw you guys play at Rockfest Barcelona a few weeks ago and you guys were amazing live!!, what was your experience like playing such a big festival?
MS- It was amazing and then you go from a club to playing in front of heaps of people, so it can throw you off a little bit, in a good way and then when you go back to playing Club that can throw you off again, in a good way though.
TM- Do you have any stories that have happened on the road?
MS- We have that infamous eye story that happened in Australia. A fan was rocking out in front of me at my feet and his eye fell out. I didn't know it was his eye so I flicked it into the crowd then I realised it was his eye and he was yelling at me for the rest of the show.
TM- What's your favourite memory of watching another band play?
MS- I have very fond memories of watching yesterday and today play, I used to see them when I was a teenager at the Starwood in Hollywood and they left an impression on me. They used to be incredible and they still are, they have always been one of my favourite bands and they always will be.
TM- What instruments do you use on stage compared to in the studio?
MS- Washburnparallaxe Guitars Michael sweet model, seymour duncan blackout pickups I reverse them so the neck is in the bridge and the bridge is in the neck and a ISP Technologies Theta pro I travel with that everywhere that's why I sound and that's what I'm bringing to Australia and in the studio i use splawn and Mesa Boogie Amps Seymour Duncan pickups and lots of different effects d'addario strings and Dunlop picks.
TM- If you could choose any song title as a Biography title for your band what would it be?
MS- I would go something that's a bit cliche but says it or probably soldiers under command because that is what we are and how we view ourselves.
TM- How did you pick your setlist for your Australian tour?
MS- We put about a hundred songs on a wall and threw darts ...
TM- Did you really...
MS- no we pretty much will stick to the set list that we've been playing for the last few months, It is a new setlist and has a pretty good flow to it. It has got a lot of old songs new songs and great filter everyone's very happy with it.
TM- haha... it would have been awesome if you picked your set list using darts though.
MS- We are really just doing soldiers under command 18 times.
TM- sweet... haha... I'm happy with that, I don't mind.
MS- You get my sense of humour straight away, it doesn't it slip by you at all.
TM- I will stand there and watch it all, I will do photography for 18 songs though
TM- Can it be a routine, so I can get the same shot every time... haha
MS- You can get the same shot for every song absolutely will have to pose for that shot.
TM- Sweet, that sounds good, the same song 18 times and everyone will be happy!
TM- Is there anything else you want to announce to your fans?
MS- We feel terrible it's taken us 8 years to come back to Australia, there is no reason for that besides we haven't been able to work out the logistics details to make it happen. Thank God we are coming back, we couldn't be more excited to come back to Australia!. I hear it's a little chilly there, so we will pack some extra sweaters and it will be good to get away from the heat here. We hope everyone is as excited as we are.
TM- definitely pack some extra sweaters! It's not too bad weather wise at the moment though, it's around 20 degrees in Sydney at the moment. Thank you for talking to us today!
MS- 20 degrees isn't too bad! I look forward to being in Australia! That's all right, thank you for the chat!
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