Ruben Mosqueda of Sleaze Roxx recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Michael Sweet of Christian hard rockers STRYPER. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Sleaze Roxx: You close ["The Covering"] album with the original track "God" and you mentioned that you wanted to show people that you can still rock. Is this a result of STRYPER trying to sound more contemporary with the last two albums, "Reborn" and "Murder By Pride"?
Michael Sweet: Not at all. I felt that it was important to have a new song that would be the boldest song that we've ever done in our career — both lyrically and musically. I wanted to solidify the fact that we are still completely serious about our faith, but at the same time serious about our fans. I think this is the kind of song that they'd like to hear. I know they want the harmony solos and the high screams that they've come to expect from a STRYPER metal song. I think that "God" is where STRYPER will be going in the future. The next album should be comprised of songs in the same vein as "God". I think when we do that people are going to be very pleased with the outcome.
Sleaze Roxx: It's interesting that you say that, because a number of your contemporaries don't feel the same about recording new music. Dee Snider, who I spoke to a while back, insists that fans don't want to hear new music by bands from your era. He doesn't discriminate, as he included TWISTED SISTER with the rest of the bunch. So you've never been reluctant to record new material?
Michael Sweet: I agree to a point. When you go into your older material the audience's energy rises. No disrespect to Dee and what he's said but I think if you write some really good songs people will want to hear them. I think that it could be due in part to some of the bands from that era and genre that started releasing incomparable songs to the songs from the past. I've heard some of the newer material from some of those bands and I think to myself, "Wow you couldn't have done better than that?!" Then there are bands that come out with gems like RATT. They came out with a great album, it's phenomenal — it sounds awesome! Now if you produce that kind of stuff, that is every bit as good as your classic stuff, people will want to hear it. So, I don't know that I agree with the statement that people don't want to hear new material.
Sleaze Roxx: It's interesting that [W.A.S.P. mainman] Blackie Lawless has become more spiritual throughout the years. I spoke to him about a year ago and he uses biblical references in his music and has stopped playing one of his signature and most controversial songs, "Animal", in recent years. Some of his fans are giving him a hard time for pulling that song out of the set-list and it hasn't been played in years.
Michael Sweet: It's amazing how people can be sometimes. I think it's great that the guy found God. Blackie chooses not to do the song because he feels convicted by doing the song. That's a stand-up guy — that's honorable. You don't slap someone on the wrists because he's honorable. It's amazing how people are, just because he's not doing that controversial song that made him famous the guy is now a jerk? I don't understand it. A true fan wouldn't do that, a true fan would respect and honor it. I support it and applaud it.
Read the entire interview from Sleaze Roxx.