'The Completion of The Cleansing Metamorphose Is Upon Us'
Back in the middle of last year, the multi-platinum and Billboard charting rock band Stryper came back to the music scene and brought with them their new recording Reborn via Big3 Records.
Reborn marked the band’s first complete studio release of original material in over a decade, since 1990’s 'Against The Law,' and featured 10 original tracks marked by Stryper’s trademark blend of melodic vocals, heavy guitar licks and pounding drums, as well a new version of the previously released track “In God We Trust.”
After writing and recording some songs in April 2004, Michael Sweet approached the band about reuniting and recording the material as a Stryper [Michael Sweet - lead vocals, guitar; Oz Fox - lead guitar; Robert Sweet - drums; and Tracy Ferrie - bass] record. The album was re-recorded in Massachussetts at Blue Jay Studio, Mixed Emotions, and Sweet’s home studio.
Said Stryper frontman Michael Sweet of the new record, “Our fans have said they would like to hear Stryper with more edge, but I didn’t want to do something so heavy that it would limit us. We were able to deliver the edge yet still keep the melody and catchy guitar riffs.” As for the title Reborn, Sweet remarks, “I wrote the song “Reborn” before we decided to reunite as a band, and once we came together it was natural to make this notion the essence of the album as we feel we are being reborn. We truly feel like a new band.”
Chatting recently with Oz Fox, I first asked him to more explain about why the time had been now right to unleash this new album? "It's more like the time is now right for Stryper to return to the music scene. There needs to be a Stryper to shine a light in such a decadent realm of music."
And, while we're on the subject of revealing things, was there ever any issues back in the day with a band name that (unintentionally, especially due to what the letters actually stand for!) also nods towards that of a pole dancer ... and yet played Christian music?! "Stryper spelled with a "y" makes you think of a pole dancer? Now I know why Stryper needs to be here ... haha, I guess you didn't read Isaiah 53:5!"
What was it like having nearly all the original line-up back in the studio after all these years? "We all flew in at different times to do our tracks. Michael was in charge of the production, and he pretty much pieced everything together to turn it was into what it is. Because of schedules, it had to be that way. A lot of groups do that, but I'm hoping that the next album will have all of us together recording in the same room. Other than that, it was an awesome feeling to be back doing a new Stryper album."
Come on now, which one of you has aged the best?! "Tracy!"
STRYPER's career began in the early '80s as Roxx Regime ... why was the name change incorporated at that time? "Our record company at the time (Enigma Records) wanted a stronger name for the band. After some brain storming, Stryper (spelled with a "y" because it rhymes with "hyper") was chosen. Curiously enough there was another band with a similar name at the time and I think they got the short end of the stick. Sorry guys ;p"
Was this new album always to be called 'Reborn'? "Michael already had the song written but we felt it was appropriate since the band hadn't been together for so long."
Which of the tracks taken from it do you feel encapsulates STRYPER at their finest? "I would have to say 'Passion' over all. I think the song has so many dynamics and really gives every one our deepest feelings of our faith."
Why did Michael Sweet decide to leave the group for a solo career back in '91? "Well, I can't speak for him directly but I can assume that he felt that it was time to move on. A number of things led him to believe that he should and we weren't going to stand in his way. I would have to say that he was quite successful, considering that the rest of us went no where. He sold quite a few albums after his departure from Stryper, but I think his calling is to be in Stryper."
Have you a funny (or inspirational!) story to tell of just one of your musical encounters among the many journey's that you have taken thus far? "Oh man! There are so many of them! There was one time in Vancouver, Canada when I was back stage at a Judas Priest concert. Earlier in the tour we became friends with Rob Halford (the vocalist). He jammed with us at a concert in Toronto. After the show they offered to give me and my guitar tech a ride back to our hotel. When we got to the hotel, Rob jumped out of the van and when I went to shake his hand, he embraced me and stuck his nose in my neck. Needless to say I was very uncomfortable with that, but I laughed about it later. It's not every day that one of your favorite heavy metal singers, who is gay, gives you a big hug!"
OK, what "cheesy" '80s pop song would you love to cover today if asked... and why?! "It would definitely have to be "Umm Bop" I think Hanson was so underrated!"
If there were just 3 words that described STRYPER's music, what would they be? "1.Groovin'. 2.Dynamic. 3.Inspiring."
What would you say has been the bands crowning musical achievement thus far? "To Hell with the Devil was probably the strongest album we ever recorded. Solid 80's metal. And no decadence."
Finally, if you were asked to record a single for charity, and had to choose 3 other musicians to aid you in the project (but no one from your band!), who would they be, what instruments would they play, and what would the name of the NEW song be?! "Jeff Scott Soto - Vocals, Tim Gaines - Bass, Gregg Bissonette - Drums, ... 'What About The Homeless American Children'?"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Stryper's brand new CD, just answer this easy question: Big3 Records will also be releasing a Stryper DVD, packed with live footage and special features, sometime this year. The DVD is history in the making. Not only is it the first Stryper DVD to be released, but it is also the first ever live music filmed ... where?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new and AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before May 15th with your answer and the subject title 'STRYPER SIGNED CDs' to: email@example.com
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