Five Questions For: STRYPER

Five Questions For:

FYI: pop culture news

October 02, 2003|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,Sun Staff

Michael Sweet, lead singer of the divinely driven '80's hard rock band Stryper, sat down with LIVE to talk about the band's new tour, two decades in rock 'n' roll and the heyday of hair metal.

And what about those awful yellow and black outfits?

Now 40 and a father of two, Sweet will rock the Recher Theatre Sunday at 8 p.m. when he and the rest of Stryper blow through Baltimore in support of a 30-city reunion tour. Tickets are $26.

How does Stryper's Christian music fit in with today's stuff?

It doesn't fit in, but we're not trying to fit in. We're not trying to be a new band or compete with the new bands. We're just gonna go do our thing. We're going to play vintage Stryper, and we're doing two brand new songs. Hopefully, people will take home something other than just ringing ears. Maybe the following day will be a little brighter for them. Maybe the message of Stryper can help pull them out of problems in life.

Why start on a reunion / anniversary tour now?

It's not an anniversary tour. I always said that I wouldn't do it unless it was God's will. In other words, I didn't want to do it because some guy called us up and offered us $100,000 for a show. I just never felt like it was the right time until we recorded these two new songs in January of this year. Everything fell into place, it came full circle and it was the right time. It's more of a celebration than a reunion.

How do you feel about getting out there on the new tour?

We're not as conditioned as we were, but we might get out there and it will be smooth sailing. But I'm nervous and excited at the same time.

The tickets for your club tour are selling well, but are you wistful for the days of when metal shows were selling out arenas?

Quite a few of the shows are selling. A lot of people want to come and see it. [But] to be honest with you, I prefer smaller clubs. When you're in a big arena, you can't really see the audience, you just see blackness. So I'm excited about the club thing. You can reach out and shake their hands... In the clubs, people are just right there. It's really nice.

What about the yellow and black leather costumes?

We wanted colors that would really stand out. They were bold colors; they were warning colors. It was, kind of, warning people that we were coming with this [Christian] message. The stripes signify the lashes that Christ endured before he was nailed to the cross. The stripes that we wore on our guitars and our clothing was so that people would remember. We wanted everything to go back to what Christ did and what he can do.

[On this tour,] we're going to be going out with yellow and black drums and yellow and black guitars. But the clothes aren't going to be [yellow and black]. I'm not going to be breaking out the old outfits at all. I could fit into it, but I just wouldn't put it on. I want to be taken seriously; I don't want to go out and look like a joke. Any new fans wouldn't take us seriously.

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