Jimmy Kay from Canada's The Metal Voice spoke to guitarist frontman of Stryper Michael Sweet. Sweet spoke about his upcoming solo album, his upcoming Stryper Greatest Hits & Covers That Influenced Our Generation tour, how new bassist Perry Richardson is fitting in and a health update on Oz Fox.
When asked about his upcoming Stryper's Greatest Hits & Covers That Influenced Our Generation tour
"We decided that we wanted to put together a set that kind of showcases our roots and where we come. We made The Covers album and that was an album that kind of showcased where our musical history lies, so we wanted to take that a step further and kind of make a tour out of it. We're are doing roughly 10-11 covers mixed in with Stryper songs. Maybe mix it up a little bit like one night we'll play this cover and the next night we'll play a different cover maybe one night do a Scorpion's tune the next night do a Maiden tune or the next night do a Cheap Trick tune or Black Sabbath."
When asked if Stryper will get slack from their Christian fanbase for playing Black Sabbath songs
"I think our Christian base expects us to do Christian based songs, the funny thing is though if you really dive into Black Sabbath and you get into their lyrics and the history of the lyrics you realize that they are based on a lot of them are based on Christianity and based on a belief in God in Christ. I know the Geezer Butler wrote a lot of those lyrics, After Forever is a song that we covered and you read those lyrics, those are lyrics that Stryper could have written. Of course Black Sabbath the name kind of sets it up as evil but when you get into it you realize that they weren't necessarily speaking out for evil, no they were they were just speaking out against evil in a lot of their lyrics. In the song War pigs people hear the line Satan laughing spreads his wings and they think oh my god this is so evil and you read the rest of the lyric you know it's not."
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When asked about the Stryper set list on upcoming tour
"The tricky part is is we have now we've built up quite a catalogue so it makes it tough to do everything that everyone wants to hear. We got to do the classics yeah you know songs like To Hell With The Devil and Always There For You, Calling on you and Soldiers Under Command, there are certain songs that are staples in the set. We're doing a lot of the classics and we're doing some new songs, 10 or 11 Stryper songs and then 10 or 11 covers.
When ask about how it was coming along with new bass player Perry Richardson
"Oh gosh we keep saying to ourselves where were you in 1984 and you know obviously he was doing other things. Perry, he's our guy man I don't know what else to say he he's such a perfect fit for us in all areas and he's just such a good guy man I don't know what else to say. Perry has been so refreshing and you know he's just got this spirit about him where you never have to worry. You never have to worry with Perry in the sense of knowing his parts, if you give him a set list a month before rehearsal, you know he's gonna be ready. Yeah you never have to worry about him performing you know he's gonna go onstage and give his all and smile and have a good time. You never have to worry about him as a person, you know being nasty or doing bad things or saying bad things you just never have to worry about that. Perry all around is just a an amazing guy, an amazing musician and a team player and we're so honored and proud to have him. I've said this before I'll say it again I'll keep saying it, it would be interesting to see the history of Stryper if Perry Richardson was in the band back in the day. Yeah it would have been would have been very interesting to see."
When asked about his upcoming new solo album 10
"It's finished, it's called Ten, it's being mastered right now and then we're gonna start laying out a plan for videos and and songs. I got to do photo shoot in about five weeks I think it is six weeks. The album's now going to come out September 2019, we were shooting for a little earlier June or July release but that just wasn't in the cards for a number of reasons. We don't want to rush anything but I can tell you this it's called Ten because it's my tenth album and because there is a title track on there about the 10 commandments, a really really powerful song, real heavy, it smacks you in the face and it ends like kicking you in the gut. It's really cool man. I've got a different player on every song and it started out where I was gonna have just a few players and then I thought you know it would be really interesting to bring in a different guy on every song. I started putting names out there and reaching out to people and they started agreeing to do it and then I had guys reaching out to me."
When asked about how Oz Fox's health
"He's doing good he changed his diet in his lifestyle and he's feeling better, he's lost some weight, he's in a good place right now. Obviously they're still keeping tabs on the situation has a couple spots on his brain and they're just keeping an eye on it."
Other guest musicians who will appear on Sweet's new disc include guitarists Joel Hoekstra (WHITESNAKE, NIGHT RANGER), Jeff Loomis (ARCH ENEMY, NEVERMORE), Marzi Montazeri (EXHORDER, PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS), Gus G. (FIREWIND, OZZY OSBOURNE) and Andy James.
STRYPER's latest album, "God Damn Evil", was released in April 2018 via Frontiers Music Srl.
The disc, will be released via Rat Pak Records.
STRYPER 2019 "History" tour dates:
May 10 - The Firmament - Greenville, SC
May 11 - Union Jack's - Annapolis, MD
May 13 - Beachland Ballroom - Cleveland, OH
May 14 - The Token Lounge - Westland, MI
May 15 - The Rockpile West - Toronto, Ontario
May 17 - Gramercy Theatre - New York, NY
May 18 - The Chance - Poughkeepsie, NY
May 19 - The Paramount - Huntington, NY
May 21 - Chameleon Club - Lancaster, PA
May 22 - Jergel's Rhythm Grille - Warrendale, PA
May 24 - Bogarts - Cincinnati, OH
May 25 - Mercury Ballroom - Louisville, KY
May 26 - The Lerner Theatre - Elkhart, IN
May 29 - Vinyl Music Hall - Pensacola, FL
May 31 - Warehouse Live - Houston, TX
June 1 - Magic Springs Theme Water Park - Hot Springs, AR
June 2 - Graceland Sound Stage - Memphis, TN
June 5 - House of Blues - New Orleans, LA
June 8 - The Masquerade - Atlanta, GA
June 13 - Paparazzi OBX - Kitty Hawk, NC
June 14 - Phase 2 - Lynchburg, VA
June 15 - Roanoke Rapids Theater - Roanoke Rapids, NC
July 17 - Rock Fest 2019 - Cadott, WI
July 18 - Arcada Theater - St. Charles, IL
July 20 - Roar on the Shore Bike Week - Erie, PA
Sept. 7 - Teatro al Aire Libre - La Paz, Bolivia*
Sept. 10 - CC. Festiva - Lima, Peru*
Sept. 12 - Teatro Caupolicán - Santiago, Chile*
Sept. 14 - Tropical Butanta - Sao Paulo, Brazil*
Sept. 15 - Circo Voador - Rio de Janiero, Brazil*
Sept. 17 - Toinha Brasil Show - Brasilia, Brazil*
Sept. 19 - Mister Rock BH - Belo Horizonte, Brazil*
Sept. 21 - El Teatro Flores - Buenos Aires, Argentina*
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