STRYPER vocalist Michael Sweet was recently interviewed by “The Australian Rock Show” podcast. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On having more freedom to experiment on his solo albums than when playing with STRYPER:
Michael: “With STRYPER, we feel the need to stay within the boundaries a little bit more and not venture too far away from that. When I do solo albums, I can pretty much for the most part do whatever want to do. I’ve done that. I think I’ve proven that. If you go back to the first solo album, that was more of an arena rock kind of thing. ‘Real’ was more acoustic-based. ‘Truth’ was very eclectic — I don’t want to say psychedelic, but a little deeper. Then you’ve got ‘One Sided War’, and it’s just a straight-ahead hard rock/metal album with some different things along the way. Then I’ve got the new album, ‘Ten’, coming out, which is a really great follow-up to ‘One Sided War’ — similar, but taking it up a notch or two in the sense that I’ve got a different guitar player on every track, and some really big names: Gus G., Jeff Loomis of ARCH ENEMY, Andy James, Rich Ward of FOZZY, Joel Hoekstra. [There’s] lots of really incredible guitar players on this album.”
On how he’s changed as a songwriter over the years:
Michael: “Back in the ’80s, I think I spent more time on songs. Some might see that as a good thing, or some might see that as a bad thing, but I know that I would spend, maybe, two or three days on a song and just kind of dissect it. Sometimes I’d get more frustrated over that. Nowadays, I sit down when I write an album and it’s pretty much a song a day. I’ll get a groove going; I’ll get a riff going with that groove; and then it just blossoms and flourishes from there, and three, four hours later, I’ve got a song. Then I’ll take a break [and the] next day, start on it again. After 12 days, 13 days, I’ve got the whole album. I didn’t write albums like that in the past. It was spread out over a greater length of time — a two- or three- or four-month process instead of just a few weeks.”
On STRYPER‘s second album, 1985’s “Soldiers Under Command”:
Michael: “We had been playing a number of those songs out in public for quite a while before we recorded them, so when we went in to record those songs with [producer] Michael Wagener, we wound up just banging those songs out. Robert [Sweet] tracked the drums in a day and a night. We tracked the guitars in a few days, bass in a few days, and then background vocals in a day and lead vocals in a few days. Then it got mixed. It was a very quick process because we knew what we were doing. I remember Michael Wagener smiling through it all and saying after we’d do a take, he’d say, ‘Perfect. I don’t know what else to say. It’s great.’ It just really went well.”
On the album’s title track:
Michael: “The song has a little bit of a JUDAS PRIEST vibe to it. We’re huge JUDAS PRIEST fans, especially me. JUDAS PRIEST really changed my life musically. PRIEST and VAN HALEN, those two bands. I think you hear flavors of that in that song in particular. It was just a great opportunity. Lyrically, it’s talking about how we are soldiers under God’s command. It kind of lays out what STRYPER‘s all about in the lyrics.”
On whether there will ever be a STRYPER movie:
Michael: “We’ve had a few offers over the years. Not to be rude or snarky, but they weren’t the right type of offers, and I don’t mean that financially speaking. I just mean, if we’re going to do a movie someday, it’s got to be done right. It’s got to be complete quality. It’s can’t be Cheez Whiz, even though STRYPER is a little cheesy sometimes. [Laughs]”
On current STRYPER and former FIREHOUSE bassist Perry Richardson:
Michael: “I can’t go on enough about Perry. What he’s brought to this band is hard to put into words. I think the first word that pops in my mind is the word peace. He’s brought peace to the band, and that’s long overdue. We’re just thrilled and blessed to have him, and then you add to that his incredible talents of playing bass and singing like a bird. He’s just perfectly made and tailor-made for this band… His favorite color has always been yellow. His e-mail has three sevens in it. There’s a list a mile long of so many interesting things that I don’t believe are coincidental.”
STRYPER‘s twelfth studio album, “God Damn Evil”, was released in April of 2018. The group plans to start working on a new record later this year.
Sweet‘s new solo album, “Ten”, will be released on October 11 via Rat Pak.