Stryper Get Set To Celebrate 25th Anniversary
The classic line-up of Christian rockers Stryper is about to start a 25th anniversary tour, which sees the return of bassist Tim Gaines, who left in 2004.
“We originally planned to do two sets on this tour,” frontman Michael Sweet told Classic Rock. “One with Tim and another with Tracy Ferrie [who replaced Gaines]. But then Tracy decided he didn’t want to do that, so we’re doing the whole tour with what most of our fans would see as the classic Stryper foursome.”
This also means the return of drummer Robert Sweet, who is not on Stryper’s current album Murder By Pride. (A track from which was recently featured on Track Of The Day.)
“To be honest with you, we had to make a decision on the recordings. Robert just wasn’t ready – he hadn’t learnt the songs and didn’t even have his drum kit set up. So, in order to avoid a costly process, we got in Kenny Aronoff, who did it all in just four days. The same happened to us on Reborn in 2005. Robert simply wasn’t prepared, and we had to do so many retakes that it ended up being very expensive.”
So, given the rather unprofessional approach of their drummer, why take him back?
“Robert’s my brother, and I will always give him every chance. I’d like to think he’d do the same for me. I know in the corporate world it’s, ‘three strikes and you’re out’. But we have a different attitude. So, Oz [Fox, guitar] and I will always give Robert the extra chance. I’d like to think that if Jesus were alive today, then he would have told us to take Robert back. Forgive, forget and move on.”
The Stryper tour, which will be filmed for a documentary, stretches into 2010 – and watch out UK, because the Yellow And Black Attack is coming here!
“We’ve lined up a lot of European shows from mid-January to mid-March, and I am determined that we will do at least one show in Britain. It’s been a while.”
Actually, it’s been 22 years since they last played a date here, at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in 1987. But the singer feels we need a touch of Stryper.
“The rest of the world is seeing what we’re like now –we’ve become big-bellied and bald, so why shouldn’t you guys?!”
Stryper are also planning a – wait for it – Christmas album.
“This will be out in late 2010. We’ll be doing traditional carols, but in a Stryper style. No disrespect to other bands, but every time I hear what they do on Christmas records, it sounds so… cheesy. We aim to avoid all of that.”