Stryper: ‘We Regret Stepping Away From Our Faith’
Christian rockers Stryper play a gig at London’s Islington Academy on January 24. Having split up in 1993 and reunited a decade later, the US band’s first appearance here since a date at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in 1987 is part of their 25th anniversary celebrations, also the promotion of a new album called Murder By Pride.
As a prelude to Stryper’s return, guitarist Oz Fox has been telling Classic Rock where it all went wrong for the band, circa 1990’s Against The Law, an album which saw them change their image and tone down the lyrical positivity that had been such a big part of the group’s essence.
“We had become very frustrated with the church and being shunned by the mainstream media, so what happened as that we went off in another direction,” explains Fox.
“Feeling that we could do anything we liked, we ended up taking that too far, I guess. We wanted to show the world we could rock just like anyone else.”
It ended up backfiring, though?
“Yeah, it was somewhat of a departure. I still believe that Against The Law was a very good album, but stepping away from our faith at that point was a big mistake. Sometimes it happens, though, just like the story of the Prodigal Son from The Bible.
“And at this point we have learned from the experience, our Christian faith is strong and we’re here to share it with whoever wants to hear about it. Whether people forgive us or not, we will continue to do that.”
Another cloudy area, perception-wise, is that this summer Fox married a former prostitute. Again, Oz is happy to provide the relevant details.
“My wife Annie Lobért has a wonderful ministry called Hookers For Jesus and she reaches out to people that are trapped in the world of sex trafficking, helping them to get out of the business,” he says.
“She meets these girls on the street or in casinos and has them come to church and realise that they don’t have to live that life. Her church provides a home for them to stay in… what she does is amazing.
“Annie herself was a prostitute for 11 years and she had a radical change in her life after a drug overdose that almost killed her,” Fox continues.
“She found God and we married on June 5th. We live together in Las Vegas. She has a big heart and life is good.”
For more details on Hookers For Jesus, go here: www.hookersforjesus.net