Michael Sweet is a man on fire. With solo projects, side projects and creative plates spinning beyond what you’d expect, the Stryper front man shows no signs of slowing even decades after he first stormed the charts with heavy hits and heartfelt ballads.
To hear Sweet tell the story, Stryper is a rejuvenated band who have returned to their roots as a classic metal band—emphasis on the metal. With a direct, and somewhat controversial, lyrical message and intense new album, Sweet remains very passionate about what God is doing in his life and what he’s able to bring to his fans.
CCM Magazine: When you’ve been writing, recording and releasing albums for as long as you have with Stryper, do you ever take this process for granted?
Michael Sweet: We’ve had valleys and high points, but right now with this particular album, it feels like we’re honestly eighteen or nineteen-years old again hanging out in the garage. There’s that kind of excitement for us. We have a new bass player and he’s brought a lot into the band in terms of joy and as a player and singer. We feel rejuvenated, not just based on that but a number of other things.
We’ve been trying to find ourselves again over the last few years and we’ve come full circle finally in a production and songwriting-sense. Everything feels renewed and exciting, and I think that shows when you listen to the album, too.
CCM: How do you begin to do that…to find yourselves again?
MS: You have to remember who you were and look back on that. You have to listen to that. There was something special that made you who you were as an artist, that made you successful or popular, that created this fan base. When you walk away from that, which we all do because we all change, sometimes you alienate yourself from that. We looked back on our old sound and the energy we’d had and tried to write and produce songs more in that vein. We stopped trying to be a modern band. We’re not that. We’re a classic rock-metal band. We’re never going to be ’90s or 2000s or even a modern rock band, nor do we ever want to be. [Laughs]