Robert Sweet Interview
From Southern California comes the first Christian Heavy Metal Band. Known as "Stryper," these four gentlemen enjoy a huge following on the West Coast, not to mention overseas. Their debut album on Enigma Records has charted high in the Independent charts. Between world tours, recording sessions, and press gatherings, we chatted with Robert Sweet, Stryper's drummer.
Q. Have you seen any evidence that someone in your audience has been affected by Stryper's lyrics and music? Do you know someone personally whose life has been inspired, changed, or turned around because of your music? I only ask this because John Lennon once remarked that rock stars don't have all this power people believe they have. He did not believe you could tell an audience what to do, or what not to do.
A. I've seen people accept Christ backstage and in she audience. I've seen heroin addicts drop their habit and many anti-Christ type of people make a 180 degree turn for God. It seems like everyone who comes in contact with Stryper changes for the good Rock stars do not have the power to influence people for Jesus, unless they are Christians, but they certainly have the power of influence!
Q. You tell your audiences, "We don't rock to bring attention to ourselves. We do it for Jesus." Why then, if you are not seeking attention for yourselves, have you included an insert in your record album which includes an address for both a Stryper fan club and a Stryper merchandise catalog?
A. We are just like any other rock band except we are doing what the Lord wants us to do. We want people to have the availability to contact us so that we may contact them back and invite them to come to our concerts and hear about Jesus. The same thing applies to our merchandise. If people see our names, they eventually come to our concerts. Just because we are doing what God wants us to do doesn't change the fact that we also need money to be able to do what we are doing. I have never seen someone become well-known without the need for finances.
Q. At what point did you make the transition from being a "metal" band to a "Christian metal band?"
A. In October of 1983, we decided that God Was doing something special in our lives and that we should dedicate our talents to Him. We were already a metal band wit tie potential of doing something and He used that.
Q. How does anyone outside of your record company and road crew know if you're sincere? Who is there to say that after your shows, you don't go back to the hotel and indulge in groupies and drugs?
A. How does anyone know that bands that represent Satan are sincere? You can tell by their lifestyles. God knows what we do. If we were doing those kinds of things, we would not continue to be blessed. He could even cause us to die or to become injured so that we couldn't play. If I were God and if we were phonies. I'd do something like that.
Q. Why do you think so many people are attracted to this band?
A. Because people are looking for something different. They are tired of the bands *hat think they have to do the Satan stuff or shocking, grotesque stuff to have success. We tell people that if you hate God and love rock 'n roll, you'll love us, and if you love God and hate rock n roll, you'll love us, but if you love God and love rock n roll, you'll buy all of our albums.
Q. How many copies of your album have been sold?
A. The EP has sold over 100,000 copies and is currently Number 4 in Japan.
Q. When will your "live" album be released?
A. The "live" album will be released later in '85. Our studio album will be released first.
Q. What is the purpose of your hotline?
A. To let people know what we are doing, where we are appearing, etc. Since we do get a large amount of calls at our office, it also helps cut down on so many calls.
Q. Did "Stryper" play all the L.A. clubs like the Troubadour, The Country Club, and Gazzaris? Did yon make any money?
A. Yes, we played all of those clubs, and believe me, most of those bands playing these clubs are not getting paid enough money to launch their band We know that God launched this band because we asked Him to He sent us a backer last year that put a certain amount of money into our band and since then He has helped us support ourselves by giving us a top booker and merchandising company.
Q. What's the future hold for Stryper?
A. The future holds a lot of promise for Stryper We want to do world tours and touch everyone s hearts with the power of God. and tell them about Jesus. We will probably not be the only ones doing that.
Official Website: Stryper.com
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