May 21, 2000

 
About Stryper
Michael, Robert, Oz and Tim
Michael Sweet
Robert Sweet
Oz Fox
Tim Gaines

Salvation Through Redemption Yielding Peace, Encouragement, & Righteousness


“A piece of music or a ballet comes into existence when it is composed, and may be said to continue in existence as long as there remains a possibility of it’s being performed either physically or in the imagination.”
- Harold Osbourne

The above quote is an appropriate opening for the First Annual Stryper and Christian Contemporary Music Expo.  Appropriate because Stryper’s music and the impact it had and continues to have on millions of fans around the world still exists.  Stryper was the first Christian band to break through the music industry's barriers that held back this genre for many years.  Perhaps more importantly the band allowed young people to relate to a positive message through the vehicle of Heavy Metal. Stryper unequivocally paved the way for Christian artists.  Today, record companies have divisions solely dedicated to this music genre.  There are publications, web sites, and fan clubs all over the world supporting Christian music.  This Expo is a celebration of the band's existence, the music they have created and continue to create, as well as a forum to support and promote Christian contemporary music.

Originally known as “Roxx Regime” for a short period in the early eighties, Stryper was formed in Orange County, California, in 1983.  With their fan base growing at a rapid pace, they were signed by Bill & Wesley Hein of Enigma, an independent label, in 1984.  The band comprised of Michael Sweet, lead singer, songwriter and guitarist; Oz Fox, lead guitar and vocals; Robert Sweet, drums; and Timothy Gaines ( formerly from Stormer), bass, keyboards and vocals.

The Yellow and Black Attack“The Yellow and Black Attack,” a mini album, was their first recording and received astonishing respose. Next was “Soldiers Under Command,” which went gold and reached #84 on the charts.  Enigma remixed the “Yellow & Black Attack” and added 2 songs in 1986.  The new version hit #103 and eventually went gold. Their next album, most people would agree, was when the band was at the peak of their career.  “To Hell With The Devil” was released in 1986.  The album went gold in February of 1987 and earned the band a Grammy nomination.  The song “Free” quickly became the #1 most requested song on MTV, followed by the top 40 charting ballad “Honestly.”  Eleven months later it would go platinum.  They also had several videos that were gold and platinum. Soldiers Under CommandThey continued their success with the release of another gold album, “In God We Trust” in 1988.

Each decade brings with it music that is indicative and reflective of that time.  The eighties were a time when the economy was booming.  The real estate and stock markets were at all-time highs.  It was a time of lavish spending, excessiveness, Donald To Hell With the DevilTrump and hair bands.  Glamour Bands like Poison, Bon Jovi and Motley Crue ruled the airwaves.  The party did end however.  In the late eighties we saw the stock market crash, with junk bonds living up to their name.  The real estate market bottomed out, almost overnight.  Poor Donald and Ivana went splitsville.  The country was headed for a recession.

The new decade started with the recession, Mike Tyson loses his heavyweight title to a 42-to-1 underdog named BusterIn God We Trust Douglas, and, a few months later, the gulf war begins.  The reason for this brief economic history lesson is to put into context the last two albums by Stryper.  The new decade also ushered in a new sound.  Grunge all but snuffed the life out of every glamour band in terms of commercial success.  It was bands like Nirvana, singing in flannel shirts with morose lyrics, that was the craze.  Stryper released "Against the Law" in 1990.  The band changed its polished image and sound for a harder look, leaving some fans confused.  The album, which had great material, did not fare too well.  Their last album was a Greatest Hits collection called “Can’t Stop the Rock” in 1991.  Later that year, Michael Sweet left Stryper to pursue a solo career, a move that would eventually lead to the breakup of the band. Stryper continued on for two more years in Europe.  They toured as a three piece outfit with Oz handling the lead vocals as well as guitars. Stryper officially disbanded in 1992.Michael Sweet

Where are they now?

Michael Sweet - RealMichael Sweet signed with Benson Music Group and released his self-titled debut album in 1994.  It was voted the number 1 favorite rock album in the CCM Readers Awards.  In 1996 he released his second album, also through Benson, entitled “REAL.”  It was nominated for a Dove award as the “Best Rock Album of the Year.”  Michael Sweet - TruthHe released his own demo record called “Truth” in 1998.  Since then he has signed with Restless Records and awaits his new album's release sometime in the very near future.  He is married with two children and lives in Massachusetts.  You can get more information and up-to-date news at www.michaelsweet.com, the “Official Michael Sweet Website.”

Robert Sweet has been keeping himself busy with numerous recording sessions.  Some recent projects include work on “Valediction by Joseph Anastacio Glean” and session work with Ice T.  His new CD "Love Trash" is available at www.robertsweet.com.  Robert Sweet - Love TrashRobert is married with two children and lives in Las Vegas.

Tim Gaines and Oz Fox (Portions taken from the inner sleeve of “He’s not Dead”)
While on the road in 1991, Oz Fox had been writing new songs for what would be the “next” Stryper album.  In 1992, having parted with Robert Sweet, Oz and Tim went into the studio to record the songs to demo Oz’s vocal and songwriting abilities.  In 1994, Oz called Tim to “jam” at drummer John Bocanegra’s house, along with guitarist Bobby Mac Neil.  Oz had asked each one to learn the songs on his demo tape to see what they would sound like live.  The four realized that there was something special taking place.  Feeling inspired to write more songs, Tim wrote the music for “Sacred Blood.” Sin Dizzy - He's Not DeadOz & John added lyrics and turned it into a “rock opera” of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and thus Sin Dizzy was born.  With the help of dedicated fans worldwide, who ordered the limited edition and thus financed the manufacturing, “He’s Not Dead” was released.  The message and the theme of Sin Dizzy is “Christ is alive - He’s not dead,” and as he continues to work in the lives of the members, the band will continue to spread Christ’s message through  their songs. 

In 1999, Sin Dizzy played a concert along with Michael Sweet last June in Puerto Rico. Sin Dizzy played their music, then Michael came on stage and did material from his “Truth” album with Sin Dizzy backing him up.  Afterwards, Michael and Sin Dizzy jammed a few Stryper songs, to the thrill of the crowd.  Read about the show as well as other up-to-date information at www.sindizzy.com, Sin Dizzy’s website. Oz lives in California with his wife and three children.  Tim Gaines has also done much session work, as well as play on Irene Kelly’s debut album, “Patch of Blue.”  He currently lives in California.  A new Sin Dizzy album is being planned around their busy schedules.  As of now, recording has not yet started.  Check for any concert updates at www.sindizzy.com .
 

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