For those of you who don’t know or remember, Stryper were an ’80s hair metal act with two big selling points: they dressed in black and yellow stripes, and they were Christian.
The band included a Bible citation in their logo (Isaiah 53:5, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed“), and their most famous record was 1986’s To Hell With The Devil.
Now, frontman Michael Sweet has explained that he doesn’t consider Stryper a “Christian band” — and calls out Slayer as hypocrites.
“I recently, in the past few yeas, said quite a few times, and it’s really caused a stir, that we’re not a Christian band,” Sweet told Chris Jericho on his podcast, as transcribed by Loudwire. “And people say, ‘What?’ But we’re Christians in a rock band. And there’s a difference.
We weren’t brought up in the church; we were brought up on the streets of L.A. playing Gazzarri’s, Troubadour, Whisky, and we became Christians. And we just continued doing what we always did, but with a different message. We’re really not a Christian band. But if people wanna call us a Christian band, that’s okay. But I view us as just a rock band that decided to take a different path.”
Despite this convenient distinction, Sweet then goes on to say that the band members actually read the Bible, and aren’t just blowing smoke — unlike a certain famous thrash band…
“So by doing so, so to speak, we practice what we preach,” says Sweet. “We’re not perfect — in any sense of the word, we’re not perfect — but we really do our best to represent Christ, represent God and all that God stands for.
“But it’s funny when you hear about Slayer, and you think Satanic band, pentagram, evil, and then Tom [Araya] is going to church every Sunday with his kids,” he adds. “Which is great. But my point is it’s a polar opposite of what they represent themselves as. Stryper, on the other hand, you get what you get. We are what we are on stage and off stage.”
Check out the full interview here:
Words by Chris Krovatin