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STRYPER’s ROBERT SWEET: In A Way, The Music Industry Is ‘Kind Of The Devil’s Industry’

In a new interview with Sofa King Cool Magazine, STRYPER drummer Robert Sweet said that the band was never fully embraced by the heavy metal and hard rock communities, largely because of the group’s Christian lyrics.

“I think, and a lot of people have told us, especially in the industry, ‘If you guys weren’t doing this Jesus thing, and we know you mean it,’ which we do, ‘you guys would have sold many more millions of records,'” Robert said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). “And, really, I want everyone to know that’s the truth, because radio never played us. And it was a miracle we got on MTV. But still, to this day, radio has played us very, very little. But we were willing to take that hit financially. And it’s been rough at times. It’s been really unfair because a lot of people have come up and said, ‘Hey, man, I’m not a Christian. You guys are one of the best bands I’ve ever heard.’ And I’m, like, ‘Well, great. Thank you.’ We don’t look at ourselves as any better than anyone else, but we had to stick with it. We had to make sure that the message of Jesus was first and foremost and front, no matter what people said. And, man, were we ever given a hard time. I am telling you, I didn’t know so many people were gonna come against us back in the ’80s, and even up to this day. But it’s all worth it.”

Asked if there were any bands that gave STRYPER a hard time for being a Christian band or maybe didn’t want to take STRYPER out on tour with them because of STRYPER‘s lyrical messages, Robert said: “Well, nobody wanted to take us out. So we were forced to headline. No one wanted to go out with us. We wanted to open for whoever we could. That was an honor to us. We had always hoped to be able to open for so many of our heroes and bands we grew up listening to, but just back in the day, I think people had the wrong idea. They really did. And they were afraid of it. So it forced us to go headline. And it really — maybe that kind of helped our career. I don’t know. I felt like maybe God was with us, saying, ‘No, you’re not gonna go that route. You’re gonna go this route.’ And it was different, because most bands don’t do that. When you’re starting out, you go out with bigger acts. And we’ve done many, many festivals, but that’s been primarily, in my opinion, since we started up again in 2003. But back in the day, back in the ’80s, when we were doing the really big coliseums and stuff, it was pretty much us just heading straight down the road and headlining.”

Robert was also asked if it is ever frustrating for him and his STRYPER bandmates that certain other acts can go ahead and use Satanic imagery or make references to Satanism in their music and the fans are seemingly into it, even though they’re not Satan worshippers, but STRYPER never seems to get the same kind of respect. The drummer replied: “Well, there are some people that aren’t into it, but that’s because most of the time they haven’t seen us, or they haven’t sat down and listened to what STRYPER is. But there are people who loveSTRYPER who aren’t Christians. And I’ve had them come up and say, ‘Hey…’.

“I remember my brother [STRYPER frontman Michael Sweet] and I spoke with a Satanist, I think it was, I wanna say France. He came out. I mean, the guy was so complimentary. He wanted to speak with Michael and I. And he came down and he said, ‘You guys are the biggest white metal band in the world. Why aren’t you out playing the big festival next door? Why are you playing this 3,000-seat place that’s sold out? You should be over on that stage over there.’ And we said, ‘Well, yeah, we’d like that.’ But he was so complimentary of us. And yet he was very open that he was a real-deal Satanist, but he loved STRYPER… And that’s always been our hope.”

He added: “I want you to know that there’s a lot of great stuff that takes place in the music industry, but, in a way, it’s kind of the devil’s industry. And we always hoped to go into that industry and affect it in a good way. And you have to be touched by God to do it. You can’t just go do that. It’s not gonna work. You’re gonna be miserable and it’s gonna fail. And I feel sad when I see certain bands try to do it and everything is against them. But if you’re gonna bring forth the message of Jesus, I really feel you need to be anointed by God to do it. And we felt it so strong. We still feel it so strong that nothing could stop us from doing it.”

Last month, Michael Sweet completed mixing STRYPER‘s new studio album with longtime collaborator Danny Bernini at SpiritHouse Recording Studios in Northampton, Massachusetts. A tentative late summer/early fall release is expected.

Formed 41 years ago, STRYPER‘s name comes from Isaiah 53:5, which states: “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.”

STRYPER‘s albums include “To Hell With The Devil”, “Second Coming”, “No More Hell To Pay”, “Fallen”, “God Damn Evil”, “Even The Devil Believes” and “The Final Battle”.

Robert and Michael are joined in STRYPER by Oz Fox (guitar) and Perry Richardson (bass).

STRYPER‘s “To Hell With The Amps: The Unplugged Tour” will kick off in late May. For the first time ever, the Christian rockers will stage a full tour where they will perform their hits and fan favorites acoustically.

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