Deep South Entertainment announces the 2003 Stryper Reunion Tour, the band's first nationwide performance junket in more than 12 years, slated to kick-off in the Northeast in early October. The tour will run across the United States, playing approximately 30 concerts. While markets and venues are still being finalized, tour dates will be announced in early July via the Internet on both www.stryper.com and www.michaelsweet.com.
Originally formed in 1983 in Orange County, California, by brothers Michael and Robert Sweet and guitarist Oz Fox (joined shortly thereafter by bassist Tim Gaines), Stryper has sold more than seven million records worldwide over its career and has garnered critical and fan acclaim worldwide. The band earned its stripes on the Los Angeles metal club circuit, and in 1984 signed with Enigma Records, releasing its debut mini-album, The Yellow And Black Attack, then going on to record six more records over nearly a decade.
Lead vocalist/guitarist Michael Sweet comments, "We were four ordinary guys who played ordinary music with ordinary skills, yet what we did with the band from 1983 to 1991 was nothing short of extraordinary." When Stryper formed, few could have predicted the band would go on to pack arenas, have #1 MTV requests with the Top 40 hits "Honestly" and "Calling on You," and sell millions of albums around the world.
Fan interest has been constant and relentless. Between online chat-groups and classic rock magazines, word of Stryper's reunion is building a tremendous buzz. Guitarist Oz Fox said it best "I am thrilled to see continued interest in Stryper. I am amazed at the e-mails I've received through the years and how many lives the band has touched."
The band's moniker, Stryper, is an acrostic that means Salvation Through Redemption Yielding Peace, Encouragement and Righteousness. The Isaiah 53:5 reference under the Stryper logo is a Bible verse that states, "by His stripes we are healed." The band's first full-length release, Soldiers Under Command, sold more than 500,000 units worldwide in the 1980s and was a mainstay on Billboard's Top 200 album chart for over 40 weeks. In addition to the hard-rocking tunes that Stryper's core audience has come to expect, the ballad "Honestly" from the platinum-selling 1986 release To Hell With The Devil hit the Top 40 charts. The video for "Honestly" rapidly became the number one most-requested video on MTV. The year 1988 saw the near-platinum release of In God We Trust, as well as renewed success on MTV, which was bombarded by thousands of phone requests for the track "Always There For You."
Coming off a successful tour in 1989, the band released Against The Law, which shipped gold in the fall of 1990.
In 1991, Enigma Records went bankrupt, and Stryper was left without a record company. This was short-lived however, as Hollywood Records quickly picked up the band. In the summer of 1991, the quartet released Can't Stop The Rock, a "best of" album with two new tracks.
In January of 1992, Michael Sweet left the band to pursue a solo career. Although Robert Sweet, Oz Fox and Tim Gaines officially continued as a three-piece outfit for another year, there were no further studio recordings for Stryper once Michael left the band.
Michael Sweet was the first band member to re-appear on the music scene, when he secured a solo deal with Christian label Benson Records (Benson distributed Stryper to Christian retail stores in the 1980s). This union produced two albums: the self-titled set Michael Sweet and Real. In 1998, Sweet released a full-length independent demo titled Truth. This generated label interest, and he was soon signed to Restless Records. The remastered and updated version of Truth was released in early 2001.
After Stryper, Tim Gaines, Oz Fox, and Robert Sweet have all continued in the music industry. Each member has participated in numerous musical projects over the past decade.
Michael Sweet continues to write and record music and plans to release two solo projects next year. One will be a "rock" record showcasing newly written and recorded songs, while the other will be a hymns project. He also is busy producing new acts with co-producing partner Kenny Lewis. Sweet and Lewis co-produced two new Stryper songs released March 25, 2003, on Seven, The Best of Stryper, through Hollywood Records, distributed to Christian outlets by Forefront Records.
While there is no officially scheduled release for another Stryper album, there are talks and a strong possibility for a Stryper live album and/or DVD recorded throughout the upcoming tour.
Stay tuned for the announcement of the Stryper Reunion Tour dates early next month.