Christian rockers Stryper are offering fans a head-banging view of who their influences were early on, with the arrival of an almost entire album’s worth of cover songs titled The Covering. Set for release on February 15th via Big3 Records (Sony), the album includes twelve rocking covers, as well as the all-new original tune, “God.” And most significantly, the album marks the return of original bassist Tim Gaines back into the Stryper fold, setting up the first Stryper release in years to feature the definitive line-up of Michael Sweet (vocals/guitar), Oz Fox (guitar), Tim Gaines (bass) and Robert Sweet (drums).
According to Michael Sweet, the impetus for putting out a mostly covers set was a simple one. “Every Stryper album is pretty serious and pretty bold in the lyrical faith sense of the word. We just wanted to roll our sleeves up, cut loose and have some fun.” And when it came time to pick out a listing of tunes to cover, all the band had to do was look back upon their club days. “Growing up, before Stryper was even Stryper, we were a cover band. We played Gazzarri’s on the [Hollywood] Strip for years – we would do originals but also do covers, as well. We always did [Judas] Priest covers and [Iron] Maiden covers, all those bands we grew up on and who influenced us.”
What fans get is a CD that runs the gamut from 1970’s era classic rock (Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” Deep Purple’s “Highway Star,” Kiss’ “Shout It Out Loud,” etc.) to 1980’s era heavy metal (Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell,” the Scorpions’ “Blackout,” “Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper,” etc.). “A few things we set out to do on this album was to stay true to the original – we didn’t want to disrespect the original versions,” explains Michael. “I’m never going to sound like Bruce Dickinson or Ronnie James Dio, nor would I ever try to. And having me sing the song puts our own spin on it. We just all did our own thing and with our own touches and feel – Robert, Tim, Oz and myself – it has that Stryper feel to it as well.”
The album also includes an all-new Stryper tune, “God.” “Something that I was concerned about doing a covers album was the backlash,” says Michael. “Being a Christian band, I was afraid we would get beat up pretty good. And sure enough, people in the press were saying early on, ‘What are they doing? Are they Christian still?’ All this nonsense. I just felt like, ‘We really should put a song on there that solidifies our faith.’ And that tells everyone questioning our faith, ‘No, we haven’t turned our back on God, we’re still serious about it.’”
Big3 Records Chairman Bill Edwards adds, “We are excited to be releasing yet another record from one of rock music’s legendary acts. Stryper continues to build a new generation of fans while consistently delivering for those worldwide that have followed them from the beginning. We are looking forward to making The Covering their most successful release to date.”
Stryper will be supporting their latest release with a world tour, which will see the quartet dust off a handful of originals they have not performed in ages, as well as selections from The Covering, and all the expected hits. Beyond that, Michael has high hopes for what lays in store for Stryper. “We’re really excited about the future. We feel like the band is in the best spirits and the best place musically, spiritually, and physically speaking than we’ve ever been. We feel really good. We’re all pushing 50, but man, I feel like there’s so much more life for this band, and some incredible things in store for the group. We’re hooked up with some great people – we’ve got new management, a great album, a great label. We just feel like everything is coming together, and hopefully some big things are to follow.”
In 1984, Stryper broke onto the scene with their debut EP The Yellow and Black Attack, and have since gone on to sell over 8 million albums and tour the world spreading an inspirational message through their branded sound of rock songs, heavy guitars and pristine harmony vocals. The group’s unprecedented 1986 album To Hell with the Devilwas the first Christian album to go platinum and was named one of the “100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music” by CCM Magazine. Stryper was also the first Christian band to get airplay on MTV, where they had several hit videos, including the #1 “Most Requested” videos “Free” and “Honestly.” The band supported their 2009 release Murder by Pridewith a year-long 25th Anniversary World Tour which took them throughout North America, South America, Europe and Australia.
‘THE COVERING’ TRACKLIST:
1. Set Me Free (Sweet)
2. Blackout (Scorpions)
3. Heaven and Hell (Black Sabbath)
4. Lights Out (UFO)
5. Carry On My Wayward Son (Kansas)
6. Highway Star (Deep Purple)
7. Shout It Out Loud (Kiss)
8. Over The Mountain (Ozzy Osbourne)
9. The Trooper (Iron Maiden)
10. Breaking The Law (Judas Priest)
11. On Fire (Van Halen)
12. Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin)
13. God (Stryper)
For more information, please visit: http://www.stryper.com/.