For a majority of my life, and for all of my adult years one musical act has always held a special place in my record, tape, CD and Itunes collection.
In 1984 a friend of mine introduced me to Stryper, the world’s first long-haired, heavy metal, rock-n-roll, Christian glam-band! As a 14 year old trying to live for Christ, Stryper provided a powerful role model and social outlet for me and my friends. And from 1984-1989 we were not alone as Stryper literally rocked the world with number one hits on the radio and top videos on MTV. Stryper was a hit and for us in the Christian world, smiles of pride were permanent fixtures on our faces.
Yes, we were Soldiers Under Command and Stryper was our leading battalion.
Even though I’m not 40 I have to admit when I hop into my Z06 it only seems fitting to crank up the rock-n-roll and it has to be loud. Though nowadays I usually jam out to the likes of FooFighers, Nickleback or others, 80s heavy metal remains a mainstay and a Stryper CD is usually not far away.
In 2001 the band reunited for what we all thought would be their last concert as a group. Michael Sweet was off doing his own thing and having success and the rest of the band had moved on with wives and kids in tow. In the early 90s they made some bad choices and had some personal struggles as young men that had tarnished their reputation and it seemed it was all but over.
But God wasn’t done with Stryper yet.
In 2003, the band released a compilation with a few new singles on it called Seven and in 2005 their first new complete album since 1990 was released called Reborn. It was crisp, bold, loud and modern. It was Stryper and it was good.
In 2009, the band released yet another album called Murder by Pride which is probably their best album since Soldiers Under Command in 1986.
Today, Stryper has a new base of young fans to go along with us grey-haired oldies. I recently took my 14 year old niece to see them live at the House of Blues in Dallas. The show was incredible and fittingly ended with a Stryperized heavy-metal rendition of “Winter Wonderland”. We both banged our heads, shook our fists and sang our hearts out. For me it was like stepping back to the late 80s when as a youth Stryper was my musical drug.
A quarter of a century has gone by, but as I have told members of the band personally over the years in the few times I have had the chance to talk to them, God used Stryper in my young life as a source of identity and pride as a Believer. They played a large role in helping me realize Christians should stand up, be counted, and be bold. I only hope they can do the same for this new generation of Stryper fans because the Lord knows our worlds needs it!
For now, I think today would be a good day to hit the streets and crank it up just one more time!