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As the main songwriter, vocalist and co-lead guitarist of the multi-platinum selling Christian rock band, Stryper, Michael Sweet accomplished many feats that were previously unheard of in the non-secular music genre. Not only was Stryper uncomprising in their Christian beliefs, but they were musically competent as well. The band sold millions of records, had a top 40 hit in 1986 with “Honestly” and toured the world many times over. They amassed a devoted fan base that relentlessly supported the band. Stryper set the standard, and their accomplishments have yet to be repeated by any other hard rock Christian band.
In February of this year, Stryper has released a CD called “The Covering.” This CD is unique, in that it features Stryper covering songs from bands such as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Ozzy. Not really something you would expect from a Christian rock band. But, Stryper has never played by the rules. And they made a great decision because the “The Covering” is receiving great reviews from fans and critics alike. In addition to the reworked cover songs, this CD also contains one original song entitled, “GOD,” which many are referring to as best Stryper song ever written.
Stryper is currently on tour in North America and will tour over in Europe starting in late May.
Recently, Michael Sweet contacted us here at RockMusicStar.com to discuss the recent happenings in the Stryper camp. Michael is one determined, focused, intense and passionate musician. He pulls no punches - with his music or discussing it. During this exclusive interview, Michael talks about the band’s decision to record the “The Covering” and much more.
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Gary Cherone is one of the greatest vocalists in rock and roll today. Consistently, overlooked and underrated, Cherone continues to write, record, and perform his own brand of melodic rock - virtually the same brew he has been perfecting, since hitting it big with Extreme, in 1989. It hasn't been an easy road for Gary, with Extreme disbanding in 1996 and getting an unfair shake as the singer for Van Halen in 1998, to steal a line from the latter VH, he's "roll(ed) with the punches" and has gotten "to what's real." Marching on through the times - from where straight ahead rock and roll was considered passe, to today's age of downloading, with artists having to reinvent the music industry 'wheel,' in order to continue making money from their craft, Gary Cherone continues to deliver great music, with 'real life' inspired lyrics.
From the somewhat quiet reunion of Extreme in 2007, Gary has decided to expand his musical horizons by starting a brand new band, Hurtsmile, with his brother Mark on guitar, and members Joe Pessia (bass) & Dana Spellman (drums). Ironically, not only is there the obvious relation between Gary and his brother Mark, but the entire Hurtsmile group, are a somewhat kindred spirit to Extreme. Mark Cherone played in a band with Nuno Bettencourt's brother, Joe actually played in Nuno's other band (Dramagods), and Dana was a music student of Extreme's former drummer, Mike Mangini.
While Hurtsmile is currently rehearsing, in anticipation of touring in support of their debut CD, Gary took some time out of his schedule to speak with us here, at RockMusicStar.com. Dicussing the past, present and future, Gary Cherone makes it perfectly clear that he is "More than Words."
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When I was given the task (although somewhat self-appointed) to conduct a Gwar interview for the site, I must say that I was pretty stoked, considering Gwar has become one of my favorite bands as of late. Initially, written off by many (including myself) as a 'joke band,' in 2002, Gwar recruited lead guitarist, Cory Smoot, and to an extent, the group was reborn. Smoot was not only brought in to play guitar (as the new Flattus Maximus character), but to also take over at the production helm. With their rejuvenated lineup, starting with 2004's "War Party," Gwar have proceeded to put out, arguably, the best work of their career. Still keeping their sick sense of humor, Gwar's musical integrity is no laughing matter.
The trend continues with 2010's "Bloody Pit of Horror," as Gwar keeps on destroying the planet earth, in the truest Scumdog fashion. Although our interview was scheduled with Gwar frontman Dave Brockie, little did I know that I would also be speaking with the true leader of Gwar, Oderus Urungus, who at times, took over the conversation, threatening my very existence.
Without further adieu, from the farthest regions of Antartica...
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Guitar superstar, Vivian Campbell, has had quite an impressive, 30 plus year career. The 48 year old guitarist grew up in Belfest, North Ireland during a time of great political unrest and violence. However, unlike some of his friends and classmates, Vivian decided not to get involved in "the cause," and decided instead, to focus his life on music. He formed the band Sweet Savage in the late 70's and had moderate success in Ireland and the UK. In 1983, Vivian was recruited by Ronnie James Dio for his then new band, DIO. While with DIO, Vivian become one of the most admired guitarists in rock music. He played with DIO until 1986. Vivian then hooked up with Whitesnake in 1987, and played on the bands most successful world tour ever.
In 1991, Vivian was again recruited, this time, by one of the biggest bands in the world, Def Leppard. Vivian was brought on board to replace guitarist Steve Clark, who passed away in January of 1991. Since then, Campbell has recorded five studio CDs with the band, and has toured the world countless times.
Recently, this year, while on break from Def Leppard, Vivian has joined up with his childhood heroes - Thin Lizzy. Vivian just completed a tour of Europe with Thin Lizzy, and will be playing a handful of East Coast dates with them later this month. After that, Vivian will return to Def Leppard for a massive summer tour with Heart. And Def Leppard will also be releasing a live CD package this summer, with three new studio tracks, called "Mirrorball."
In addition, Vivian has also reunited with the Riverdogs. The Riverdogs plan on releasing a brand new CD during the first half of this year. The release will be on MelodicRock records, which is owned by Melodicrock.com
Vivian was kind enough to call us here at RockMusicStar and discuss his time in Thin Lizzy, Def Leppard, DIO and much more. Here's what Vivian had to say
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