Michael Sweet of Stryper On Music, Salvation, And Becoming A Grandfather For The First Time

Michael Sweet is living an honest life. As the frontman for the Christian metal band Stryper, Michael has lived an incredible life—and is now sharing his experiences with the world. Read our celebrity interview with Michael Sweet, where he spoke exclusively with us about honesty, becoming a grandfather for the first time, and why you should never, ever be anyone’s suicide.

Let’s talk about your book, Honestly: My Life and Stryper Revealed.

The book has been 51 years in the making. It’s my life story and a lot of people asked me why now. Considering everything that I’ve been through, I felt like it was a good time to answer the questions I have been asked. I thought it could help other people who might be going through the same thing. From me getting arrested to losing my wife to cancer to getting remarried—all the things in between. At the end of the day, coming out of all those things, it has made me who I am today. I am very thankful for what I’ve been given—or not been given. I’m grateful to be still breathing and still singing.

How was the actual writing process?

It was tough. I walked the fine line of being brutally honest because that’s what I’m about. I didn’t want to hurt other people who were involved in the stories, though. The book went through so many versions; it is a hard process to write a book. I’m just glad that I had the opportunity to share my story and my life. I’ve got another 30-40 years on this earth, so maybe I will have more answers later.

I love the name of the new album, I’m Not Your Suicide.

The album and the book came out simultaneously. The album is called I’m Not Your Suicide. It means to not be anyone’s suicide. So often we take what someone says or does to us and break us, sometimes to the point of suicide. It breaks my heart; we all have something to offer and we are of value. I have felt it; I was bullied as a kid. I used to spend my days avoiding some kids so I wouldn’t get jumped. But music got me through; music saved me. As a band, we have touched and affected so many people and had I considered that, none of that would have happened. It’s tragic to me that people even consider that as an option. That’s why this is a song of encouragement.

There’s definitely the spiritual aspect of the band that has played through your whole life.

Absolutely. We grew up on the streets of L.A. We were doing drugs, alcohol, women, the typical stuff. I got sick and tired of it, and we all did. When we changed our lives and devoted our lives and band to God, we went through the little pokes from God. We saw things along the way to show us that we didn’t want to go down that path. We now share our path, our gift, and our calling with the world. Sometimes people don’t want to hear it. After all, the two most unpopular topics are politics and religion. There’s a terrible misconception that God doesn’t go with rock and roll, which is so untrue. We’ve been proving that wrong for 30+ years.

I would think that music makes God more accessible.

Everyone can relate to music. It’s very powerful, and it’s what we do. I love what I do. There are a lot of guys from my genre who can’t do it or don’t want to do it. The fact that we are still doing it, and that I still love it, is amazing. We all have our own journey, and we have to take it and run with it. People are quick to want you to live their journey. It doesn’t work that way. We tend to forget that.

Where do you see it going in the future?

I would love to continue writing, producing and performing. I am always writing songs in my head. Stryper has a new album out this year and we’re touring this year and next year as well. So for the next couple of years, it’s going to be coffee and music! [laughs]

How is it to balance family life and touring?

It’s really hard. When we were younger, we’d get on a tour bus and be gone for three months. It’s not like that now. We’re gone for two weeks—at the most. It’s a completely different type of touring. It’s really hard to leave home, even if it’s for two days. You feel like you’re missing those moments with your family — and you are. I love being around them, even if I am grumpy! [laughs]

Well, it’s hard because you miss your family when you’re doing the music, but then you miss the music when you’re with your family.

That’s so true. The music is such a part of me and I love both so much.

Do you incorporate music into the house? I am going to say no.

You know, you’re right, I don’t. The only time we have music playing is when we have people over, and then we’ll put the CD in or the radio on. That’s once a month, if that. I don’t listen to music often, because the only time I listen to music is if I’m working on a project. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing.

You just recently became a grandparent. How did you feel? Was it a bit of a mindbend?

Yeah, it was. I didn’t sit around and think that I was old, but I realized that life was going fast. My son is now 27 and my daughter is 23. They are four years apart, almost to the day. My son Mikey just had a baby, Knox. My kid is a great dad, and he and his wife are really great parents. It’s a reality check when you become a parent. That was my experience, too, when I became a parent.

You know, life is so short and we have to savor every moment and we have to use those moments to be joyful and happy. Seeing Mikey and Knox makes me realize that even more. I’m getting old but it drives me to take advantage of the time that I have in a good way. I’m still trying to figure things out though. And I’m still learning.

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