STRYPER guitarist Oz Fox has praised his bandmate Michael Sweet as a "creative" leader who "has an endless supply of music to offer us as a band as well as the rest of the world."
Fox, who recently found himself in a war of words with STRYPER's former bassist Tim Gaines over the latter's departure from the openly Christian band, made his latest comments in a Facebook message where he also hailed Sweet's wife and STRYPER's manager, Lisa, as "trustworthy and fair."
Oz wrote: "I'm happy to be in a band where one of our members is so creative that he has an endless supply of music to offer us as a band as well as the rest of the world. Some people have that kind of gift and others not so much. Me being the latter, but I've always been good with that. My passion, when it comes to music, is to be more of a knowledgeable, seasoned guitar player and precise backup singer.
"It is also a huge blessing to have a trustworthy and fair manager that I can always rely on to take care of everything that we need. She never misses a thing and cares about us enough to always help keeps us in check for our own good.
"I also like to be part of a team. In a team, there are varied strengths and specialized gifts throughout the members and together a harmonious product or goal is achieved. No one is better than the other. It's the combination of how it all works… In other words, the chemistry.
"Then there are the times when things go wrong. When that happens my opinion is it's best to go back to the drawing board and find a new way. Learn from the mistakes. Fall forward. If you are a strong person, failure makes you stronger. If you are a true surrendered Christian, you have faith that God will take care of you through it. There is no need to worry, complain or hate. Going down that path only proves that you really do not have faith. You are not truly surrendered. And the world will see right through it.
"We all have our faults. We all have skeletons in the closet. I, for one, have a garage full of bones! Should I share details about that to the rest of the world? No, no one should have to. That is why we have counselors available to us. They help us, in private, to figure out how to get our paths straight. They help us not to be miserable people. I have about a dozen men in my life that are mentors. People that I can always trust to give me the best advice I can get. I do not take their advice for granted. I listen and try to apply best I can. If I didn't do that it would be so disrespectful to them. And I absolutely do not want to do that to my best friends."
Fox, who is married to Annie Lobért, a former prostitute and founder of the international Christian ministry Hookers For Jesus, continued: "I'm very blessed to have a wife who believes in me. Her heart is so selfless. She learned how to break free of her demons from the past and now her heart is filled with the love of Christ. She works six days a week helping others and hardly ever gets vacation time. Then comes home and tries to pay attention to me best she can. Not that I need attention but I love her for being the way she is.
"My relationship with God has never been better and he knows and cares about every situation in my life. Surrendering my life to him has been the best thing I've ever done. I have total peace and I never am without. When I need to do something, he opens the doors. When it's time to move on, he closes the doors. It's that simple! Psalm 23 becomes so real to me in his presence. This is not something I am posting to imply anything other than to say that I am truly blessed."
A short time later, Sweet shared Fox's Facebook message along with the following coment: "And this is why Oz is a friend, a brother, a bandmate and a confidant. I'd trust Oz with my life and I'm honored and blessed to be in a band with him. A true 'team' player. Here's to 34 more, Oz."
Gaines has been active on social media, where he has repeatedly stood up to his former bandmates. In one recent post, he denied being responsible for his exit from the band, saying that the problem was Oz "not having the balls to stand up for [his] brother," apparently referring to himself. He added, addressing the guitarist directly: "The real sad part is that you allowed it to happen. You handed everything to your leader. He controls you. Sad that you have no control over your own destiny. You are pathetically fucked."
STRYPER is putting the finishing touches on its follow-up to 2015's "Fallen" album for a tentative April 2018 release via Frontiers Music Srl. The effort will be the band's first since the addition of former FIREHOUSE bassist Perry Richardson.