In a brand new interview with the "Appetite For Distortion" podcast, STRYPER frontman Michael Sweet praised the band's latest addition, bassist Perry Richardson, who joined STRYPER in the fall of 2017 as the replacement for longtime bassist Tim Gaines.
"First and foremost, we all know how talented Perry is," Michael said. "He came from the band FIREHOUSE and he's one of the best vocalists in the business in terms of harmonizing and background vocals, and one of the best bass players in the business. He's a real solid, in-the-pocket player. The rhythm section for our band and the vocals have gone up 10 notches. Some people might go, 'What? How can you say that?' Well, I can say that because it's true. Anybody that would argue with that hasn't seen or heard Perry play. Once you hear him, see him and meet him, anyone will say, 'Absolutely. Michael's right.' And second, and what's equally as important, maybe even more important, as a human being, he's probably one of the sweetest guys I've ever met. He's a team player. He is just a good, loving, sweet guy. He's always got a smile on his face, and that spreads. He's very happy here, and that spreads. People see that he's happy here. They don't look up on stage and see someone that's miserable, that's unhappy, that's just not enjoying being in the band. Perry loves being in this band, and he says it all the time — he's thankful to be in this band. And that goes a long way too. That's a really great thing to have. So he's brought peace to the band. Musically and spiritually, emotionally, he's brought peace to the band."
Gaines was fired from STRYPER in August 2017. The musician's exit from STRYPER had been rumored for months, ever since guitarist Oz Fox revealed that Tim was going through a divorce, forcing the group to take a hiatus and possibly consider a future without the bassist.
Gaines told KNAC.COM that "all hell broke loose" after he split up with his previous wife, "which is taboo as far as Christianity, I guess." He added: "I'm not the only guy in STRYPER to have gotten a divorce. Everybody in the band is married to divorced people. And I'm the bad guy, but everybody else has done it too, so? Whatever. Live in glass houses and everything will be exposed at some point or another."
A few days later, the remaining members of STRYPER released a statement denying that Gaines's divorce was a factor in their decision to part ways with the bassist and blaming Tim's "erratic and hostile behavior" for his dismissal from the group.
In an interview with music writer Joel Gausten, Sweet claimed that "things were going terrible" prior to Gaines's dismissal from the group. "It was a nightmare, to be honest," he said. "That was just based on a lot of stuff going on internally within the camp and whatnot — things that were being said online and done, tarnishing the brand and the name and all that stuff. It was a real bummer. We've parted ways; we let Tim go, and we really had no choice."