STRYPER vocalist Michael Sweet recently spoke with Australia's Heavy magazine about his upcoming solo acoustic tour of the continent. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On his motivation to embark on the tour:
Michael: "It's always that fine line when you're in a band of crossing the line — going out and doing solo dates and solo projects. I never want to detract from or take away from STRYPER, obviously — that's my priority — but that being said, it's always exciting for me to go out and do things in a unique way, a different way. Everybody is used to the loud amps and the rock show, which is great. Not to take anything away from that, but there's something to be said for an intimate, personable set as well, [where] it's just a guy up there with his guitar telling stories about the songs and showing people how the songs originated. Most of the songs that you hear on STRYPER albums and Michael Sweet albums, they started out on an acoustic guitar back when I wrote them, so it's nice to be able to present that. It's nice to be able to reach out and high-five people and stop during the song and talk. It's almost like I'm in my living room with my family, and everybody's hanging out."
On whether he prepares for acoustic performances differently:
Michael: "I won't lie — it's definitely a little bit nerve-racking. Performing with STRYPER is sometimes, too, because if the nerves don't kick in, then something's wrong. I like to be a little nervous before a show, and that's a good thing. That being said, it's a different type of nervousness with the acoustic set, and what it is, is there's nothing to hide behind. There's no drums; there's no loud amps; there's no harmonies; there's no cheering crowd screaming at the top of their lungs. It's a totally different setting. I'm under the microscope much more."
On preparing material for such shows:
Michael: "Sometimes, the songs you don't think will work work perfectly, and sometimes, the songs you think will work don't work at all. I've had people yell out 'To Hell With The Devil' or 'Soldiers Under Command' or 'Loud And Clear', and my first reaction is, 'That won't work,' but then I do it and try it, and those are some of the best songs in the acoustic set... I certainly don't want to bore people. I don't want to be redundant, repetitive and play the same things over and over again, but at the same time, I want to give people what they expect, but I also want to give them what they don't expect."
On his forthcoming solo album, "Ten":
Michael: "It's a perfect, ideal follow-up to 'One Sided War'. Anybody who liked 'One Sided War', they're going to love 'Ten'... On this album, I've got a different guitar player on every song. I'm playing all the rhythms and a few solos myself, but I've also got Gus G. on a track; I've Jeff Loomis of ARCH ENEMY; I've got Andy James, Rich Ward of FOZZY, Tracii Guns of L.A. GUNS... It really shaped up to be pretty much a guitar shred-fest, but in a really cool way. The songs are all very melodic — what people want to hear from Michael Sweet — but at the same time, there's some incredible guitar-playing on this album."
On the logistics of making an album featuring so many different musicians:
Michael: "It didn't really change the way I recorded the album. It did make it a little bit more complicated, because I had 10 guys to send tracks to, and then to coordinate them recording their parts according to their schedules. That got tricky — that got very tricky — but it all worked out. We were waiting for a few of the guitar parts right up to the day that we were mixing those songs. It's just the way it had to be and the way it worked out, but it worked out. I listen to the album now, and it's really interesting, because it really flows incredibly well. You would think that everybody was in the same room recording at the same time."
Sweet's three-date Australian acoustic tour begins in Sydney on November 14.
"Ten", Sweet's tenth solo album, will be released on October 11 via Rat Pak Records in North America and Frontiers Music Srl in Europe.