STRYPER guitarist Oz Fox was interviewed on the newly launched "The Liquid Conversations" podcast hosted by Aaron Nordstrom of GEMINI SYNDROME and Boston radio veteran Shawn SixX. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABERMOUTH.NET).
On whether STRYPER's Christian faith and believing in God is what has kept the band together more than three decades:
Oz: "I totally think that that's the reason. Believe me, there were many times that I felt I just didn't wanna be a part of it anymore, but I had to sit down and really… Well, I have a network of, let's say they are like mentors — other men that are very strong in their faith that are trust and are really good friends, and I can always toss my thoughts by them, and they can always give me good, reasonable advice. And the times that I've felt like I didn't wanna do it anymore or [I wanted to] quit or stop doing it or whatever, when I was really upset about something, a lot of those guys put me in my place, and basically it got me to realize that I was in STRYPER for a reason, and it wasn't because of the reasons of myself or any one guy in the band — it was because I have a purpose there, I have a calling. So that's kept me in the band all this time. We wouldn't have these albums we have now because of it."
On bassist Tim Gaines's recent acrimonious exit from STRYPER:
Oz: "I have to be careful what I say, but listen, people get mad and they get angry and they say stuff, and that's all there is to it. And I still love Timmy very much — I care about him. I'm really bummed out that it ended up the way it did. So what else can I say? I can't really say much, because I can't talk about it. But he was with the band for a long time, and I was in another band with him before that, during the time we weren't together as STRYPER. And, you know, when things go wrong, then you have to kind of pick up the pieces and keep moving, and he's doing that in his own life. It sounds like he's moving on, which is great. And we've gotta do that — that's the way it is in this world. And if it means that I have to take some hits because somebody's angry, I guess I've gotta take some hits — I mean, not physically, but, you know…"
On the difficulty of keeping the same band lineup together for a long period of time:
Oz: "When you've got guys in the band, and some of them are more creative than others, or some of them wanna be more involved in something than others, and then it doesn't go that way, then they butt heads and they start arguing. There's so many different reasons why bands break up — I mean, it could be drugs, somebody being an addict and just not showing up enough. So what are you gonna do? You can only do the best you can to keep a unit together and then when somebody is not in the same stream as everything else is going, then you've gotta make decisions, especially if they're putting a big block in the middle of that stream."
Gaines's departure from STRYPER had been rumored for months, ever since 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 in August 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.
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.