While both Dokken and Stryper worked LA’s Sunset Strip in the 80s, few would have bet money on Dokken’s shredmeister George Lynch going on to collaborate with Stryper’s Bible-distributing frontman Michael Sweet.
Recently the duo released their third album as Sweet & Lynch, Heart & Sacrifice. And below, Sweet tells us that music transcends all.
How do you see the vibe of your new album Heart & Sacrifice?
I think it’s a little heavier, with songs like Will It Ever Change and It Rains Again. Then you’ve got songs like You’ll Never Be Alone, with a Zeppelin-inspired riff, or Miracle, where you might hear a Van Halen vibe. Lyrically the songs are always about shining a light in the dark. World Full Of Lies is about being betrayed; you trusted someone who hit you over the head with a sledgehammer, but you’re not going to let it keep you in a hole.
You’re almost sixty. How are you still able to hit the high notes?
I choose my battles. I can’t hit ’em all, but I can hit some of them. When I’m recording I tend to have an easier go at it. My voice is not what it once was, but I still have enough of it to pull off what I need to accomplish.
Why do you and George click?
I think we respect each other. We grew up during the same era of music. We played in bands that were similar – y’know, melodic rock/metal. I was a big Dokken fan. George came when we played Arizona back in the eighties. We’re polar opposites in our beliefs – George is an atheist and I’m a Christian. You don’t get further away on the spectrum. But we’re proving to the world that even if you’re polar opposites, you can still work together.
It seems that a lot of people can be dismissive of eighties culture. What did you love about that era?
I think there was more talent. Some might say: “Ah, you’re getting old, it’s just you.” But I don’t believe that for one second. A lot of songs I hear nowadays are cookie-cutter and cliché. It’s far more difficult to come up with something original, that’s seven minutes long, with everyone ripping and shredding.
How much have you sacrificed to live this life?
When I break it down, a lot. But it’s what I chose to do, to be in a band [Stryper] that swims against the tide. In doing so we’ve been the brunt of many jokes, been disrespected, mocked and ridiculed. Had we not been lyrically a Christian band, we probably would have sold three times the albums we’ve sold today. But I would not change a thing. Because so many lives have been changed because of it.
What do people say your music has done for them?
People come up to me all the time and say: “I was holding a gun in my hand, ready to blow my brains out, then I heard this .” That says to me that this is more than just smoke and mirrors.
Styper were know for wearing yellow and black. How much of your wardrobe is yellow and black these days?
My wife and I share a walk-in closet, and if you go to my quarter of it you’re gonna see there is not one item that is yellow. On stage, that’s Stryper’s thing and people love it. But I don’t look good in yellow on the street. I’ve got lots of black, though.
Heart & Sacrifice is out now via Frontiers Records.