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Stryper is a Christian Rock Band!

posted by Douglas Howe

stryper_idol.jpgAre there any Stryper fans out there? Or ex-Stryper fans? I’ll bet there are very few new Stryper fans, but I think I’m one of ‘em, and you will be too if you pick up their new release, “Stryper—The Roxx Regime Demos.”
Stryper, if you’ve never heard of them, was one of the most pioneering rock bands of the ’80’s. The reason you’ve probably never heard of them is that they were doing Christian rock during a time when people still considered it a contradiction in terms. These guys were a “hair band,” with the look of groups like Poison, Warrant, Dokken or maybe Motley Crue, but they might as well have been KISS to the millions of Christian parents who couldn’t handle the look back then. Stryper sought to “minister” to the kind of young people who liked the hard rock culture but weren’t into lyrics about Satan, death, sex, violence, and the like.


Due to both their look and their lyrics, I wasn’t remotely interested in anything they did, but found myself curious when their demo came across our Beliefnet desk. Their current CD has an intriguing story to it: Back before the brand managers and industry insiders got ahold of Stryper and influenced their look and sound, they were called “Roxx Regime,” and this album is a non-over-dubbed, non-re-recorded disc full of their original demos. Their tunes are vibrant and the music is not nearly as fluffy as, well, their old hairstyles.
From Wrong to Right” sounds as if Def Leopard could have covered it; “My Love I’ll Always Share” could have been a Journey song; “Co’Mon Rock” hints of The Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz”; “You Won’t Be Lonely” would be a fine opener for a Styx or REO Speedwagon concert. And “Honesty” pre-dated many of the power ballads that almost every secular band included in their sets.
Stryper had a relevant sound back then that I never really knew about. The band may not have been playing in our CDs, tapes, or 8-tracks, but it’s worth a listen now, especially for a person of faith. “No matter how we look, we always praise His name,” says one song. “If you believe, you should do the same.”
There are probably some cheesy Christians from my younger days that would make me laugh to hear it now, but Stryper’s message and their music–at least during the raw Roxx Regime days–was good then and endures decently well today. And for those who’ve always loved the band, this album will be an added nostalgic treat.



  • Jill

    I’ve heard of them, and remember all the fuss over them back at the height of their popularity. My question is, did it really make anyone my age at the time (I was not quite 20 then) any more likely to embrace their faith by saying, “Wow! These guys are awesome! And they’re Christian,too!” ?? I thought they were an interesting curiosity, nothing more, although some of my younger co-workers at the time thought they were wonderful. I *might* have been attracted to the sound more than the message but I never have been a big fan of heavy metal.
    I also agree that they sounded like a lot of the heavy metal groups back at the time without having all the negative press surrounding their image. Good for them. I’m still not interested in their music but that’s my choice.

  • Bridget Hylak

    Loved ‘em back then, was so inspired and strengthened in my faith during college by their music and their image (made those of us in the campus **God squad** somehow less criticized), and I have already shared their music with my pre-teen kids — who LOVE it and have shared it with friends at school.

  • kyle

    I love these guys, I was born in 1980 and didn’t really get into them until I was in college in the late 90’s. They have some pretty catchy and funny lyrics as well. Listen to “To Hell with the Devil”

  • trish

    Remember them? I love them! I not only did I have the pleasure of seeing them in concert five times but after the second time seeing them I was able to go backstage and talk with them face to face. From that conversation Stryper & I ended becoming pen pals of sorts and corresponded over a 6 year period, primarily with Oz Fox, up until I moved and lost contact. The craziest part is that I’m not a Christian! We often discussed religion and human spirituality. They are very intelligent and well versed in many faiths. Yes, they would occasionally ask me if I had come to accept Jesus as my Saviour. Although my answer never changed I still respected them and adored them because they respected me and my beliefs. I have kept their positive influence alive by being true to myself. Everybody thought they were nuts for loving God & heavy music but they proved you can to do both and did it very well. Stryper rocks!

  • Eric

    I was an 80’s metal head! Long hair, leather jacket, earrings, boots, the whole bit. When Stryper came out, the were such a breath of fresh air to those of us who loved metal, but hated what most of it was preaching! They may not have been the best, but they paved the way for bands of today that are reaching teens and people with the message of the gospel that may not hear it any other way. Where would CCM be with out Randy Stonehill, Mylon LeFever, and Keith Green? Stryper did for metal what they did for CCM. Today’s Christian Metal bands are touring and playing with mainline secular bands and reaching those people and the kids with the message of Christ. To put it bluntly, they go to the leper colonies! Thank you Stryper for what you did. Great is your reward!

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