At the age of 5, Michael Sweet picked up a guitar, and has yet to put it down. From that point forward, music has always been an intrinsic part of this native Californian s life, leading him on a circuitous journey that most recently took a detour to BOSTON. Born into a musical family, both of Sweet s parents and sister were singers, his brother a drummer. Michael picked up bass, drums and piano along the way in this household that often had some sort of jam session going on. He remembers, We were raised around music, it s all I've ever lived with. My father loved music and was always playing records on the turntable. He had wide variety...stuff like Pavarotti, Buck Owens, Aerosmith, and Credence Clearwater Revival. These diverse influences helped shape Michael as a versatile vocalist, singing everything from power ballads to belting out primal screams.
Michael and his brother started a band as teenagers, Roxx Regime, a moniker that soon morphed into Stryper. As part of the emerging music scene out of LA during the 80 s, Stryper was a fixture on the Sunset Strip, opening for bands like Ratt, Motley Crue, and Bon Jovi, and initiating the first Christian Metal band into the mainstream, where bands like White Lion and Metallica opened for them. With 7 releases, over 10 million albums sold, gold and platinum status acquired, and filling stadiums as distant as Japan, Stryper was a success story by most anyone s standards. In 1992, Sweet began to work on his solo projects.
In the mid- 90 s, MIcheal and his wife, son and daughter switched coasts, moving from Orange County to Massachusetts Cape Cod, where Sweet worked for a time as a park ranger at his father s-in-law campground. Most days were spent writing songs in his head while working out in the cranberry bogs, nights were spent recording the day s mental notes. I literally put my blood, sweat and tears into my music during that time, he says, adding, I ll always be writing music. My mind and my heart are always in that mode, driving in the car, walking the dog, whatever I m doing, there s a melody constantly in my head. I don t think I ll ever lose that. To date, he has released six solo efforts, to critical acclaim. BOSTON was a powerful influence to Michael in his own musical evolution. He recalls, When recording, I began layering guitar tracks and vocal tracks and eventually moved into harmony solos as well. One of my all time favorite guitar solos (and one of my favorite songs) is "Hitch a Ride. I used to play it over and over again trying to soak it all in. Looking back now and having been a part of writing and recording my own music for the past 30 years, I understand the work that went in to crafting and recording the BOSTON material and it makes me respect it all the more.
In 2005, after a 15-year recording sabbatical, Stryper released another album followed by a tour, aptly named, Reborn. Michael also continued to work on his own projects. Gary and Tom met Michael when he was invited to come perform at the Brad Delp tribute in 2007, and an instant kinship was born between them. They were impressed with not only Michael s character and his voice, but also with his style of guitar playing. Tom says, At our very first get-together, all of the songs that Gary and I played with him sounded better than they ever had before! Sweet reminisces, "I remember when I heard BOSTON for the first time - I was 13. I was at a point in my life where music was such a powerful expression for me, I knew I wanted to make music for the rest of my life. When I heard the guitar tones, the vocals, the structure of each song on the first BOSTON release, it influenced my writing and my quest for the ultimate guitar tone.
Performing at the tribute was an incredible experience for Michael. He says, It was a true blessing. The love and support for Brad was an inspiration to everyone involved. It was an honor for me to personally be a part of that, a fond memory that I will never forget. Now to be a part of a BOSTON tour, a band that was such a part of my musical education, and to call them friends, is truly remarkable!"