Michael Harrison Sweet (born July 4, 1963) is a singer from Whittier, California; he is the co-founder, writer, lead guitarist, lead singer and front man of the Christian metal band Stryper. He was also singer and guitarist for Boston from 2007 to 2011.
Sweet performing with Boston, June 13, 2008 in Hinckley, MN
|Birth name||Michael Harrison Sweet|
|Born||July 4, 1963|
Whittier, California, U.S.
|Origin||Orange County, California|
|Genres||Christian rock, Christian metal, hard rock, glam metal|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, singer-songwriter, record producer|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano|
|Associated acts||Stryper, Boston, Sweet & Lynch|
In the early 1980s, Sweet and his brother started a band called Roxx Regime and played in small venues. They were a trio for a period of time with Sweet being the only guitar player in the band. This band would later become Stryper. The band challenged the stereotype of heavy metal being satanic and took Christian rock into mainstream.
With the band, Sweet was not only the lead vocalist and shared lead guitar duties, but he also wrote most of the music for the band as well as co-producing and arranging the music. The band recorded five successful studio albums. The band's reputation declined in the 1990s.
After nine years as the lead singer/lead guitarist of Stryper, Sweet left the band in 1992 in order to pursue a solo career. He first released a demo album titled Unstryped, which featured several songs allegedly intended for the band. Sweet later included some of these on his first full-length album.
His self-titled debut album was released in 1994 and sold over 250,000 copies. He followed it with a slightly softer album titled Real in 1996 earning him a Dove Award nomination. Soon after the release of Real, Sweet left Benson Records, with whom he had released the two albums.
During this time, Sweet and his wife Kyle moved to Massachusetts, where Sweet worked at his father-in-law's campground/cranberry business, Maple Park. In 1998, he released an independent demo album titled Truth which received critical acclaim. He was signed to Restless Records and re-released Truth in 2000 with a new song-list and new artwork.
On August 19, 2007, Sweet was asked by Boston's Tom Scholz to be one of the lead singers and guitarists for Come Together: A Tribute to the Life of Brad Delp at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston. Tom Scholz then asked Sweet to join Boston for the band's summer 2008 tour with Styx as the opening act.
Sweet performed lead vocals, background vocals, and guitar work for Boston. Sweet was asked to be a part of what was supposed to be Boston's last performance on August 19, 2007. It was a benefit/tribute show and names such as Sammy Hagar, Mickey Thomas and Ann Wilson were among the invited guests. Tom Scholz was moved by what Sweet had written about the late Brad Delp and then heard Sweet sing and play guitar. Scholz was so impressed with Sweet's talents that he invited him to join the band and become a permanent member. Boston began booking a tour for 2008 with Styx as the opening act. Sweet handled lead vocals on roughly half of the set list and played guitar for the entire set and handled solo work as well. In August 2011, it was announced that Sweet had left Boston to focus on his priorities and contributions to Stryper.
In 1999, Sweet reunited with former Stryper bandmates Oz Fox and Tim Gaines during a concert in Puerto Rico. The concert featured Fox and Gaines's band, SinDizzy. Sweet was invited as a solo artist. The three of them got together for a set of four songs. The next year, the first Stryper Expo was held in New Jersey and the entire line-up was reunited again.
Although original bassist Tim Gaines left the group in 2005 and was replaced by Tracy Ferrie, the band has continued to work together, releasing a new album titled Reborn, produced by Sweet. However, he has continued with his solo career as well. In August 2006, he released a solo album titled Him which features traditional hymns re-written and arranged by Sweet. The band then released the album Murder by Pride, produced by Sweet in July 2009.
The death of Sweet's wife, Kyle, was announced on March 5, 2009, after her two-year battle with ovarian cancer. During 2007 Sweet released an album called Touched in honor of Kyle.
In September 2009, Stryper embarked on its 25th anniversary world tour, "Rocking the Hell Out of You for 25 years" with the original members. The tour included two opening bands: Manic Drive and Flight Patterns, the latter which includes Sweet's son, Michael Sweet, Jr.
On February 15, 2011 Stryper released a new record entitled The Covering, produced by Sweet.
In 2013 Stryper released two studio albums called Second Coming and No More Hell to Pay via Frontiers Records. They released a live album/DVD, Stryper: Live at the Whiskey, recorded in 2013 at the Whiskey A Go Go on the Sunset Strip recorded from November 2013. Sweet has also worked with Lynch Mob founder and ex-Dokken member, George Lynch on recording an album called Only to Rise in a supergroup that they are both in called Sweet & Lynch. Sweet discussed the group on Eddie Trunk Podcast dated February 4, 2015. The group also consists of ex-White Lion and ex-Megadeth member James LoMenzo on bass, and ex-Whitesnake and ex-Foreigner member Brian Tichy on drums. Only to Rise was released on January 27, 2015.
During an interview with Antihero Magazine in November 2016, Sweet confirmed that he is recording another Sweet & Lynch album titled Unified which released November 2017. Since then, Sweet has gone on record stating Sweet & Lynch may have run its course citing Lynch's hands in many different projects has not allowed them to tour to promote the albums, the way Sweet would have liked, and he feels he has to do most of the promoting himself.
Sweet met his wife Kyle while making Stryper's first video. They were married for 22 years and had two children together. In 2009, Kyle died after a two-year battle with cancer.