MICHAEL SWEET Says STRYPER Is Tuning Down Half Step To Accommodate His Aging Voice
June 2, 2022
Michael Sweet has admitted that he and his STRYPER bandmates no longer attempt to perform the group's songs in the original key.
In a social media post earlier today (Thursday, June 2),the 58-year-old guitarist/vocalist revealed that and the rest of STRYPER played their music on the band's just-completed U.S. tour a half step down to accommodate his aging voice.
He wrote: "I was always proud of the fact that we were one of the few bands that didn't tune down from our original tuning. We've always tuned to E flat (VH tuning) and did up until now. The last few years I've noticed that it's been - little tougher hitting the high notes. And to sing a 21 song set (for all of us) was getting a little harder as well. So, I reached out to @kipwinger and @snareco1 and asked them what they tuned to these days and they both texted back 'D'. I told Kip I felt like a cop out tuning down a half a step and he said 'screw that, you'll gain 10 years on your singing career'.
"So, we finally dropped down a half step (D) and I have found that it's not only much easier to hit the 'high' notes but it's just much easier to sing these songs.
"We did an 18 show run and I made it through without any vocal issues. I was able to retain my range and high end and sing much more consistently night after night.
"I'm a different singer these days (I'll be 59 in July) but I'm very thankful that I still get to do what I love to do - play and sing!
"I hope you all enjoyed the tour and I look forward to next time".
Sweet's post was met with a largely positive response from his fans and social media followers, including FOZZY singer Chris Jericho, who wrote: "Nobody cares! You sound AMAZING man and that’s all that matters!!"
Three years ago, IRON MAIDEN's Bruce Dickinson said that he takes pride in the fact that he and his bandmates perform their songs in the original key. "We don't detune, like some other people do," he said. "We don't do any of that. I suppose if one day we have to, we have to, but we don't have to do it now, and I think the songs sound better as a result of it. They're meant to be played in that key."
Back in 2014, QUEENSRŸCHE's Todd La Torre said that the fact that he sings the band's songs in their original key is one of the reasons he has been able to win over so many of the QUEENSRŸCHE fans following the departure of original frontman Geoff Tate.
"We don't drop-tune," he said. "When I first got in the band, [the other guys in QUEENSRŸCHE] said, 'Hey, if you want us to tune down a half a step, if it's easier for you, don't be afraid to ask us.' And I said, 'No. I wanna do this the best way that I can to represent the songs the way that they really go, and if it's a struggle for me, I just have more work to do for me. But let me keep trying to do this.' So I think the fact that those old songs weren't being played [in the last few years with Geoff in the band]… I mean, some of them were played, but a lot of times they were tuned down or songs were not played in their entirety, like 'Roads To Madness'; we play that song in its entirety. We play 'NM 156' in its entirety. And those fans, they really love hearing that. So the fact that that wasn't happening, and then when I came into the band, it started happening, it really kind of made it easier, I think, for fans to kind of rally around and go, 'Awesome!'"
STRYPER recently completed recording its new album for a tentative summer 2022 release via Frontiers Music Srl. The follow-up to 2020's "Even The Devil Believes" LP was once again recorded at SpiritHouse Recording Studios in Northampton, Massachusetts.
STRYPER and Frontiers originally joined forces in 2013 for the release of "Second Coming", an album comprised of new recordings of 14 songs from the band's early years, as well as two brand new songs. What followed has been a string of critically and commercially successful studio albums, including "No More Hell To Pay" (2013),"Fallen" (2015),"God Damn Evil" (2018) and "Even The Devil Believes" (2020). Additionally, a live album and long-form video, "Live At The Whisky" (2014) was made available. Every one of the albums released on Frontiers in the past nine years has successfully charted on the Billboard 200 chart and topped the Hot 100, Rock, Hard Rock, Current and Christian Music album charts.
STRYPER is one of the most well-known metal bands to emerge from the fertile '80s metal renaissance over three decades ago. The band first landed on the global scene in 1984 and and is responsible for such classic '80s metal albums as "Soldiers Under Command", "To Hell With The Devil" and "In God We Trust" and hit singles/videos such as "Calling On You", "Free" and "Honestly". To date, the band has sold upwards of eight million records worldwide and is a Dove Award winner and Grammy nominee. STRYPER was also the first band to have two songs in MTV's "Top 10 Video Countdown" simultaneously.
After being on a hiatus for much of the '90s, STRYPER returned stronger than ever in the early 21st century. Musically, the band has progressed and grown their fan base steadily and continuously, being one of the few "classic" metal bands of the '80s that managed to keep themselves front and center thanks to the consistency of their musical output.
Michael is joined in STRYPER by his brother Robert Sweet (drums),Oz Fox (guitars) and Perry Richardson (bass).
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