The NSO/Robert Sweet Interview

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1/23/00 I had the pleasure of talking to Robert Sweet on Monday the 10th of January, 2000. Robert's record company, World Gone Mad, has been keeping him really busy with special engagements and appointments. As a matter of fact, this interview was originally to take place on 12/10/99, but had to be re-scheduled a few times for obligations that World Gone Mad committed Robert to at the last minute.  Dispite Robert's busy schedule we finaly hooked up and he shared his heart and gave some insight on his first solo release album, "Love Trash". This interview is also the featured February 2000 Christian Music article at suite101.com. You may click the Robert Sweet-NSO icon above to hear the interview in Real AudioDano 

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MIDI is from the CCM MIDI MeGa SiTe. Just left click on MIDI title to play a selection...To save MIDI to your computer, right click on MIDI title. A menu will pop up. Select SAVE LINK AS (in Netscape) or SAVE TARGET (in MSIE).
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Background midi playing: 
In God We Trust
StryperStryperStryperStryperMichael SweetMichael SweetSinDizzyRobert Sweet
In God We TrustHonestlyHonestly2Shining StarReal#1Real#2He's Not DeadA Robert Sweet midi may be coming! 

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Robert: Yeah my Record Company is called World Gone Mad, and Iím their first artist, so thereís a lot of times where things will happen spur of the moment and this was one of those things. Sometimes it doesnít leave me a lot of time to maneuver and figure out what Iím gonna do.
Dano: RightÖ
Robert: But Iím glad it worked out anyways.
Dano: Amen.
(NOTEÖThe preceding was about it took a long time to get together for this interview. His Record Company had arranged some spur of the moment engagements that postponed this, and it would have been delayed again tonight because World Gone Mad had arranged another last minute appointment.)
Dano: Well...So youíre their first artist, huh?
Robert: Yes
Dano: Cause I was gonna say, I never heard of that Record Company before.
Robert: Yeah, theyíre brand new.
Dano: OK, and they are putting out your new CD ďLove TrashĒ?
Robert: Yes
Dano: All right, well tell me a little bit about the CD Robert. Is it out yet?
Robert: All the recording is done. What I did isÖ I went in and I only had a week to record. I played all theÖA lot of people just view me pretty much as a drummerÖIím just as much of a song writer as I am a drummer. Most people never really knew that. On this record I wrote it all, I produced it, I played all the guitars, all the bass, all the drums, and I brought in a singer to sing the stuff. I was going to try to sing it myself, but I found myself in an impossible situation of way too much to do. If you can imagine doing in one week 8 drum tracks, 8 bass tracks, and 48 guitar tracks.
Dano: WowÖ
Robert: You know while working with two engineers and producing it. I got the idea for ďLove TrashĒÖa lot of people have heard that and thought what in the world does that mean? They thought that with almost every Stryper record also. I named all the Stryper records, so there is definitely a meaning behind it.
Dano: And the meaning isÖ
Robert: A long time ago somebody said to me that the love that we represented, referring to Jesus was trash. And that always stuck in my mind. And so I coupled the two words together and you know Iíve seen so many of the Hollywood marriages fall apart, you know, like you see in the Enquirer, you see people who one minute theyíre all in love, then three months or four months later theyíre getting a divorce, at one minute itís love then the next minute itís like trash, something you threw away. So even though I took lyrically a more light handed approach at it. That was the basis behind it.
Dano: OKÖ
Robert: Was about how love just seems to be thrown away so easily. But what I didnít want to do with this new record, I didnít want it to sound like a Stryper record, because Stryper is a specialty. Itís in and of itself.
Dano: YeahÖ
Robert: Itís something that you just donít go around trying to duplicate it because itís really special. And I think a lot of people might misinterpret if they hear this record and they donítÖI think a lot people are expecting it to be a Stryper record but unfortunately it canít be. Stryperís special. This is a Robert Sweet record and the basis of all the meaning is the same thing. I really try to structure the meaning of what I wrte to somehow be something good and to mean something good. But I felt like I couldnít come out and have a serious ďAccept JesusĒ kind of record because thatís just something you canít do assembly line, you know?
Dano: So, youíd say that your spiritual life does affect the lyrical content of your songs?
Robert: Well, absolutely. I mean, thatís where your lyrics come from, is from your spirit.
Dano: Uh huh, yep.
Robert: I mean, you know, I feel personally that behind all the arts, whether itís painting, whether itís acting, whether itís music, whether itís writing, whether itís poetry, a book. This is something that is coming out of the inner man thatís in you. Thatís how I believe. I donít think itís a brain thing, I think itís a soul thing. In everything that I do, you knowÖ Itís Robert Sweet, itís got my thing on it because Iím the one doing it so it has my personality mixed in with it, but itís also because I am a Christian and because I feel the way I do about Christ. Thatís the under-tone of it. But I donít always want it to sound necessarily Christian, even though it is. Because I donít want to do what a lot of other Christian bands do, and that was the beauty of Stryper, and thatís what I wanted to do when Stryper was formed back in 83. I wanted to get something out there in this world where people wouldnít think of it as Christian Music and throw it away before they even listen it.
Dano: Right
Robert: And unfortunately that happens a lot in this world, and again thatís what I wanted to do on my Love Trash Record. For example thereís a song called ďThe F WordĒ.  And what Iím saying is the F word is forgiveness.
Dano: AhhhÖAwesome (laughs)
Robert: And see, most people donít take that approach, itís either the F word is something sexual, or lets figure out a nice Gospel way of saying forgiveness. But thatís not really me. Thatís what was cool about Stryper. It was able to come out and be something so bold...I guess, if thatís the terminology. It was pretty much in your face for Jesus, but at the same time it was total Rock and Roll.
Dano: Oh yeahÖIt ministered to both the unsaved and the saved.
Robert: you know, if it never touched anybody who wasnít a Christian, Iíd be failing at what Iím supposed to do.
Dano: Right
Robert: you know, I think a lot of Christian Bands have almost lost the understanding of what that is. For example if you work at the bank and youíre a Christian teller. If youíre a teller, you donít do an altar call to everybody who comes up to the window to make a withdrawal. You be the best example you can be and you do what you can, but your there to do what you do, thatís your job. A lot of times I think the Christian musician has been put at an unfair position in the realm of Christian music. Let me give you an example. Christian actors, they are in the arts, but they are not held up to the standard that Christian musicians are. They are allowed to go play a Christian, they can go play the part of someone who is not a Christian or he can go play something that is completely the opposite to what Christianity is and thatís viewed as OK because heís an actor. But if the Christian musician sings or does something that doesnít quite sound Christian. A lot of times got a lot of pressure put on him or her by the church because they feel like well, your not doing what youíre suppose to do. And thatís really unfair.
Dano: Well we get to where itís Christians preaching to Christians and you know weíre suppose to go out to the world it says.
Robert: Right
Dano: It doesnít say to preach to someone thatís already saved.
Robert: Exactly, and plus hereís another kind of façade too, musicians arenít preachers. If they were they would be in a pulpit. I think a tragedy thatís happened here that youíve had a lot of pastors who have said, ďno, as a musician youíre a preacherĒ. No, thatís not true. Thatís like saying, ďno, because youíre a preacher youíre a musicianĒ, thatís definitely not true, right?
Dano: Right
Robert: Well the Christian musician is not necessarily a preacher. Heís a musician whoís a Christian. A lot of times it has gotten so convoluted and mixed up that the church has ended up being against Christian music because it hasnít fallen into the way that a church would operate. Thatís something that we faced in Stryper quite a lot, was churches would get angry with us, ďWell why arenít you doing an altar callĒ? or ďwhy arenít you presenting yourself more like how a church would do it?Ē or ďwhy arenít you presenting yourself more like in a religious way?Ē  Well, because thatís not what we do.
Dano: Right
Robert: And I think thatís kind of a tragedy because itís diluted the power that God gives the musician. you know, and itís kinda made the Church and the Christian Musician kinda look silly at times. I think thatís changing. I know a long time ago it was really bad. I donít think itís quite that way anymore, cause I think a lot of people have kinda realized how silly it is. As a musician you write the songs that you feel. If youíre a Christian and youíre a musician you write the songs that you feel and you try do your very best to live your life and do what you feel the Lord is pointing you towards to do.
Dano: Right, I agree.
Robert: Many are called but few are chosen. I mean just because somebodyís a Christian musician doesnít mean theyíre a preacher.
Dano: Right, They are preaching a message through their music. No matter whoís doing the music, thereís people listening and taking it in. I mean you look at these satanist bands that are going around. And the kids they get into that music and start doing crazy things because they listen to thatÖ
Robert: SureÖ
Dano: Itís just like if they listen to the good stuffÖ
Robert: Well, the music is definitely an influence, absolutely. But I donít really know if because somebody is singing something if theyíre preaching it.
Dano: Itís two different things, but in a way itís somewhat of the same. you know what I mean?
Robert: I think a lot of times musicians donít realize how powerful their message is.
Dano: Yeah
Robert: But because they donít realize that, it doesnít necessarily mean that theyíre preaching. A lot of, yet, maybe a lot times people look at them like they are, when theyíre really not. But I agree with you on the fact that it is a big influence. I think a lot of Christian bands, they need to understand what an influence they are.
Dano: Yeah.
Robert: But I think sometimes when the Christian musician is put in the position ofÖOKÖyour preaching to people through your songs. ManÖthatís scary.
Dano: Like you saidÖIt does influence people.
Robert: Yeah
Dano: Well, speaking of influence, who was your biggest influence musically?
Robert: Oh gosh manÖ
Dano: Then weíll tie it up with whoís your biggest influence spiritually also.
Robert: Well, musically, Iím kinda one of these guys who I like a lot of different stuff. I grew up listening to stuff from anything from KISS to Zeppelin, to Aerosmith, to many of these.
Dano: Same thing I grew up with.
Robert: Yeah, exactly. I didnít really grow up listening to a lot of Christian music because it really wasnít in the mainstream, you know, when I was a teenager or in my early twenties. Christian music hadnít really evolved into what it is today. But, Iím a guy who listens to all kinds of music. you know I enjoy everything from heavy stuff to soft stuff, to jazz, to country. When I write songs I try to, kinda try to pull a little bit of that mixture into it.
Dano: Something for everybody out there basically.
Robert: Well, if it ends up being that way then I guess thatís a good thing. I donít necessarily try to make it be that way, but I think, I like a lot of different stuff, and so I try to put that in my music. And I think when you do hear my record youíll hear that some of it is really different sounding. Iíve had a lot of people ask me well, ďtry to explain to me what your music is?Ē Itís heavy stuff, but at the same time itís not heavy, youíre just gonna have hear it, you tell me. (laughs)
Dano: I love the old Stryper, I like all the Hard Rock, but I also like the soft stuff. I like about all styles except for Southern Gospel and Country, but mostly Christian Metal is what I get into.
Robert: YeahÖ
Dano: Thatís my favorite.
Robert: Yeah, I would agree with you.
Dano: Well, whoís your biggest influence spiritually now?
Robert: Well that oneís pretty much, I think that oneís a known one. I mean, really the only person Iím influenced by spiritually is Jesus. I donít really classify myself as a religious person. Just because youíre a religious person doesnít mean that youíre a believer in Jesus. Iím influenced by the words, the beautiful, poetic words from the man who was a prodigy, and a genius in human form, and the Son of God at the same time. That is Jesus. I canít really explain how much of an influence it has been to me. Itís just touched me so much, it still does, but at the same time I want to let people know that Iím not really a religious person because through my years of going around the world and meeting with a lot of Christians and a lot of religious people. Iíve seen a lot of people jump head in to Christianity for what they thought Christianity was, to only end up embittered and angry. Thatís kinda rampant right now in my opinion. I see that a lot. I think when that happens, what people have done is theyíve kinda connected with religion and they didnít really connect personally with Christ.
Dano: Right
Robert: Their influence was maybeÖOK, hereís what you gotta do, you gotta be in Church, itís gotta be on Wednesday night, and you gotta do all this, and by the wayÖyou canít do this. And then it doesnít turn out the way they think it should and they end up bitter. Who was the poor guy for what was that one band? Testament or whateverÖI canít remember the singer whoís just totally bitter right now.
Dano: A Christian singer?
Robert: Yeah.
Dano: Well, thereís been a lot of stuff going on in the Christian music world.
Robert: Oh, he is so anti-Christ nowÖ
Dano: Oh, yeahÖfrom VengeanceÖ
Robert: Yes
Dano: Roger, was it Martinez?
Robert: YesÖNow Iím not putting the guy down, and Iíd love to be able to talk with him. But thereís a perfect example. Hereís a guy who got into the Christian scene, was hurt by some people, is bitter, but nobody out there has been hurt more than I have. In Stryper I was called a queer probably twenty times a day for eight years. I mean Stryper ended up being a blessing yet a catastrophe at the same time, because we had so many people who loved us and yet so many people against us. So I mean if thereís anybody out there who has a right to be bitter, itís me. But just because Stryper at one point ended up falling apart doesnít mean that I through the baby out with the bath water and I donít believe in Christ any longer. And thatís why I donít say Iím a religious person because Iíve seen a lot of people fall in love with religion, and that is just not my gig.
Dano: Well if you rememberÖJesus, the only people He really rebuked was the religious people.
Robert: That was the only people He was really angry at. And that was really the only people He called hypocritical.
Dano: Yep, thatís it. Well, what about a favorite Bible verse? Is it stillÖIsaiahÖWhat is it? Fifty-three Ö.seven?
Robert: Fifty-three, five. I canít really say thatís my favorite Bible verse. I think that was the one that was relevant for Stryper. That was what we felt applied, and thatís what we were trying to tell people that by the stripes of Jesus we are healed. I donít really know if I ever had a favorite Bible verse, but I would say that my favorite books of the Bible are the ones where Jesus is talking. If I could take all of His words and condense it down into one book, that would be my favorite.
Dano: Yeah, Iíve done that before, just read the red letters.
Robert: Yeah, Oh, Iíve done that before.  Iím just being honest with you. I never wanna be one of these kinda people who will make up something and say ďOh yeahÖthis is my favorite Bible verseĒ and theyíre making it up.  I donít really have a favorite Bible verse, but the favorite words of mine are the oneís that are spoken right from the lips of Jesus.
Dano: I hear ya. That beats any answer that I think anybody could give right there.
Robert: And I think itís the most relevant as far as Christianity. I believe Godís Word is anointed and it is the Word of God, but I know a lot of times Iíve seen people have more of a love affair with Paul the Apostle than they do with Jesus. Iíve watched a lot of people who I viewed as being religious quoting Paul more than quoting Christ. I think thatís kinda scary.
Dano: Well, itís all under the inspiration of God and everything, but that is a good point Robert.
Robert: Yeah, itís all in the inspiration of God, but there is no greater inspiration than the Son of God. I think some of the words that Paul had spoken are totally beautiful. It is inspiration. Some of things, the way that he would word things were just so touching. But this is also a guy that was a Christian killer.  you know, he chopped off the heads of Christians. He was a bad guy. I canít remember the last time Iíve seen where God had to take someoneís sight away, to get the point across to him. . I donít know, I donít mean that disrespectfully. I look at the Bible as the inspired Word of God. But I just think sometimes in peopleís, they become kinda zealous, I wanna sayÖzealots. In that when you become really religious itís easy to forget some of the teachings of Christ. I know that sounds maybe kinda silly,
Dano: Thatís kinda deep.
Robert: But I think itís true.
Dano: Well, letís seeÖI never did ask you, Howís the wife and kids, and when did you get married, and whence came the children and all that?
Robert: Well, I got married in 1995. I have a six-year-old daughter, sheís my stepdaughter, but she looks exactly like me.
Dano: CoolÖ
Robert: Weíre bonded like Iím her real Dad.  My wifeís real name is Victoria, her nickname is Starri. And my son was born May 20th, 1997.
Dano: Well thatís something cause I didnít even know you were married and everything, well heck, most of the email Iíve been doing between me and you has been between me a her really.
Robert: Right, you know I really didnít talk about it a lot to people because it was at a point in time where the internet was coming into fruition, and there were a lot of freaky people contacting me. And some of them to the point of where I had to constantly change my number or my logon name or whatever, because some of these people were like psychos, they were dangerous people. And I just got to the point where I thoughtÖyou know, I want to leave my kids out of this. I actually had a couple times where I had some psycho people show up at my door.
Dano: WowÖ
Robert: And I thought, OK, you know, after everything Iíve gone through and Iíve encountered hundreds of people who are psychotic who call themselves Christians. Believe me, thatís pretty prevalent. Thereís a lot of people out there who are kinda messed up and who are looking to Christianity theyíre not looking to Jesus, but theyíre looking to Christianity to help change them, but theyíre kinda psychotic. Like the guy who shot John Lennon was carrying a Bible and wore a cross. you know, and the devil told him to shoot John Lennon, and those are some of the people Iíve encountered before.
Dano: Thatís scary
Robert: And thatís why I didnít really talk about it, you know, I just kinda tried to keep my personal life personal. I didnít do enough of that in Stryper. My personal life was way out there in the open. It became too much to deal with. Everybody has a right to have your life personal. Thereís nothing wrong with that. I think a lot of times Christians are made to feel guilty because you donít want your life thrown out in the open in front of everybody. Iím not saying that youíve got anything to hide or anything, but sometimes you just donít want people to know where you live, or sometimes you just donít want a certain person to have your phone number, you know?
Dano: Right.
Robert: And you know, I think a lot of people have taken that wrong, like, oh they have something to hide; or, why didnít you talk about thisÖ?
Dano: I think they know Robert, celebrities have to be careful cause like ya said, thereís a lot of deranged fans and stuff out there. Thereís good and bad, and the Internet has just opened it up so itís an even place for everybody to get on.
Robert: It sure has, more than what anyone has ever even thought that it would. I donít look at myself as a celebrity, and Iím honored that people out there would look at me in that way. Thatís a nice thing. But I guess I went through a couple things where I actually had some people threatening to show up at my house. It was the strangest thing broÖ This couple wanted me to send a picture of myself to them on this guyís, his wifeís birthday. Well these are strangers, I donít even know who these people are.
Dano: (laughs)
Robert: OKÖand they send my wife an email sayingÖ Could you please have Robert send an autographed picture of himself and make sure it gets here on this day? Well, Iím out of town and my wife doesnít happen have anymore 8 x 10ís of me to be shipping out to people. And so consequently this person who I donít even know, Iím in another state recording on someoneís record and they donít get their picture on her birthday. So, they start writing threatening letters and threatening phone calls. And I go out of my way, I get on the phone and sayÖHey, Iím really sorry, lemme send you something. So I round up 6 or 7 things and send it to these people. And about two weeks later I get it back in the mail, telling me what a hypocrite I am, and how dare I send this stuff late, and who do I think that I am? And it was really bad, it was really bad.
Dano: Thatís amazing, the kind of people out there.
Robert: Oh, you have no idea bro. It got me to the point of going, I canít deal with this anymore. This is way too scary.
Dano: Iíve gotten some hateful email from Pastors before, too. Just because I enjoy Contemporary Christian Music and thatís what NewSong Online is all about, and that trips me out.
Robert: Thereís that religious spirit and religious spirit is exactly what Jesus spoke against.
Dano: Thatís the ones that crucified our Lord Jesus is the religious people.
Robert: Jesus said to love your enemies. If a Pastor is just waiting to destroy somebody because he doesnít like the form of music they listen to or they perform. That person is doing exactly the opposite of what Jesus told said to do. Jesus said to love, to not send hate mail.
Dano: Yep
Robert: Itís really weird man, In my opinion a lot of Christianity has really become twisted. And I think itís a tragedy and this is why a lot of the world kinda laughs at Christianity. Because itís been divided off into so many different belief systems. I mean you got the Catholic Church, then you have the Protestants, and the Protestants have divided into 50, 60 different branches. And then you got the Protestants and the Catholics killing one other in Ireland.
Dano: Yeah, still.
Robert: And youíve got so much, so many different things going on in the realm of Christianity, and itís purely hatred or itís purely political and it has absolutely nothing to do with the Word of God. And it just goes to show that at the end of the day we are just people. I get tired of hearing people sayÖ Oh I heard from God, you know thatís a bunch of BS. Very few people hear Godís voice, and most the time when I read the Scripture people who heard from Godís voice, they drop dead on the ground or they fell flat as dead. Thereís a lot of really strange teachings out there that border on cultism.
Dano: Yeah, when somebody says that they heard from the Lord, the Word says that you need to know them that labor among you, so if you donít the guy, you donít know if he heard from the Lord or not.
Robert: Thatís just one example of freakishness. I mean God has touched me before where I have felt something so strong. I have felt OKÖtake your jacket off and give it to this person, or pull a hundred dollars out of your pocket right now and give it to this person, or listen to what this person is telling you. Those feelings are overwhelming and I know they are coming from God. But I canít really lie to somebody and sayÖOh yeah I heard Godís voice speaking to me, because I didnít. And Iíve heard that so often, you know coming from people at Church.
Dano: Yeah, some people wear it out.
Robert: Yeah, they sure do.
Dano: Yeah, wellÖlemme see, well we can backtrack here. After Stryper broke up you were like with a former band Titanic, called Blank werenít you for awhile?
Robert: I wasnít with the band Titanic. What happened is, Stryper, my brother left in February of 92. Oz, Tim and I carried on for about a year longer. We did a bunch of concerts over in Europe without Mike because we didnít want to let the people down over there. Stryper kinda really, even though it was over when Mike left. It really ended a year later. And at that point I played on a few other peopleís records, then I played on a record with a band called King James. I went out on a few tours with them. Pretty much I would just get calls to just play on peopleís records. Titanic was a band that was already together, and they had released a record already that I didnít play on. The word got out that I had played on it, and I never even played on it.
Dano: You didnít play with them till they made the band, Blank, right.
Robert: Right. Then those same musicians, we decided to try something a little different. And we just started working together and the singer, I believe was the one who came up with the word, Blank. But it never really ended up working out because you know a lot of people, a lot of musicians are really kinda different people. Theyíre wonderful people, but a lot of musicians think because you work with someone who is famous or who they perceive is being famous that your gonna be a rock star in a month. That kinda thing doesnít happen. A lot of people that Iíve worked with in the past have quite a month or two down the line. And Iím standing there thinkingÖWhat in the world are you doing? And theyíre under the false illusion that your gonna become this rock star. Well, what you gotta do is stick together and you gotta work at it.
Dano: Yeah thatís it.
Robert: I mean some people just think itís a free ride and there you go.
Dano: (laughs)
Robert: And thatís not how it is. I mean I had to work so hard just to make Stryper happen. Stryper was something was ten years in the making before it ever happened. I pretty gave up everything, I didnít date, I was rehearsing five nights a week.  And in my spare time it was go, go, go, go. I was playing in Hollywood at nineteen years old, my brother was doing it at sixteen. you know we had a lot of years of working really hard and it finally began to pay off when we became Stryper, and when we asked the Lord to anoint the music and to do with it what He wanted, it started to pay off. But it took a lot of years to get there. The frustrating thing for me was knowing what it takes to succeed at it, and then after Stryper split up, working with so many guys that were younger or even guys my age who had never been successful, and they didnít even have a clue. They had no idea that to succeed in this business you donít quite after a month. So, so many rumors have gone around of so many bands that I played with or so many people I worked with that I either didnít work with, or I worked with for a little bit and they decided that they werenít a rock star yet so they quit.
Dano: OK, so the rumorsÖI heard that you worked with a band called Blank, toured with King James.
Robert: Yes
Dano: you played on the Valediction self titled CD
Robert: Yes, which hasnít come out yet,
Dano: It still hasnít come out yet?
Robert: But I did do that.
Dano: Ok, you worked with Ken Metcalfís JustaBand on the CD, Under Construction, I think.
Robert: Yes
Dano: And I believe that was it, then Love Trash is coming out.
Robert: Well, I also did something with Tammy Winters. I donít know if you heard of her.
Dano: NoÖ
Robert: Sheís a real beautiful girl, sheís got a real heavy voice, kinda along the lines of Ingvey meets Megadeth or something
Dano: WowÖ
Robert: What an awesome person she is. She is incredible though. Iíve done a lot of stuff with a lot of other people that hasnít been released yet. Iíve even done stuff two or three years ago that hasnít even come out. But yeahÖthe Love Trash thing has kinda been in the making for awhile. There was one time back in 1995 I went up to Oregon to begin recording some of the songs that I had put on the Love Trash record. I was working and I had Led Zeppelinís engineer come down and it was sounding really good, and there again I was doing all the guitars and bass, and drums. Was gonna bring in a singer at a later date to do it, and I finished recording it all. And while I was finishing up some of the bass tracks, the twenty-four track machine caught on fire and destroyed the tape.
Dano: Oh man!
Robert: Yeah! (laughs)
Dano: WowÖ
Robert: So I drove all the way home from Oregon almost in tears with my wife who I, we were like just devastated like God why, oh why? And I went through a lot of that. you know, so this record has been hard.
Dano: Five years in the making (laughs)
Robert: Yes, itís been a long time in the making. What it is, the budget was only enough to do eight songs. Biblically the number eight is like new beginning. And so what I did is, I did eight tunes. And what I believe is gonna happen is there is gonna be a cassette tape included with the CD. And on the cassette tape is gonna be stuff thatís different than whatís on the CD.
Dano: So, all the recording is done now, right?
Robert: Yeah, itís been done for a couple months now actually. The record was supposed to be out like last month.  But the artwork got held up, and of course the holidays didnít help anything. So it just kinda held it up some, so Iím hoping weíll get the final draft of the artwork back soon. But you know I just want to impress on people that Iím not trying to do a religious record here. But Iím also not trying to do a record that doesnít have anything to do with Jesus. This record is a Robert Sweet record that is a little bit lighter lyrically and itís a little different than Stryper. But the meaning of it points to Jesus in every single song. Itís my way of saying Hey, God exists and look hereís some things to listen to. Iíve always been a strong believer. And there was a time there in the eighties when Christian Bands were being pressured to look, do salvation records, one right after the other. And I just donít think thatís how God has it done. God gives you your inspiration for something and you do it. For example, the first song on my record is called Help Me To Help Myself. And itís written in the form of a prayer. And there has been so many times in my life even as a Christian. There would just be things that I would be going through where I would be going, God I really need you to help me, I donít know what to do.
Dano: Yeah
Robert: I canít say no, I canít say yes, I donít know where to go and I just canít guess. It doesnít necessarily sound like itís a Christian song but coming from Robert Sweet that is about as real as it can be. Itís like God I need you to help me help myself. And thatís every single day. I donít know how many more days I have left here to live. I might live to be a hundred I might be gone tomorrow. But everyday no matter how rich Iíve been or how poor Iíve been, Iíve always needed Jesus. And thatís the opening song of Love Trash. The first song is my prayer to God, help me. The second song is about Iíve known quite a few famous people and Iíve watched how love is been thrown away. The third song is The F Word, like I mentioned earlier, but in the middle of the song it spells out F O R G I V E. The F word. So my way of doing it isnít what you would necessarily call, it doesnít necessarily come up to the standards of a Church way of doing things. But itís real, itís my way of how I feel that God wants me to do what Iím suppose to do.
Dano: You donít have to speak Christianese to get the message across.
Robert: I donít like Christianese, I like realness. Thatís what struck me about reading the words of Jesus, it was so real, itís just so down to earth, and so simple, and yet so, itís like love hitting you in the face like a fist, but itís love, I mean itís so strong. you know and thatís what I wanted my tunes to be. But I hope no one misunderstands it at the same time, cause Iíve had a lot of email from people going, Why are you calling it Love Trash? But then I laugh, and I would remember back to the days of people going, well why did you call this record To Hell With The Devil?
Dano: (laughs) YeahÖ
Robert: you know or why did you put a hundred dollar bill on your In God We Trust record? Itís like somebody is always trying to find something to de-value your relationship with Christ. And I donít understand that. Iíve never gone out to try to say, Oh this person is not real.
Dano: Well, a lot of reasons people do that is because thereís something lacking in their life with their relationship. So if they can pick on somebody else itís less noticeable perhaps to others.
Robert: Life is just to short, by the way, Jesus said donít judge.
Dano: Thatís right.
Robert: In the time you spend putting somebody else down. Thereís a guy out there, Iím trying to remember his name, heís on the Internet. Something Ministries, his whole ministry is mocking Christian Music.
Dano: Yeah, I had him send me an email before.
Robert: Oh, you did? Do you remember his name?
Dano: NoÖuhhhÖ.
Robert: Bob something?
Dano: Itís something like In Light or something like thatÖ
Robert: This guy is just horrible, and he puts a picture of me up there as Mr. Effeminate
Dano: YeahÖthat was the first thing that came up on the search engines
Robert: Exactly and I just kinda crack up about it. I gotta be honest with you. Iíve never ever wanted to look like a girl, I just wanted to be a good looking guy. And at the same time I wanted to be Rock and Roll looking. When we were doing the Stryper thing, that was what was in. But that didnít have anything to do with it, because I donít care whatís in at the time. Iím just me.
Dano: Well, I think you could ask any woman in Christian or otherwise if your good looking guy, and they would, I guarantee you probably 100% of them would say yes.
Robert: you know I never looked at myself as a good-looking guy. I guess what I wanted to try to do is I wanted the people out there who listen to Rock and Roll music to listen to Stryper. you know, Stryper wasnít about wearing a tie and having a big cross on.
Dano: Iím glad it wasnít.
Robert: YeahÖThat wouldnít have been real.
Dano: Well, that so-called ministry was badmouthing you and Stryper because you didnít look or sound like they thought you should, but I never heard you guys fight back.
Robert: Iím not into that at all.
Dano: I never thought you were.
Robert: It just amazes me.
Dano: Thatís what that guy picks out. I mean thatís what heís gonna pick to pick on. Like these other guys pick something else to pick on.
Robert: Right.
Dano: Itís a shame. Itís a black eye on Christianity.
Robert: You bet man. It sure is. What a perfect way of saying it. They just waste their time and they make their living off destroying others. Thatís what they make their living off of.
Dano: And thereís plenty of souls to be saved and people to witness to. If their witness is to see who they can tear down and show others they can tear other people down, thatís ainít a witness of Christ.
Robert: you know I heard a story one time, youíve probably heard it too. And I hope revival comes to the Church in America where the Church becomes like this. Itís a simple story of England, London, after World War 2 is over. And thereís a kid thatís been orphaned and he doesnít have a place to live and he doesnít have a Mom and Dad and heís standing outside of a doughnut shop. And heís hungry, and an American GI walks in the doughnut shop and looks around and sees the kid standing outside and buys a dozen doughnuts and walks outside and gives them to the kid. And the kid looks at him and saysÖMister, are you God?
Dano: Oh manÖ
Robert: And seeÖin that thereís no preaching, thereís no altar call, thereís no religious experience, thereís no tract, thereís no religious paraphernalia, like a cross, thereís no making sure everybodyís watching you pray before eating lunch, thereís love.
Dano: What do they say? Iíd rather see a sermon than hear one any day.
Robert: And without love itís all worthless, itís all worthless. And thatís what I wanted Stryper to be and thatís what I want my life to be. you know, somehow, someway, I ask God everyday, God help me somehow to not fool myself or to delude myself, help me to be what you want me to be.
Dano: There you go.
Robert: you know itís got to count for something.
Dano: Thatís the only person you have to please Robert, is the Lord. It doesnít matter what other people think.
Robert: Yeah that is true.
Dano: Thatís all that counts. (laughs) Well, lemme see, you answered about all my questions before I got to ask some of them here.
Robert: Well, I told you I kinda ramble sometimes.
Dano: You do some good rambling there buddy.
Robert: Well, thank you.
Dano: (laughs) You got experience.
Robert: I just try to be real. I just try to talk and you know, Iíve done thousands and thousands and maybe tens of thousands of interviews over the years, but I just try to be real.
Dano: Thatís it. Itís better than being fake and you know some of these people just say something to say something.
Robert: you know I hope that when people hear my record I hope they can listen to it and enjoy it for the music. I hope that they can already understand Robert Sweet. I hope people can already from reading this interview that theyíll read I hope that theyíll already know what the real Robert Sweet is. I am the same that I was twenty years ago. I wasnít one of these guys that was a big druggy then had to come to the Lord. I didnít do drugs.
Dano: You werenít a VIP sinner.
Robert: I just was a normal guy. I was a straight A student. I came home and I played drums. I wasnít a bad teenager. I didnít get thrown in jail. I didnít sleep around. I wanted to do my music. I was serious about it. But when I came to know the Lord, it was a soul alternation for me, it touched me, but I didnít become wacko or weird. I didnít you know get weird like Iíve seen a lot of people do. The world doesnít need anymore weird people who call themselves Christians. The world needs some Christians who call themselves Christians.
Dano: Yep.
Robert: Thatís what I hope that people can hear coming out of these songs. I hope they can hear that Robert Sweet is trying to really in his own way say how real the Christianity is and how real the music is.
Dano: Well, Iím sure they will.
Robert: I apologize for the delay. you know Iím only one guy and I only do so much, but the record is finished.
Dano: Well youíre one busy guy. (laughs) Itís been awhile getting up with you, but itís been worth it, I know all your fans are looking forward to this. And I believe thatís about it. Well that winds down the interview Robert.
Robert: Well, I hope I was able to give you what you were looking for.
Dano: Well, I believe you did, and I know your fans will be appreciative. Shined some light on your new album coming out, maybe help boost some sales and they can pick it up at your website?
Robert: Yeah, theyíll be able to find out more. I know the website has been kinda down for awhile because of the holidays, but within the next couple weeks theyíre gonna be able to see a lot more stuff showing up on the site. So yeah, if they go to RobertSweet.com theyíll be able to find out a lot more about it. If you can please mention the record label in the interview, I would appreciate that.
Dano: YeahÖWorld Gone Mad. Oh, one more thingÖI hate to keep you so long, but The Stryper Expo coming up, youíre gonna be doing that pretty soon here..
Robert: The 21st I think, May 21st.
Dano: Yeah. Can you give me some insight on about what you plan on doing?
Robert: I have absolutely no idea of what were doingÖ
Dano: (laughs)
Robert: To be honest with you I believe Mike and Tim, and Oz, and I are gonna get up and play. I donít know what were gonna do, but weíll just do it. Thatís how itís always been I donít know what Iím doing, so I just go ahead and do it anyway.
Dano: You are gonna be there, right?
Robert: Yes, Iíll be there.
Dano: I reckon thatís it cause your not gonna have any tours or anything coming up for the Love Trash, cause you ainít got a band or anything together yet?
Robert: If I do, Iíll let you know.
Dano: All right man. Well itís been really good talking to Robert.
Robert: Itís been good talking to you too, buddy.
Dano: If you send me one of them CDs, Iíll be glad to do a review on it.
Robert: You betchaÖ stay in touch OK?
Dano: All right man.
Robert: Take it easy.

·=[The Links]=·
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Yasmine's Stryper Expo Site

·=[The Albums]=·
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Click on the album title of your choice to check it out.

Robert Sweet's Love Trash CD is available at Robert Sweet.comStryper - Yellow and Black AttackStryper - Soldiers Under CommandStryper - To Hell With The Devil
Stryper - In God We TrustStryper - Against The LawSTRYPER - CAN'T STOP THE ROCK: THE STRYPER COLECTION 1984 - 1991

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Full name:Robert Lee Sweet
Wife:Victoria (Starri)
Children:Blayne and Dakota
Birthday:March 21, 1960
Height:5í 9"
Weight:135 - 140 lbs
Born:Lynwood, CA
Hair: blond
Eyes: blue
Email: SeeItsMeTwo@aol.com
Album:Love Trash by Robert Sweet (available at robertsweet.com 1-00)
Record Company:World Gone Mad Entertainment
Website: www.robertsweet.com
·=[Fan Questions]=·
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What kind of vehicles do you own?98 Ford F150 Pick Up Truck & restoring a 1971 Plymouth GTX (If anyone has a 71 GTX they donít want, email Robert!)
What was your MOST embarrassing moment on stage?Got a lot of them, but one of them is when one time an explosion went off under my drum riser when we playing Radio City Music Hall in 1988. It blew black gunpowder up at me, and I ended up all black, my hair, my face, black, & I could not breathe. The smell of gunpowder when itís up your nose is absolutely horrific. You canít breatheÖ And it was the last song of the show on the In God We Trust Tour at Radio City Music Hall and weíre ending like the last note, and I had to run off the stage where there was clean air to breathe, take a breathe, hold it, run back up on the drum set and finish the ending while holding my breathe. It was only like thirty seconds or so, but that would have been pretty good for embarrassing.
Do you play any other instruments?Guitar & BassÖI enjoy doing it for writing my own music.
What pets do you have?A Chihuahua, 2 Persian cats, and 1 Calico cat named Freako who is really beautiful. Freako has a reflex that came from when he was born and his mother having distemper. He can't jump or run like normal cats, but he's really cool. Freakoís back part of his body reacts slower than his front partÖwhen he runs he gallops like a horse. He is absolutely hilarious!
What was your first record?Grand Funk RailroadÖI wore out 3 Grand Funk LIVE records by the time I was 11.
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FOOD:Indian (India, spicy) I love the spicy stuff!
DRINK:English Breakfast Tea
MOVIE:#1-Jesus of NazarethÖIíve probably watched this movie 300 - 400 times. The guy, who played the part, is anointed to play the part of Jesus of Nazareth. Iíve cried my eyes out time after time watching this movie. 
#2-ChristineÖI donít like the fact that this car is evil, but I always kinda wanted a car that would just repair itself like that.
BANDS:Lots of them
CARTOON CHARACTER:The Roadrunner, I collect anything to do with the Roadrunner.
CAR:Ferrari 288 GTO
PLACES TO LIVE:Like to have a home in Oahu, Hawaii, the Caribbean, I really love the Tropics, then maybe a log cabin in the woods in Seattle or somewhere.
PLACES TO VISIT:Hawaii, the CaribbeanÖtropical settings
VIDEO GAME:The Creature from the Black Lagoon Pinball
TV SHOW:Brady Bunch
PASTOR:Ries (From the same Churches as Greg Laurie)
MOTORCYCLE:Like Harleys, and have seen some beautiful bikes, but really not into them.
SPORT:Martial Arts
ICE CREAM:French Vanilla
BOOK OF THE BIBLE:The GospelsÖMatthew, Mark, Luke, & John
SCRIPTURE:The words that Jesus spoke
PASTIMES:Working on Muscle Cars, Going to the Beach, Building own Arcade, Playing pool
LIKES TO COLLECT:Muscle Cars, Tiffany Lamps, Pinball Machines, anything to do with the Roadrunner Character, Scale Models of Battle Ships

·=[The Robert Sweet Fan Club]=·
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President and Founder
Web Site
Mitzi Murphy BonnellNashville, TNhometown.aol.com/Stryped777Stryped777@aol.com

Below is some information concerning the Official Robert Sweet Fan Club, thanks to Mitzi Murphy Bonnell, the President and Founder.
Dano: When did the fan club officially start?

Mitzi:The fan club officially began in December of 1997. Its currently undergoing a MAJOR facelift and the new site should be up before the end of January 2000.

Dano: How many members do you have?

Mitzi: We've had well over 800 entries on the guestbook, but we've had to archive them all because its takes forever to load the "View Guestbook" page! But, we do have all of them saved on a back-up disc. We'll start over with a brand
new guestbook for the updated site.

Dano: How many hits or visitors have you had on the Web Site since the Fan Club began?

Mitzi: We've had over 11,000 hits to the site. I just started a "Robert Sweet Fan Club" mailing list recently, and we have
about 30 members, but its growing rapidly. You can join up when you visit the site.

Dano:  Why and when did you conceive the idea to create the fan club for Robert?

Mitzi: Well, STRYPER was one of my favorite bands, and after the STRYPER break up, I thought that the fans of Robert, like myself, needed a place to voice their opinions, post their photos & share their memories. I spoke to Robert about
creating the site, he gave me the "thumbs up" and I went to work! The other ex-members of STRYPER had their own official sites, just as Robert did, but none of the members had a site strictly tailored for the fans. I figured it was the perfect opportunity to create the Robert Sweet Fan Club.

Dano: Can you tell me a little bit about Robert and his wife from your experience and personal knowledge of them?

Mitzi: I haven't met Starri in person, but we have talked extensively on the phone & it feels like I've known her forever! We share a lot of the same interests, so I really enjoy talking to her. I met Robert on the Soldiers Under Command
tour for the first time, and I saw him everytime he came through Nashville. He seemed like one of the sweetest & most down to earth people I'd ever met. Time passed & we had chatted on the Internet & telephone and that's when the
idea for the fan club happened.

Dano: Anything else special that you may like to note for the other fans?

Mitzi: Robert is one of the most dynamic individuals I have ever known. He would take the shirt off of his back to help you if you needed it. He's been nothing but totally supportive & helpful with the site and his devotion to God, his family & friends is enormous. My hope for Robert's future is much success, health and happiness. My hope for all the fans is to someday have the opportunity to meet Robert to see what a wonderful & genuine person he is. His extraordinary talent as a drummer only scratches the surface of his musical abilities as everyone will soon see with the release of "Love Trash"!
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