Michael - The thing that I miss most is seeing the lives changed. Going from venue to venue, from city to city and meeting the people that were pulled out of the hell that they were living in because of one song or the message of one album, or one song or one Stryper show. Meeting the people face to face is what I miss the most. It's amazing to come across these people and to hear their stories of how God, through Stryper, affected their lives. Incredible. What we got more than anything, most of the time, was people who were thinking about taking their own lives. At that moment they heard a Stryper song or saw us on TV and God, at that moment, helped them to pull out of the thought of taking their own life. Not only pull out of that, but also commit their lives to Christ and then continue on in that life in Christ. That's amazing. That happened many, many times. Incredible stuff like that is what I miss the most.
Kim - Something that you have had to deal with for the past 20 years is those people out there who are so busy pointing the finger at Christian rock being too worldly that they miss the whole message. I know that you've spoken on that in the past and you had some impressive arguments. Where this tour is concerned, and how God brought you back together to do this, to me, is a very big statement.
Michael - I agree. There have been some rumors, some true and some not true, over the four of us not getting along and not liking each other. Some of it's true. We went through some tough times and we're still working out things. But the fact that we're able to get back together and go out there and show people that God can renew and restore and everything that we were telling people and, through the message, preaching to people, is true. God can do anything. He can and will change lives. To have the opportunity to get back together as a band and go back out there and tell people that is just amazing.
Kim - Do you have any particular steps you take regularly before you go on stage?
Michael - Not really. I should have more than I do as far as warm-up techniques. Of course we pray, we get together and pray before every show. But as far as preparing musically with our skills and our talents ... not really. I drink a lot of water, and if I'm hoarse, I'll have some hot tea with nothing in it. I always get in a hot shower and just sit there and steam out my throat. That's about it. Some people are fanatical and I'm not like that.
Kim - Ice or no ice in your water?
Michael - No ice. Room temperature. No soda's. It will affect your vocal cords. I drink a lot of water long before I go on to hydrate my vocal cords. It's not instant you know. Some people think that if you just take a drink of water before you go on you instantly hydrate your vocal cords and that's not true. It takes a while so I start drinking water long before the show and during the show.
Kim - In regards to everything that is coming up, is there anything in particular that God has really put on your heart? Something that He's teaching you about what you're getting ready to do?
Michael - Not really. To be honest with you, I just want to make sure that we're all on the same page. That our hearts are to go out there and share with people, not so much to go out there and be rock stars and to bring any glory to ourselves. That's my hope and prayer, that we're all in agreement with that and that we're all thinking the same thoughts. I think that it's as simple as if we do that, everything else will fall in place. We don't need to worry about anything if we can do that. My plan is to make sure that that happens. We're going to have prayer time, devotion time, scripture reading time. We're gonna have pastors coming out to visit us. The focus is going to be staying behind God; letting God lead. Not stepping out in front of God, and that's what we've done in the past. That's when you run into problems and the flood gates open. You wind up having tremendous problems hit you. I don't want that. I want God to be our fifth member. The only way to do that is to devote the time and make it happen.
Kim - I have heard that this tour is going to be yellow and black.
Michael - It is going to be yellow and black. We're going to have yellow and black guitars, drums, scrims in front of the amps. We're not going to have that much yellow and black clothing. Speaking for myself, I'm going to probably have a lot of black clothing ... black leather pants, black shirts, black t-shirts. No spandex. We're not pulling out the old outfits. I think it would look kind of funny to have older guys wearing old spandex clothes that they wore when they were 21, 22. And it's not what is going on now. I want to make sure that we don't come across as a joke. I want to be taken serious. For the new people, the younger generation and say "oh wow, I want to check that out. They sound cool and they look cool." I don't want to look like clowns.
Kim - I know you're going to be in Atlanta and there are a lot of people here that are looking forward to that show. I'm hoping to be able to get up there for the show and maybe talk to you a bit there as well.
Michael - Get with our management and they'll run it by us. I know that we're going to be crazed out there with sound checks and all sorts of things. Our focus is for the people that are coming to the shows, and to share with them. I know that we're going to have a lot going on but anytime that we have available, we'll make ourselves available for you.
Kim - I appreciate that. I've really enjoyed talking to you.
Michael - It was very nice talking to you and I will see you soon on tour.