Grunge is constantly credited with killing hair metal as the movement fully bloomed in the early ’90s. Stryper‘s Michael Sweet, however, has a different point of view and doesn’t believe this narrative and, instead, theorizes what did actually wipe the popular subgenre out at the time.
On Instagram, the singer shared a photo of late Nirvana legend Kurt Cobain and collected his thoughts on the musical developments in rock that seemed to reject almost everything about the hair metal scene.
“I don’t believe that grunge killed hair metal,” he affirmed, “I think that many hair metal bands stopped trying to some degree and because of that, they started releasing mediocre music. Stryper included.”
Sweet looked back on the early ’80s hair metal scene and called it “incredibly powerful, fresh and exciting” but by the end of the decade, it had become “cliche, somewhat redundant and for the most part, recycled.” He did caution that this did not apply to absolutely every band playing this style of music “but certainly many” while making it clear “this is my personal opinion.”
With fans “looking for something new and exciting again” amid a myriad of clichéd acts, grunge delivered just that even though “it wasn’t really as intricate musically speaking” according to Sweet, who acknowledged grunge’s authenticity when branding it “raw and passionate,” a quality he feels “makes music appealing no matter what genre.”
“Originality and passion builds the foundation of any great artist/band,” Sweet declared before expressing how quick he was to embrace grunge as it began to explode.
“I’ll never forget when I first heard Nirvana,” he continued, “I actually loved it and immediately went out and bought the record. I played it for the guys and they didn’t seem quite as excited about it as I was but I thought to myself – times are definitely changing, and they did very quickly!”
With hair metal fading into the background, Sweet used this as a learning opportunity to better himself personally and as a musician. “Personally, the grunge movement helped me to work harder and try harder. I dug a lot deeper within myself from that time forward to be a better writer, performer, musician and producer. So, I say thank you to grunge for turning things around,” the Stryper frontman concluded.
These comments come as Stryper are gearing up to release what Sweet has dubbed the band’s “strongest release to date.” Although no new album has definitively been announced, Stryper have intentions on issuing the followup to 2020’s Even The Devil Believes later this year. So far, they’ve debuted two new singles, “Rise to the Call” and “See No Evil, Hear No Evil,” the latter of which can be heard further down the page.