For Easter, I bring you a bunch of guys dressed like bumblebees doing a stage performance on a hundred-dollar bill. In other words, I bring you the Christian metal band, STRYPER. It stands for salvation through redemption, yielding peace, encouragement, and righteousness. If that sounds contrived, it’s because it is. It’s a backronym for the name they already picked out. The name comes from Isaiah 53:5, which is why you see it prominently featured in the video. From that passage, springs the stripes.
There’s a nice little “Where Are They Now?” video below. It was made before the group reunited. In it, you find out that they used to toss bibles out to their audience during performances. That sounds dangerous. I am picturing someone wearing glasses getting hit in the face with a book. They also substituted 666 for 777. According to Wikipedia, that has to do with Christianity looking at the number “7” as divine perfection. I honestly didn’t know that. It’s also branding the band to make them stand out against all the other hair bands of the time.
As you might expect, STRYPER took a lot of crap back in the day. I don’t mean because the songs are cheesy and they look funny. I mean because they did what they did, but as a supposed Christian band. There’s definitely some controversial material like you would expect concerning any band. But other stuff is just plain ridiculous, such as people calling them Satanists and other things. One quote over on Wikipedia from their manager Daryn Hinton says, “It was just like if Ozzy Osbourne was there,” when concert-goers would show up to see them and there would be all kinds of protestors.
One quote over on their Wikipedia article rubs me the wrong way. It’s from the Los Angeles Times in 1985:
“The band gets sullen fans of Twisted Sister cheering and poking stubby ‘one way’ fingers heavenward—a refutation of the double-fingered ‘devil horns’ salute of many metal groups.”
Ghosts, Italian Style (1967, dir. Renato Castellani)
The Machine That Kills Bad People (1952, dir. Roberto Rossellini)
That second screenshot is an Italian explaining to an American the Italian tradition that Ronnie James Dio saw a family member do, them being Italian and all. He did it a few times onstage and it caught on like wildfire in the metal community. I wouldn’t bring this up were it not for the fact that you can see ignorance about this show up in religious movies as recent as 2010.
I had a long thing written out about religion and metal, but I’ll let Ronnie James Dio speak about it in the video below.
I have only listened to a few of their songs. I can’t find a music video for To Hell With The Devil. What a crime it is that there isn’t a video for this song. I’m not even a Christian, and I love that song. So, here it is anyways without a proper video.
The music video was directed by Jim Yukich who is extremely prolific. He directed about 200 music videos.
The music video was produced by Paul Flattery who has produced around 250 music videos.
The music video was shot by Toby Phillips who has shot around 65 music videos. He’s also worked as a Steadicam operator on films such as Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985), Twins (1988), and Born On The Fourth Of July (1989).
Enjoy, and again, happy Easter!