Stryper’s Michael Sweet Had Difficulty Covering an Iron Maiden Classic
Earlier this year, Stryper released ‘The Covering,’ a tribute album to the classic rock and metal bands they cherished growing up. Aside from one new cut, the 13-song collection finds the Southern California-bred melodic metallers covering artists like KISS, Ozzy Osbourne, Sweet, and UFO.
One of the standout tracks on ‘The Covering’ is Stryper’s barnstorming version of Iron Maiden‘s 1983 single ‘The Trooper.’ “I grew up on Iron Maiden and they were equally as important to me as Judas Priest was back in the day,” Stryper vocalist/guitarist Michael Sweet tells Noisecreep.
“I remember the first time I heard Maiden with Dickinson like it was yesterday. ‘Run to the Hills’ came on the radio and I was in my garage and I for a split-second I thought it was Judas Priest. I had never heard anyone else sing like Rob Halford up till then.
“I had heard Maiden’s first two records, when they had Paul DiAnno on vocals, but this was something much different to me. Dickinson had that wide vibrato, operatic thing that definitely reminded me of Halford. I was floored! Anyway, I went out and bought ‘Number of the Beast’ that same day and was hooked,” Sweet remembers.
Listen to Stryper’s cover of Iron Maiden’s ‘The Trooper’
Noisecreep included Sweet on our ‘Top 10 High-Pitch Metal Singers‘ list back in 2009, so you know the guy has chops, but covering Iron Maiden’s ‘The Trooper’ wasn’t a cakewalk for the Stryper leader.
“It was my idea to cover that song. But I didn’t take into consideration how difficult that would actually be for me as a singer. We covered bands like Scorpions, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin, on ‘The Covering,’ but the song that kicked my butt the hardest was ‘The Trooper.’
“It’s not just the technical side of Bruce Dickinson’s approach, but also the tone and uniqueness of his voice. He’s a guy that just has it all when it comes to being a metal and hard rock singer. You have vocalists like David Lee Roth who have more character to their voices than technique and then vocalists who are the opposite. Well, Dickinson has both. Once I said to myself, “Just sing this song like Michael Sweet would sing it,” then it clicked. But trust me, it wasn’t easy at first,” laughs Sweet.
Stryper’s ‘The Covering’ is available now.