by James Montgomery
If you mention Digital Praise's "Guitar Praise" game to anyone of a certain age (read: "old"), they'll inevitably--and probably half-jokingly--ask the question: "Oh, is Stryper in the game?"
This is for a variety of reasons:
a) For 25 years now, Stryper have been the go-to punchline for anyone making a joke about Christian rock (their name is an acronym for "Salvation Through Redemption, Yielding Peace, Encouragement, and Righteousness" and one of their albums is called To Hell With The Devil)
b) There aren't really any other "Christian metal" acts that immediately spring to mind. And (primarily)
c) We are incredibly lazy.
Of course, if you've played "Guitar Praise" -- which Multiplayer's Tracey John has -- you already know the answer to that question: Despite the fact that there are tracks by more than 50 Christian rock acts featured in the game, there is not a single Stryper song to be found anywhere. And this seems like a fairly grave injustice (I mean, seriously, "Honestly" is the jam).
So, we decided to track down the guys in Stryper--they broke up in the early '90s before reuinting in 2003, and apparently have an album called Murder By Pride which will be released next year--and ask them: What gives? Was their exclusion the result of some vast, anti-Stryper conspiracy? The result of some shady backroom dealing? Well, according to their manager, it was decidedly less scandalous than any of that.
"We were aware of the project and signed off on it from an artist standpoint, however the deadlines for 'Guitar Praise' were approaching quickly and the legal work needed to clear the songs requested from Hollywood Records could not be done so in the timeframe needed," Dave Rose, the band's manager told MTV News in an email. "It appears however, that we will likely be involved with the expansion pack that comes out in Spring of '09."
Hallelujah (sorry). And while the email certainly gave me a bit of closure, it also raised a more interesting question: "Guitar Praise" has an expansion pack coming out next year?!?! Determined to find out, I contacted the publicist for "Guitar Praise," who told me that Stryper will "absolutely" be included in the pack, which is due out "in the spring or summer of next year." So it turns out that the guys in Stryper weren't lying … something I sort of expected anyway. After all, I think lying is prohibited by the Ten Commandments or something.