STRYPER – To Hell With The Devil tour 2016 – 10/23/16 Albuquerque, NM

     It was a perfect Sunday afternoon as I pulled up to the Lobo Theater for the Stryper show. I was pleasantly surprised to see a line had already formed in front of the building. I made my way towards the door and sorted out my entry so I could prepare to shoot the evening’s festivities.  

     The people who had purchased the pre show meet and greet (there were quite a few of them) were finishing up and allowed to form a line in the lobby. The sound check was starting up and I decided to walk around and visit with the fans. I was shown various items that had been signed (one cool item was an original vinyl copy of To Hell With The Devil.


Steve Civerolo with his dad Paul

      Overall there was a sense of love for Stryper. I found it very cool to see people I knew to be fans of various Hard Rock bands that one usually does not associate with Stryper, telling me how much they meant to them. One special moment for me was seeing my good friend Derek Leyba be given the opportunity to help with load in for the band. The joy in his eyes was immensely satisfying. 


Derek Leyba

     I went back in and found the band taking their time with the sound check to get it right. The thing that impressed me was the fact that they were willing to take that extra time to give their fans a high-quality show. Eventually everyone was satisfied with the sound check and whisked off to don the Black and Yellow.


     I began my set up in the photo pit and waited for the crush of the crowd when the doors were opened. Funny thing, that didn’t happen. People were kind and civil as they packed in. I saw many friends of mine and many hugs were given. Then, the lights went down and business was about to begin.

     The show began with a cool video history of Stryper which led into a countdown. When the lights came there they were, in their Black and Yellow glory, STRYPER!!!



Michael Sweet


Robert Sweet


Oz Fox


Tim Gaines

     They took us back to 1986 instantly as they played through To Hell With The Devil in its entirety. The band was spot on not missing a lick of the album they had created so many years ago. Song after song was delivered and it seemed the band grew more energetic as did the crowd. After completing the album To Hell With The Devil Stryper ran through some of their crowd favorites and some more current songs. I can definitely say that they left the crowd satisfied.   There was a very cool moment during the set when Michael was talking to the crowd and one guy professed his love of the band and you could hear it in his voice.

     For moments here and there I actually felt like I was a 22-year-old again watching them for the first time. The playing, the vocals, the stage and the costumes were perfect. I am so very pleased to see that the years have only made them a better, stronger band. If you have the chance do yourself a favor and catch Stryper on this tour, you will NOT be disappointed!

     Thanks Michael Sweet, Robert Sweet, Oz Fox, and Tim Gaines for a great time and a reminder of how the music community should treat each other.

   it’s the Yellow and Black Attack, it’s STRYPER!!!

     – the Hellion


The top 10 of 2015

     2015 is over but it brought us some great new music. Here are my top 10 in no particular order, enjoy:

Stryper – Fallen


Stryper’s new release, Fallen, is a supercharged release to say the least. For a band that has been around for 32 years they have continued to impress. This record is full of killer riffs and powerhouse vocals. I am totally impressed by the production quality of this record. I was even surprised to see a Black Sabbath cover on here “After Forever” is done very well by Stryper.  The track that grabs hold and will not let go is “Fallen” :

     Check out Stryper online:

Ugly Kid Joe – Uglier Than They Used Ta Be


     Ahhh Ugly Kid Joe, 19 years after Motel California UKJ is back with a full album. These hold a very special place in my heart and always will. This record shows that UKJ has not lost a bit of the attitude that made them so great. This is rock n’ roll pure and undistilled. The stand out here is “Hell Ain’t Hard To Find”:

     Ugly Kid Joe online:

Throw The Temple – No Way But Down


     Throw The Temple is a hard working band that takes itself serious without being serious about it. Believe me, every move they make is calculated and planned. After seeing them perform for several years they have finally put out and album to be proud of. Full of deep lyrics and catchy tunes ( I even persuaded them to provide the theme song for the Hellion Rocks) this is an album which should be garnering national attention. Enjoy the video for “We Got It Goin'” right here:

     Throw The Temple online:

Devil City Angels – Devil City Angels


     This record was a complete surprise to me. While technically a “supergroup” it sounds nothing like one. I was ina bad mood the first time I played this record, by the end not so much. This is just a feel good record that you can tell was fun to make.  Comprised of the legendary Tracii Guns, Rudy Sarzo, Rikki Rockett, and Brandon Gibbs, this is a DO NOT MISS record. Here’s the video for “Boneyard”:

     Devil City Angels online:

Motorhead – Bad Magic


     Motörhead has always been a guilty pleasure for me. I have always listened to them and probably always will. I have seen the fairweather fans come and go as the trends change. I was extremely saddened to hear of the deaths of Lemmy and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor. This final album from Motörhead is to savor and enjoy.  Take a listen to “Electricity” and pay your respects:

       Motörhead online:

Skulldron – Through The Smoke


     Skulldron rocks, plain and simple. I have known these guys for years and years and enjoyed them immensely. Skulldron falls into the Stoner/Doom metal category and they do it so very well. This is a band that NEEDS some worldwide acclaim. This is another record that SHOULD be in your collection. Well crafted and put together Through The Smoke takes you on a trip to a very cool place in your head. Take a peek at G.O.A.T. :

     Skulldron online:

Clutch – Psychic Warfare


     Clutch is band that, to me, everyone should be running to the store and buying all of their records. Firing on all cylinders and then some,  Clutch  simply rules. This album continues Clutch’s streak of aggressive, hard charging rock. I have one thing to say about Clutch, if you don’t like them, you haven’t listened  to them. Psychic Warfare is a great record to introduce you to the awesomeness that is Clutch. “X-Ray Visions” will whet your appetite:

     Clutch online:

Dellacoma – South Of Everything


     Dellacoma Rio, vocalist for Dellacoma is one of the hardest working men in rock n’ roll. Hailing from Australia, Del continually works on world domination. Putting together an outstanding band of three world class musicians: Art Struck, Matt Cook, and Rick Reynolds,  Dellacoma wrote and recorded a well crafted piece of art. No frill, no filler, just straight up feel good music. This is my pick for road music of the year. Put this on, roll down the windows,  and hit the road. Let me show you what I mean:

     Dellacoma online:

Red Sky Mary – River Child


     Red Sky Mary was an accidental find for me. I was completely taken aback by the soul in this young band. It was as if someone jumped into a time machine and collected the DNA from several 70’s bands and somehow fused them into Red Sky Mary. I find so much depth and beauty in this record it amazes me that their are bands still making music that you can truly feel. Here is the latest from Red Sky Mary:

     Red Sky Mary online:

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators – Live at the Roxy 9.25.14


     Slash and crew deliver on this live recording from the Roxy. I f you have never had the chance to catch them live this is the next best thing. Relaxed and fun this record showcases Slash’s and Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators talent. With songs that span throughout Slash’s career from GNR, Velvet Revolver, through today this one is a winner. My favorite track from this record:


Slash and the boys online:

     it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL!!!

     -the Hellion

Talking to Michael Sweet of Stryper about the new record ‘FALLEN’


It’s always a good day to talk with Michael Sweet from Stryper. I had the chance yesterday to speak with Michael a bit about the new record and some other things. It was a heartfelt conversation and left me feeling good. Thanks again Michael, and Kevin for making it happen. Enjoy our conversation right here:

     Do yourselves a favor and pick up the new Stryper release out on Frontier Records Friday, October 16th, I give it a 15 out of 10 stars!!!


     Check out Stryper online:

     it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL!!!

     -the Hellion


COVER - MS I'm Not Your Suicide


Video Premieres Today at



and NewReleaseTuesday

Solo Album Slated for Release on May 6th Via Big 3 Records Available for

Pre-Order Via


(NEW YORK, NY) – Michael Sweet, singer/songwriter/guitarist for the multi-platinum rock band Stryper, is releasing the debut single, “I’m Not Your Suicide,” from his upcoming solo album of the same name being released on May 6th via Big 3 Records. Michael Sweet has partnered up with ChildHelp for the release of the single. Michael Sweet and Big3 Records are donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of ‘I’m Not Your Suicide’ to ChildHelp. The single is available via iTunes and can be purchased here: The video for “I’m Not Your Suicide” will be premiering today as well with an exclusive premiere at Loudwire, Noisecreep and NewReleaseTuesday.


Michael Sweet felt compelled to partner with ChildHelp after learning that almost half of all children who have been abused consider suicide. His intention was for the heartfelt lyrics to connect with these kids and hopefully offer some peace to those in need. Bringing added attention to the ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline, which offers an immediate 24/7 professional crisis counselor on call, and championing the ChildHelp Speak Up Be Safe in schools, Michael Sweet is sharing a message of crisis intervention and prevention education. “I’m Not Your Suicide” is a song with a message of hope and through the partnership with ChildHelp, illustrate to children a positive alternative through the lyrics of the song.


The full album I’m Not Your Suicide is available for pre-sale at Fans who pre-order the full-album will be able to instantly download the song “Taking On The World Tonight (featuring Tony Harnell) and be registered to win a guitar used in the recording of the album. Fans will also receive a sneak-peek into the upcoming autobiography Honestly: My Life and Stryper Revealed. Buyers will be able to download chapter 18, a chapter where Michael reveals his personal thoughts on Christian music and the industry that surrounds it. The autobiography was originally slated for release on May 6th, but due to production delays will be available at a later date.All details are at


With the upcoming and long-overdue solo album, Sweet is finally delivering the project fans have been patiently waiting for. Self-produced, I’m Not Your Suicide includes special appearances by Tony Harnell (TNT), Kevin Max (dcTalk, Audio Adrenaline), Chris Jericho (Fozzy), Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake), Electra Mustaine (daughter of Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine) and Stryper bandmates Robert Sweet and Timothy Gaines. Legendary drummer Kenny Aronoff played on the record as well.


Sweet is best known as the singer, guitarist, songwriter and producer for Christian rock pioneers Stryper, selling over 10 million albums worldwide. In addition to Stryper, Sweet has had a successful solo career, and he served as the guitarist and co-vocalist for the legendary classic rock band BOSTON from 2007-2011. The future remains bright for a man who has endured heartbreaking tribulations throughout his life and career, including the 2009 passing of his wife of more than 22 years, Kyle. In 2010, Sweet remarried to Lisa Champagne-Sweet, a woman he describes as “a Godsend and the one who fits perfectly by my side.” Sweet continues to record and tour with Stryper, as well as touring and recording as a solo artist.


For more information on Michael Sweet visit 


the Hellion Rocks top 16 (started at 10, then 16) CDs of 2013!!!


Well it’s rapidly approaching the end of 2013 and time for my top releases of the year. While there were so many fantastic records from both new and established artists, there are a few that just burrowed into my brain and I couldn’t shake them. There are 16 that I am going to mention here and they are in no particular order as they are all incredible in my book. To those bands who aren’t listed here, relax I have another post planned to address you.



When you have a CD from a band that has members like Vinny Appice, Rex Brown, Mark Zavon, and Dewey Bragg you know your’re in for a treat. This CD kicks ass on so many levels. The music of KDH sounds familiar and distinctly unique, giving you a feeling that this band has been around for years but yet remaining fresh. Do NOT miss out on this CD, here’s a taste:


Scattered Hamlet - Skeleton Dixie CD cover

Scattered Hamlet – Skeleton Dixie CD cover

My boys in Scattered Hamlet deliver on their full length release and then some. Remember when music made you feel something? Skeleton Dixie gets right in and touches your musical soul. Throughout the years these guys have become family to me and I have the great fortune of being mentioned in this CD as well. You WILL love it! Get some:



     When Billy Sheehan, Mike Portnoy, and Richie Kotzen get together you know you’re gonna get something great. There was a lot of buzz around this project and when it came to fruition it delivered in spades. Great straight up rock n’ roll, there needs to me more records like this one. Check it:



     Tom Keifer has always been one of my favorite vocalists. The gritty soulfulness of his voice is iconic. It has been quite a while since we have had new music from Tom and it has been worth the wait. Bluesy with a razors edge is what you find on this record. Take a listen:



     I find it funny that I have included Stryper on this list. I’ll admit that I was not really the biggest Stryper fan back in the day, I have found a new respect for them in this record. They have a tenacity that will not quit. Strong in their beliefs, and strong in their musical passion is what landed them here. (On a side note, I recently interviewed Michael Sweet and have one coming up with Oz Fox). Here’s the title track:



     Black Water Rising has been honing this record for a few years, and it shows. These guys have been in my ears for a few years now and I finally got to see them live and hear some of these songs live. BWR brings powerful rock n’ roll and here is some for ya :


Adrian Galysh Tone Poet Cover

     Adrian Galysh is one of hidden talents that the world has yet to discover. I received this CD for review and was completely amazed by it, and I believe you will be too. listen to this CD and hear a mans passion transferred to his music.



     Korn has welcomed Head back into its fold and released one of their best CDs to date. I believe that their life experiences has caused this band to grow and mature and that growth is reflected in The Paradigm shift. “Never Never” has become one of my favorite tracks. Check out the video and see why:



     Death Alley Motor Cult is one of those bands that you want to hang out with but you remember what your mom said to you about the company you keep. Their music is like that too, when you listen to it you feel dirty, dangerous, and cool, very very cool. The Outlaw Chronicles needs to be played at 11 and in a conspicuous place so you can “enlighten” those in need of a visceral experience.



     Sometimes I catch grief for listening to A7X, but this band gives me hope for newer music. upon the heels of suffering the loss of their founding drummer “The Rev” they have come back with strong music that has shaken up the pop laden music charts. Hail To The King pays homage to the bands that inspired these guys. Hail To The King:



     Clutch is one of those bands that will always remain just under the radar. Earth Rocker is a great album that unfortunately many people will not get to hear. Clutch is a band that gets ignored by the mainstream and yet I think they are happy with that. Great band, great show, great record. Do yourself a favor and listen to Earth Rocker and then dig into the music of Clutch. Here’s “Crucial Velocity”:



     Adrenaline Mob put out this CD of covers that is just incredibly awesome. They cover Van Halen’s “Romeo Delight” with the power and aggression that I think it deserved from the beginning. I usually do not put cover albums on my list, but this one has a place. Check this out:



     Last Patrol takes you on a psychedelic journey into the mind of Dave Wyndorf. Monster Magnet is back on their game with their latest release. Just caught these guys on tour in support of Last Patrol and the songs kick ass live!



     Mindcage came out of left field and socked me in the head with this one. Our Own Devices creates a magical world with their powerful music. I have said that is transports you away from the mundane and I stand by that statement. Here you go:



     Those of you who know me knew this one would end up on here. Zakk and co. have always and will always be one of my favorites. Unblackened gives new life to some of the most iconic BLS tracks. While the members may change, Black Label Society will remain STRONGER THAN DEATH.



     Of all of the great and wonderful 2013 releases on my list, this is most magical for me. Having considered Tracii Guns one of my favorite guitarists for years and years I was supremely stoked when I caught wind of this project. When I finally had it in my  hands it was all that I expected and then some. Trippy , ethereal and full of passion, and soul the music found on here is the kind we grew up listening to. Thank you Tracii!

     its loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL!!!

     the Hellion

An interview with Michael Sweet from STRYPER



Hot on the heels of the new STRYPER release “No More Hell To Pay” I caught up with vocalist/guitarist/founder Michael Sweet and had a great conversation. Kevin Chiaramonte of PFA (Paul Freundlich Associates) set this up so many thanks to him. Michael and I had a nice, relaxing conversation about life and music. Here is the link to the interview:

    Be sure to check out the new release from STRYPER  “No More Hell To Pay” out on Frontiers Records



it’s loud, it’s inspiring, it’s STRYPER!

the Hellion