If there's a single word to describe drummer/"Visual Time Keeper" Robert Sweet when he was just wetting an appetite for a career in music, it would simply be "driven." Sure, having a famous family who included a mother, grandmother and aunt who toured together in "Gunsmoke," a father who co-wrote the chart-topping country song "I Don't Want To Have To Marry You," plus an ongoing collaboration on RCA Records between both musical parents certainly didn't hurt, but even on his own accord, Robert took up an intense appreciation for his primary instrument at a mere nine years old and often played alongside his brother Michael on their folks' sessions.
As a teenager, his dedication to playing and recording around L.A. proved even more tenacious, rapidly laying the groundwork that would produce his future founding role in Roxx Regime prior to its rebirth as Stryper.
But just as the foursome comprised of Robert, Michael, guitarist Oz Fox and bassist Tim Gaines was falling into place, Robert got a call from long time Sunset Strip friend/Ratt singer Stephen Pearcy asking him to join the burgeoning metal men, though he politely declined. "What a compliment that was! I remember telling him I'd love to, but I've gotta hang with my brother," recollects Robert. "Part of me wishes I would've played on that first record Out of the Cellar, which was incredible, though Bobby Blotzer was awesome and fit just great. There were lots of opportunities for all of us and we could've done things differently, but we really knew what we were going to do musically, plus on the spiritual side of things, I believe God really had his hand on us. We were just a bunch of naïve kids with our hearts in the right place who weren't perfect by any means, but at one point felt like we were on cruise control with God at the wheel pushing the buttons while we were along for the ride truly stunned as we watched it happen!"
After quickly establishing themselves throughout the hard rock/metal scene, the guys signed with Enigma Records, changed their name to Stryper and spent the rest of the 1980s on a rocket ride to success. Classic albums such as Soldiers Under Command, To Hell With The Devil and In God We Trust helped propel the band to selling upwards of 10 million records around the world, while other milestones include a Grammy nomination, scoring multiple Dove Awards and becoming the first band to simultaneously have two songs ("Free" and "Honestly") in MTV's Top 10.
In spite of such enormous successes, Stryper soon found themselves in the midst of a record label transition once the '90s rolled around, alongside the ever-increasing influence of the grunge sound emerging out of Seattle. Though the group soldiered on through the more experimental (and in hindsight, quite extraordinary) Against The Law album and tour, members went their separate ways shortly thereafter.
With Stryper on hold, Robert went to work as a session player, joined King James alongside guitarist Rex Carroll (Whitecross), singer Jimi Bennett (Sacred Fire) and studio bassist/fellow Stryper mate Gaines, collaborated on several projects with master guitarist Bill Menchen, recorded with the rock band Titanic, released the solo record Love Trash (named and designed by the record label contrary to his wishes, though he can still stand behind the lead off track "Help Me To Help Myself"), followed by time in the Canada-based rockers Blissed.
Following a few one-offs (including some Stryper expos and the mammoth Cornerstone Festival), the group finally got back together for good to celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2003, marked by the Hollywood Records compilation 7: The Best of Stryper, a full-fledged tour, the 7 Weeks: Live in America, 2003 CD and the Greatest Hits: Live in Puerto Rico DVD. The group spent the next decade rebuilding the band on the road and in the recording studio, but by 2013, Stryper's creative and commercial renaissance was back in full swing on Frontiers Records with No More Hell To Pay landing at #6 on Billboard's Top Rock Albums Chart, #2 on the Christian Albums Chart and #35 on the entire Billboard Top 200. Just two years later, Fallen placed on no less than eight charts, including #2 on Top Hard Music Albums, #5 on Top Current Rock Albums, #2 on Billboard's Top Christian/Gospel Albums and #44 on the Billboard Top 200.