Michael Sweet Of Stryper, ‘Heart Of Gold’ – Exclusive Video Premiere
We are pleased to present the exclusive video premiere of Michael Sweet's cover of the Neil Young classic 'Heart Of Gold.' The track comes off of Sweet's new solo album 'I'm Not Your Suicide,' set for release today.
The longtime Stryper frontman told Ultimate Classic Rock that the choice to cover 'Heart Of Gold' was an easy one. He says that as a songwriter, he's always loved the song and wanted to do his own version of it. As he was writing songs for the solo album, he realized that 'Heart Of Gold' would be a perfect fit.
His version has an interesting link to Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, who he counts as a friend. Mustaine's daughter Electra sings harmony vocals on Sweet's rendition of 'Heart Of Gold.' As he told us, after he had initially recorded the track, he had an idea to do a second version with a female voice.
"I was just kind of scouring the internet and talking about different voices. I came across Electra singing a Megadeth song on some news show out in Seattle, and it kind of blew my mind. I thought 'Wow, she's got a really sweet pure tone and it would be perfect on the song.' So I reached out to Dave who is a friend of mine and that was it. The door just kind of swung open and the next thing I know, we were getting her voice on the song. Dave produced her vocals. I sent them the tracks and they sent it back to me, and I just loved it."
Mustaine's connection with Sweet goes all the way back to the early days, when the future members of Stryper were making music as Roxx Regime.
"Dave came to our studio once to consider investing some money in the band," Sweet says. "You know, we didn't know anything about him and we didn't know what he was doing for that matter, but he wound up deciding not to do it because he didn't get the whole yellow-and-black thing and just didn't get what we were doing. Not long after that, we wound up doing a show with Metallica and Dave was still in the band and we just kind of grew up in the same area. We heard a lot about them and I'm sure they heard a lot about us. We never really became friends, and lost touch with each other. Just somewhat recently in the past few years, I've become really, really close friends [with Dave]."
Musically, Sweet had a clear direction for what he wanted to do with his take on 'Heart Of Gold.'
"I thought it was really important to stick to the original version in terms of certain things -- the key thing being the steel guitar. To me, it adds so much emotion to the song. Then you have the infamous [harmonica] intro and turnaround and outro melody thing going. I kind of stuck to that to a degree on the guitar solo, but I wanted to make it a guitar solo, because I'm a guitar player. I added a little chunk and just tried to make it a little heavier, but yet still retain the beauty and the greatness of the original."
The 'I'm Not Your Suicide' album drops on the same date with Sweet's new autobiography 'Honestly: My Life And Stryper Revealed' and as he tells us, it was a purposeful move.
"They were both done at the same time," Sweet says. "Even though the book dragged on and got reedited and rewritten, the album was done two years ago and we started on the book at the very same time. It was always the plan to release them simultaneously. That almost didn't happen, but I'm really glad that it did. I'm excited to see what everybody thinks about not only the book, but the album and vice versa, because to me they're equally important."
Watch the video for 'Heart Of Gold' above and visit Michael Sweet's website for more information regarding the new solo album and autobiography.