Oz Fox shares how Stryper’s ‘Against The Law’ album was a huge milestone for him and his guitar playing
Stryper recently celebrated the 30th year anniversary of the release of their album Against The Law. That record was a real departure for the Stryper band members since they made many changes including straying away from their trademark yellow and black colours as well as their Christian lyrics. The group received a lot of push back from its fans but guitarist Oz Fox recently shared how much the record means to him.
The following message was posted on Fox‘s Facebook page two days ago:
“Yesterday was the anniversary of the release of “Against The Law.” This was an album that caused a lot of controversy with fans. We walked away from the format we started with and changed everything from songwriting to wardrobe. The limited amount of stripes were different colors per member. Even the Stryper logo was changed beyond recognition.
The record label tried to come up with unorthodox ways of marketing the album. An interesting fact, they were twisting our arms to change. They wanted to see the band transition away from the previous sound and look. We were told to deliver an album that sounded more raw. That went back to our roots. It’s hard to say what would have happened if we had decided not to listen to them. They seem to be the only label that believed in us at the time so we did the only thing we thought we could do… we delivered a hard rock album that satisfied what the label wanted. In my opinion, a masterpiece!
On the previous album, In God We Trust, I recall being very depressed about my guitar playing. I was in a real bad way towards myself as an artist. I wanted to be better. So I got an offer from a good friend to learn some basic theory. I recall spending hours and hours trying to reshape my playing. Trying to memorize patterns on my fretboard. Studying other great players in detail. As the months passed I begin to feel more satisfied about myself and my playing.
The time came when we had to deliver this new album the record label was asking for. I felt ready. We recorded basic demos at Robert‘s house then took that music mix to Michael‘s then home studio and spent time honing in the vocals. All of us worked on the music. Creating, writing lyrics, producing, coming up with ideas. It was definitely a team effort.
We took those demos to Tom Werman and he agreed to work with us. He brought on his engineer Eddie Delena. Eddie was pretty sharp! I learned a lot from him. We all spent hours and hours getting these songs recorded. We definitely stretched ourselves and experimented with different ways to do things. It was very similar to previous projects but way different as far as the vibe goes. But the real test for me was yet to come.
All the music theory I worked on had to be put to the test. Instead of being frustrated I was having fun laying down solos! I even invited a handful of friends to come in and cheer me on while I recorded them! Lol. Tom Werman called it “The men’s club!”
The day came when executives from Enigma Records walked in to hear how things were going. I sat down on the couch positioned in a sinked area in front of the mixing console. I don’t think anybody knew I was there and I didn’t feel like getting up to say hi. After they had heard a few songs I heard someone ask, “did you get a new guitar player?” They were told it was me and then I heard them say “THAT’S OZ????” A big smile came on my face. All the hard work paid off! Sometime later Tom called my house and left me a long complimentary message about my playing on my voice message recorder. I can’t tell you how good that made me feel! I don’t think any kind of Xanax could replicate the feeling.
Love or hate the album, Against The Law was a huge milestone for me. I will always see that album as one that brought me out of a deep hole. My lifestyle at that time wasn’t so honorable, but that’s another story. I just wanted to clarify how much this album meant to me and how blessed I was to be able to do it. As a matter of fact, every album I’ve been involved with has a special place in my heart. The hard work that goes into creating music and recording it is like no other work experience I’ve ever had. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to do it due to my health, but I’m so glad for what we have accomplished. Not to mention all of the people who have been affected in a positive way from the band. God has used and still uses Stryper. I recently said to the guys that if anything were to happen to me, please keep the band together and keep it going. The world needs what Stryper sings about and that’s all about Jesus! Thanks for spending the time to read this…
PS: does everyone know that Randy Jackson played bass on ATL‘s Shining Star?”
Stryper‘s “Shining Star” video: