Ok. This one is hitting close to home, for me.
For those who haven’t seen me discuss this at any other point along the way, it always seem to leave a few shocked to learn that I am a devoted “headbanger.”
Back in the day, I was the front-of-the-stage, security barrier leaner, or the backstage dweller for bands like Metallica, Anthrax, Corrosion of Conformity, and a lot of others you may not have heard of.
I wrote for various heavy metal publications and kept the roads hot, traveling from one show to another, whether at arenas or those dark and smoky, hole-in-the-wall rock clubs (my favorites).
These days, I still love metal, but my listening habits are more focused on Christian metal.
When I use that term, “Christian metal” it always gets a reaction.
The facts are, Christian metal is a thing, and has been for years. It’s the same as the traditional metal that most music aficionados are used to, except it is played by Christians, and quite often, the theme of the lyrics is Christian-focused.
Possibly the best known Christian metal band is Stryper.
They’ve been around since the 80s and are one of a few Christian bands to successfully crossover to the secular music market.
Tunes like “To Hell With the Devil,” “Honestly,” and “Soldiers Under Command” were in regular rotation on MTV, back when the “M” stood for “Music.”
I am a Stryper fan. I’m thrilled that Michael Sweet (lead vocals, guitar), Perry Richardson (bass), Oz Fox (guitar), and Robert Sweet (drums) are still out there, making music, and sounding as strong as ever.
The band took a 15 year break, from 1990, when they released the album, “Against the Law,” and reemerged in 2005, with the album, “Reborn.”
They’ve remained active since that time, releasing alums in 2009, 2011, two albums in 2013 (one of the alums, “Second Coming” was re-recordings of classic songs), 2015, and the latest album, “God Da*n Evil” (Don’t freak. It’s a play on words) was released this year.
They’ve also kept an active touring schedule, much to the delight of fans.
It was during a recent live show that tragedy struck the band.
While performing in Las Vegas, Nevada last Sunday, guitarist Oz Fox collapsed on stage and suffered a seizure. A CAT scan and MRI revealed two masses near his brain. One by his ear, and the other at the back of the head.
“After performing an MRI, doctors discovered an area of concern near his brain on which they will perform a biopsy. The doctors have instructed him not to drive or fly for 90 days,” the band said of the guitarist in an official statement.
Fox is married to Annie Lobert, the author and former sex worker who turned her life around and later formed the nonprofit group, Hookers for Jesus, aimed at rescuing women from the sex trade and bringing them Christ.
Giving an update on his GoFundMe page on Wednesday, Lobert wrote:
“The tumor by the ear is not as much concern as the one by the back of the right [side of the] brain. They are both inoperable,” she said, adding that the doctor recommended not removing them.
Fox was given two options: have a biopsy performed on the tumor located in the back of his head or wait it out.
“Please pray for this mass to NOT be cancerous, and that he will recover quickly!” Lobert wrote in the GoFundMe update. “Pray for the doctors’ hands to be steady and her mind to be sharp with wisdom and precision skill.”
“We don’t want to be in fear … we believe that God has a plan for this even though this is a serious and life altering trial!” the post continued.
I can’t think of a more positive way to approach what is surely a punch in the gut.
“The important thing right now is Oz’s health and well-being. Please continue to pray for him at this time. Pray for Annie and his family as well,” bandmate Michael Sweet wrote on Facebook Tuesday.
I agree. Pray for Oz Fox, his family, and his friends and bandmates, as well.
And if you feel so inclined, visit his GoFundMe page to help with the mounting medical bills, as it appears some of the care he needs is not covered by the insurance he has.
(No, I don’t know if he’s on Obamacare.)
You can find the link to his GoFundMe page here.
Prayers for health, strength, and peace are going up.
Hang in there, Oz.