Line – Tribute to the families of Zakk Wylde & Michael Sweet

As loved ones pass on we find ourselves in grief for the loss. In the cases where pain and disease play a role, it is a bitter-sweet moment.

My Pop passed away from cancer in 2006; he was 60. It was bitter-sweet; I remember feeling happy for Dad that the pain, suffering and disease was gone, but at the same time so was he. And as a Christian it’s still bitter-sweet; one misses their loved one so much and is also happy because their loved one is home with the Lord.

The song “Line” on States was written in an attempt to express, both lyrically and musically, the dichotomy that is bitter-sweetness.

In recent weeks and days I have learned of the passing of some individuals (a pop and a wife) from the families of some musicians I admire a great deal, as well as the loss of Scott’s own Gran.

Firstly, Zakk Wylde’s Pop, Jerome F. Wielandt, passed away on January 19th. Zakk Wylde is an amazing guitarist—playing in his own band, Black Label Society, and with Ozzy Osbourne for many years. His style has been a great influence on me. Indeed his style, particularly the Pride & Glory/Book of Shadows era, heavily influenced the song “Line.”

Next, Scott’s own Gran passed away after an illness. Indeed Scott is one of my oldest and dearest friends. His loss is sure to echo back again through what will become the next Ameted album.

Lastly, Michael Sweet, guitarist and singer of Stryper, as well as having his own successful solo career, experienced a loss this week with the passing of his dear wife Kyle Rae Sweet. Kyle was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer in February of 2007. She passed away yesterday, March 5, 2009 after a long battle. My thoughts are immediately drawn to their children who are too young to have lost a parent.

It is my hope that somehow the tune “Line” might also offer comfort for my own brother in music, Scott, as well as the Wylde and Sweet families who have shared such great music with the world.

In much respect and deepest sympathy,
Brian T. Johnstone

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