Legendary Christian heavy metal band Stryper is hoping that fans will rally around them in order to make a documentary that's been "35 years in the making."

The band was formed in the early 1980s by brothers Michael and Robert Sweet, and shortly after they were joined by Oz Fox. They were the first Christian act to have crossover success in the world of heavy metal, opening for acts like Bon Jovi and Ratt. Associating with secular acts, along with their style of music and dress, often brought criticism from the wider Christian community, and now the band says it wants to tell the entire story in a documentary.

The band announced this week a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to produce the documentary themselves. They say they've been approached many times over the years to do a documentary but have been concerned by production companies attempting to edit their story.

"Remember playing Stryper cassettes back in the day for your 'non-church' friends who were listening to Ratt, Motley Crüe, & Poison?" the band writes on its Kickstarter. "By supporting the creation of this documentary, we’ll be able to bring this practice into the DIGITAL STREAMING AGE because you’ll have the ability to easily share this film/video with any non-believer friends."

The band already had a strong fanbase by the time it released its third studio album, To Hell With the Devil. The album, released in 1986, went platinum after spending three months on the Billboard charts and has sold over 2 million copies worldwide. The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music says Stryper was the first Christian band to achieve this crossover feat.

"So many people were encouraged to surrender their lives to God, get involved with church," Fox says because of the band's music and live shows.

The band was known for throwing Bibles into the crowd at their shows, and it's something that they still do. To date, they've given away around 250,000 Bibles in this way, but that was another thing that drew fire from Christians because they threw the Bibles. Jimmy Swaggart and his followers were even known to protest the band's concerts. 

"We've always had this motto of we'll play anywhere, anytime, with anyone," Michael says about playing alongside acts such as Poison and Motley Crue, who had anything but Christian messages in their music.

"Maybe we could have got played on the air more, but we felt so strongly about this that we decided to take the chance," Robert says about the talented band deciding to take to their message of salvation through Jesus.

The band hopes to release the film by December of 2023.