On January 24th Skillet will grace the stage at the American Airlines Center in Dallas Texas. With their eighth album under their belt, Skillet has proven that Songkick may have had it right, "they are the hardest working band in the business".
John Cooper, lead vocalist and founding member, found a moment in his perpetually busy schedule to discuss the rigors of life on the road and the faith that moves them all.
John is gregarious and talkative, an easy conversation in which he acts like he is just talking to an old friend. The conversation could've continued for hours, it is relaxed and candid. He speaks of the band and himself interchangeably, as if they are one in the same. It is refreshing to interview an artist who remains positive and sincerely appreciative for their success.
Below is part one of that interview:
SM: Skillet has been a band since 1996, How do you push yourself to continue and keep the faith after so much time?
JC: Because I love music. It was all I ever felt good about. In school, I didn't do very good, I never was one to be able to build things. Music was what moved me as a kid. It was the perfect antidote When I was 13 I discovered Christian music and it gave me hope. I see the same effect In our fans, how it encourages people.
SM: Skillet has been called the hardest working band in the industry. How do you feel about that label, is there some truth to that?
JC: I don't know that we are THE hardest working band in the industry, we definitely work hard and tour hard. In the beginning, all these cool things started to happen, doors started to open that we never thought possible. We were already out on Christian tours when we started to break into secular markets, so we started touring in two different markets. I mean, just this year we broke into other countries and we were like, 'well, let's do this too'.
SM: Speaking of two markets, Skillet was originally on a Christian label, how is that different from being on a Mainstream label and playing more secular markets?
JC: Really the biggest difference is in getting played. Mainstream radio didn't know what to do with us. And of course that if you are a Christian band then they assume you have to tour with Christian bands.
SM: After all this time, Billboard still considers Skillet as a "Christian act" , even though you obviously have mainstream success, is that frustrating?
JC: I'm not bothered. It's just semantics. Let me make this very clear- we are in no way ashamed of our faith or my Christian roots. We are serious bout our faith. But anyone, even an Atheist can relate to our music, we sing about human issues, the human condition.
SM: Some would question how Skillet justifies being a Christian band and being on tour with bands that may not hold the same positive message that Skillet does.
JC: We tour in the real world. Just like a real job. You can't control other people or their behavior. You can choose to be the light in the dark place. Which is what Christians are called to do. I actually think that a 16 or 17 year old that wants to live a life in Christ and comes to a secular concert with not such positive behavior, then seeing Skillet may be a positive thing, It tells them that they can be bold in their faith....(to be continued)
Part two of this article will review the show at American Airlines Center in Dallas. It will also continue the discussion with John Cooper on the relationships within the band and how being married to a band member has some unique challenges and rewards.