Christian band Skillet rocks
with message about finding peace
• "I think
we relate very well to lonely people, people who feel
that they don't deserve a second chance or they have
messed up in life." -- John Cooper
FRONT MAN: John Cooper
leads the band Skillet in a May 3 concert. / Photo
by Shannon Gibbs
By Shannon Gibbs
May 7, 2007 | Ask and ye shall receive. . . . (if
you had a ticket, of course) entrance into one of the
most anticipated concerts so far this year: Skillet,
live at In the Venue.
Hordes of eager concert-goers flocked In the Venue
on Thursday. Lines stretched around the block hours
before the show started. The diversity of those waiting
was amazing. Young and old alike were waiting for a
chance to rock with Skillet. Gothic crowds mixed with
Christian rock followers and everything in between,
all possible differences and stereotypes set aside in
order to come before a band that some refer to as a
The night started out with Ayin, a Utah band, followed
by Decypher Down. The audience jammed hard to these
opening acts. The excitement was contagious as all anticipated
the main event.
Lights dimmed . . . a hush overcame the entire venue
. . . slowly chants of "Skillet, Skillet,"
filled the room until it became a deafening cry. Then
out of the darkness came John Cooper, Korey Cooper,
Ben Kasaica and Lori Peters. All cheered then went quiet
as the soft pleas of Korey Cooper's piano keys became
heard. The crowd again broke into cheers and then into
a frenzy when the band slammed into Whispers in
Despite earlier problems that day with a tour bus
breakdown, construction in SLC, hindering transportation
to and from the venue and other locations, Skillet was
100 percent present and accounted for musically, spiritually
and every other way possible.
Skillet never stood still through the entire show.
The band's energy was amazing and seemed to only get
more intense as the night wore on, feeding of the crowd's
delight and entrancement.
The crowd grew more rambunctious and out of nowhere
the body surfing began. At least 10 to 15 people were
surfed from the middle of the audience to the front
of the stage, where security had to grab them to keep
them from hitting concrete underfoot. The music raged
on, seeming to thrive off the crowd and antics involved.
At one point an audience member somehow got backstage
and out of nowhere came flying across the stage, then
suddenly he threw out his arms and did a swan leap into
the audience. Everyone went wild, The band later commented
that they thought it was one of their own who decided
to just go nuts and jump into the audience but realized
it was a fan when there were no gaps in music.
The show continued at an amazing pace and level of
energy. Skillet took a few brief moments to thank all
who came and show appreciation to all the "Panheads,"
the name for the band's fans. They made a few jokes
about fry pans and the like, even suggesting that if
anyone wanted to come up with a new name for the band
they could go ahead and post it on Skillet's MySpace
page and the band would consider all posts.
All in all the interaction between Skillet and its
fans was amazing and they only seemed to feed of each
other and become more interactive within the venue.
This show was definitely a cut above the rest, proving
yet again that Christian rock can be everything mainstream
rock is and then some.
After the show I had an interview with the band. I
was impressed that after all the energy and emotion
they expended, they still had more in reserve and seemed
to anticipate another chance to talk about their songs
and the meanings behind them.
Here's the transcript:
Shannon HNC (Hard News Café) -- Well,
first off, I didn't know you guys were a Christian rock
band; I had no idea till I started doing research.
John Cooper (Skillet Lead Singer/bass)
-- (Laughs) Cool, that's funny, 'cause people say that
all the time.
HNC -- What song do you believe expresses
your beliefs the most?
John Cooper -- Oh man. . . . Maybe
Rebirthing, which is the first song on the
new record. Umm . . . probably because it encompasses
so many things. It can be interpreted so many different
ways, a lot of which kind of what we want to express.
Simply put . . . second chances, it's kind of a song
about starting over again. . . . I think we relate very
well to lonely people, people who feel that they don't
deserve a second chance or they have messed up in life,
in a relationship or spiritually or whatever it may
be, and that they can never come back to where they
started from, never start over again, top late. So I
believe what I'm singing is about that, someone that
is unhappy. . . .
HNC -- Wow . . . that's awesome.
What's the worst cliché or stereotype you have encountered
as a Christian rock band?
John Cooper -- Oh gosh. . . . Where
do I begin? A better question would be what cliché do
you not hear (laughs.) it is the case that people kind
of do (stereotype), not as much as they used to 'cause
there have been some really great Christian bands that
have gotten so much acceptance, like P.O.D. and Switchfoot,
ya know, that those people will be like, "Oh so
it's OK." There is a bit of people like, "Oh
you're a Christian band," so they think that maybe
we're there to judge them all the time so they can't
be themselves, so we people will always be like, "Get
the f--- (Covers mouth) I mean get the freakin'."
All the time, ya know, 'cause they think, "Oh,
they're a Christian band; we gotta act really . . ."
and we're like, "Hey, we wanna be real with people,"
ya know, and have fun.
HNC -- That leads me to my next question.
Utah is predominately LDS.
John Cooper -- Mormon, is that what
that is? OK, haven't heard it called that.
Korey Cooper -- Latter-day Saints
HNC -- Politically correct now is
LDS instead of Mormonism.
John Cooper -- Oh really, oh, I didn't
know that. OK. Good to know, "Whitey." Just kidding.
Ben Kasaica - "Crackah."
HNC --I was just wondering what you
think of "Mormonism" as a whole? Because Mormons
say they are . . . Christians and a lot of people are
like, "No you're not, it's a cult."
John Cooper -- Yeah, I know what
you're saying. . . . I mean, I have latterly only known
a few LDS people in my life. Where I'm from, I'm trying
to think. . . I've always got along great with them,
there's never really been any issues there.
Korey Cooper -- I think that they
are a really moral people. When I think of Mormons I
think of really moral people. But there is a big difference.
John Cooper -- Yeah, I think there
is a difference.
Korey Cooper - The beliefs of Christians
and Mormons have some overlap, and there is a big difference
between, I think, the foundations of it, but they are
really moral people.
John Cooper -- But probably what
I would want to key on is the fact that . . . and maybe
this is, ya know the thing, maybe the stereotypes we
wanna break down for us is that we don't feel in our
music that our job is to be telling everybody what there
doing wrong. That's not really the message we wanna
get across. It's not really about "What do you
think about Catholics or this or. . . ." Its kinda
like. well, more of what we wanna focus on is the fact
that there is hope in this world. And even though it
is getting darker, teen suicide rates and teen depression
rates are up, even though those things are happening,
that we want to be a voice of hope kinda, to a lost
generation. So we wanna focus on what brings us together
as opposed to what separates us. . . . Can I get an
HNC -- In all the research I did
(for this interview) I didn't come across anything about
what you guys believe as far as the Devil goes, or Satan.
John Cooper -- Oh, in terms of like
do we believe in him?
HNC -- Well, personally I think you
would have to if you believe in God.
John Cooper -- (laughs) Well. yeah.
but there are some different views about that to. I
don't really know exactly what avenue you're going for.
HNC -- I guess like, do you believe
there is one God, there's one Devil.
John Cooper -- Right. . . . I do
believe that. We all believe that. I believe there is
one God, one devil, but he has many co-workers (laughs)
minions. And I do think there's a lot of times, and
I think Christians can really do this too much I think.
Christians can blame the devil for a lot of things that
humanity is just doing wrong. Humans are just. . . .
We do lots of evil things, whether we're provoked by
the devil or not. And I find it interesting, it's not
just Christians probably, but for instance, a lot of
times it's the same people that don't believe in God
that will kinda get a little bit mad at God when something
bad happens. Like September 11th -- "Why would
God do this to us," this is there thing, and kinda
like was it the Devil or is it just that fact that man
is evil and needs to be redeemed . . . in an incredible
way. So I do think the devil is at work and he wants
to lie to people and he wants to keep people down, he
wants to hurt people and that's what we're really combating
against I think ya know.
HNC -- Wow. . . . Well I just have
a few more questions; I was wondering what you guys
think the essence of rock 'n' roll is? And if there
is a Bible verse that would describe that?
John Cooper -- Gosh… For me the essence
of rock 'n' roll is passion. And that is why I don't
believe even as a Christian that rock 'n' roll is evil,
and there are a lot of Christians that do think that.
In fact I was raised that way, I couldn't listen to
anything with a drumbeat, anything with guitars for
years and years. Even Christian music, my parents wouldn't
let me listen too, like Amy Grant. . . . She was the
devil's temptress. . . . But the thing is I think that
it was just about passion, "This is my moment to sing
about what I'm most passionate about in the whole world.
It's my time, my song to say to everybody on the whole
planet if I could." That's what rock 'n' roll is about.
HNC -- So is there a Bible verse?
John Cooper -- (Laughter) No, it
would be a stretch, a lot of people would say weird
things but there all a stretch, like in Psalms, it says,
"I will worship with a stringed instrument and
symbols," ya know, but I don't think King David
was talking about rock 'n' roll music but, ya know,
not that far off. In n the end I believe that music
was created by God and I do think that music is eternal,
it will be never-ending in heaven.
HNC -- My last couple questions are
from my daughter, Echo. She is 12 and she loves you
guys. As a fan she feels like a lot of bands you can't
get personal with and what she wants to ask you on a
personal level is what are your favorite colors?
John Cooper -- Nice
Ben Kasaica -- Silver, cause it reflects
all the colors
(All laugh, hear "Oh my gosh, are you serious,
I have never heard that.")
Koery Cooper -- Mine's black, I like
Ben Kasaica -- Yeah black's cool.
John Cooper -- Mine is purple; yeah
I don't know it's a little bit weird but. . .
(Background- Royalty, that's purple.)
Lori Peters -- Red, ill go with red.
I like red a lot.
HNC -- In closing, is there any one
message you would like to send out to the youth today?
Cause a lot of your songs are like that, like Looking
John Cooper -- Ya know if I could
sum up, say one thing, it would be Looking for Angels
really. Which is the idea of course is that there is
just so much darkness in the world and so much evil
and depression. That song really kinda lists everything
from wars to senseless violence, to racism, to drug
abuse, to internet pornography, in the whole thing.
There's so much going on, you can kinda look around
and it's easy to ask yourself the question, "Is
this ever going to OK? Is there anything in life worth
living for?" I hope the people find, in our music,
maybe a little bit of peace to those questions. And
Looking for Angels, has a little bit of a twist
which is not just yes there is hope but also like "What
are you going to do to make this world a better place,
to help someone who is needy . . . the poor or whatever
that may be." To reach out to someone else and
connect. I think that were not really connecting like
we need to. Its one of the things that I find really.
. . . It seems to me people are connecting less then
when I was younger except there are more forms of communication
now, in that its all impersonal. All this massive technology
that we have accomplished but we are really reaching
out to one another less and less. And I think the American
Dream is a little bit to blame for that, that it's all
about me and that it's all about my money and the kingdom
of . . . me.
Korey Cooper -- The Kingdom of Self.
John Cooper -- Yeah, the Kingdom
of Self . . . and so I think that's the message. Yes,
the world is getting darker but there is hope and why
don't you be a part of the solution to someone else
and you just might find that when you begin to reach
out to someone else that you don't feel so lonely.
BEN IN BLACK: Ben Kasaica
wears his favorite color. / Photo by Shannon Gibbs