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Posted July 10, 2017 by Always Acoustic in Interviews

Interview with John Cooper of Skillet

Like to plug in and turn the Marshall up to 11


Skillet performed and headlined the Rock White and Blue Festival at Great Lakes Naval Station in Great Lakes, Illinois on July 3rd. “It was a really cool experience,” remarked John Cooper.

On Friday July 7th, Aaron Keker chatted with John Cooper about John’s love of old school video games, the ballad “Believe” and the weirdest item he has autographed. “I’ve signed some prosthetic limb,” remarked John.

As the interview progressed, they discussed whether Skillet had scratched the  surface of their music potential. Cooper remarked, “I hope so. You never really know.” Regarding an acoustic tour, “We could do it, just don’t.” Spider-Man is one of John’s favorite superheroes and he is looking forward to watching Spider-Man Homecoming with his family. Cooper remarked, “I am excited about this because now it’s a part of the Marvel cinematic universe.”

Finally, John is hoping to return to the studio sometime after the 2018 Unleashed Tour. “I do hope sometime next year that I’m kind of back in the studio even if it’s on the second half of the year,” John remarked

AK: Skillet headlined at the Rock White and Blue Festival in Great Lakes on July 3rd. What was it like headlining for that festival?

JC: It was really cool! I loved it! We haven’t done a lot of military stuff. I’d like to do more to be honest because I got a real love for the military and the respect for what they do. It just hasn’t worked out yet. It was a really cool experience because there were lots of families there and tons of like five/six year old kids. (Laughter)

AK: (Laughter)

JC: Having a good time for the family and all that total great American summer fun to me. The carnival rides in the background. So it was really cool!

AK: Yeah! You also had that little boy come up and sing.

JC: Yeah! That’s right! (Laughter)

AK: Yeah! That was awesome!

JC: That was surely fun wasn’t it! (Laughter)

AK: Yeah!

JC: (Laughter)

AK: John, this past Monday [July 3rd] you amused the audience about your love of Nintendo’s Castlevania and video games. A two-part question. Do you prefer Xbox or PS4 and what video game are you currently addicted to when Skillet is not touring? JC: I prefer the PlayStation® unit to Xbox. My son has PS4 and the only game really that I ever play is the Arkham game[s], which I like all of them. Those are really amazing and they’re my son’s favorite. That one is kind of on rotation. I really love the Devil May Cry series. I think that they had four of them, I believe. Devil May Cry was probably my favorite. I was really addicted to that game. Other than that, I still have the original Nintendo on my bus.

AK: (Laughter)

JC: So most of the time I end up playing older games [like] Castlevania, Contra, Ninja Gaiden, you know old school.

AK: Yeah! One of my favorite Skillet songs of all time is “Believe.” Unfortunately every Skillet show that I’ve attended, it has never been performed. I did watch a You- Tube® video where Skillet performed “Believe” live and the audience loved it. Why does Skillet rarely perform “Believe” live?

JC: Gosh! It’s been a long time. We did do it a year maybe, I can’t remember. We usually do a few and it wasn’t one that seemed to be a fan favorite. You always kind of get an idea of when something is good. It was fun to play.

AK: Yeah! I remember when that song was released, “I was like man, you know, I wish this would be a single. This is an awesome ballad!”

JC: (Laughter)

AK: (Laughter) And it never came. Skillet has two certified platinum albums in Awake and Comatose and a gold album in Rise. Skillet has three singles that have been certified platinum in “Monster,” “Awake and Alive” and “Hero.” Unleashed debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart and Skillet’s “Feel Invincible” was used by the NFL, MLB and the NHL. Congrats on Skillet’s success so far! Do you believe that Skillet has just scratched the surface of their music potential?

JC: Well, I sure am having fun doing it right now. The answer is yes. I hope so. You never really know. I love every time we get to make a record. We get to try new things and new stuff excites me. Oh, my gosh I feel  like a kid again. This is so fun writing music. I had a great time making the Unleashed album and we did some new stuff and the fans really loved it. It kind of had that youthful like “Eye of the Tiger” thing, you know. (Laughter)

AK: (Laughter) Yeah!

JC: Have a good time, do it! I don’t feel out of ideas. I feel very inspired and I’ve been writing music and already turning in demos for the next project, even though we’re kind of far out from that still. I think that’s just a testament to how much I’m enjoying the fans; enjoying the road; playing the shows; seeing people sing the songs. It’s all been really fun. I hope that I get another twenty years in me; that would be good.

Oh, my gosh I feel like a kid again

AK: (Laughter) Always Acoustic will still be there supporting you, so you at least got our vote.

JC: (Laughter)

AK: (Laughter) In one of Skillet’s “Awake and Alive” videos on iTunes, there is a clip of the band signing skillets during the bands meet and greet. A two-part question. How many skillets have you signed over the years
and what is the goofiest item that you have autographed?

JC: I am sure we signed at least a thousand probably. We used to sell these tiny little skillets. It was kind of quite fun and funny. There were just heavy to take show to show, but they were cool. Signed a lot of those. Weirdest stuff I’ve signed, I’ve signed some prosthetic limb. I thought that was interesting.

AK: Yeah!

JC: I’ve seen people at shows who have had my signature tattooed on them. I think that’s the craziest thing!

AK: (Laughter)

JC: I’m like man, that’s pretty intense. So that’s kind of cool.

AK: Probably like, I better change my signature so people don’t think the person is John Cooper.

JC: Yeah! Write really good!

AK: (Laughter) Over the years, Skillet has released various acoustic songs from the albums like The Older I Get EP, Comatose Comes Live and iTunes Session. Would Skillet ever tour on an acoustic theme?

JC: We have done some things like that. To be honest, I don’t really love it. Some people really like doing that kind of stuff, I’m not one of them. I’m not saying never. I’m saying it’s not something [that] I’m dying to do. I’m sure we would. We do that kind of thing when we’re doing like radio promo[s]. We’ll do small shows and have radio there and play a couple of songs. I like it because I like the intimacy of meeting the fans.

AK: Yeah!

JC: I like the intimacy; people are paying attention to the lyrics. I like that, but I’m not like a huge fan of the way it sound[s]. I’m not like oh, acoustic music cool. You know, I kind of like to plug in and turn the Marshall up to 11.

AK: Right! Most of your songs are up-tempo. Definite change, you know in terms of the acoustic show.

I like the intimacy; people are paying attention to the lyrics. I like that, but I’m not like a huge fan of the way it sound[s].

JC: Yeah! We could do it, just don’t.

AK: John, I really enjoyed watching your Marvel Playback interview. It would have been hilarious if in one clip you had been wearing a Spider-Man suit.

JC: It would have been cool!

AK: (Laughter) Yeah! What do you think of all these Spider-Man reboots?

JC: Yeah, it would be awesome to have a Spider-Man suit.

AK: (Laughter)

JC: I don’t know if I’d be thin enough looking in it.

AK: (Laughter)

JC: I’d look like a wrestler version of it.

AK: (Laughter)

JC: Anyway, that would be weird. I love Spider-Man. He’s been my favorite since I was a kid. I always loved him and Batman. I’ve never loved the Spider-Man films. I kind of liked them just because they were Spider-Man. I like the Toby McGuire and I like the Doctor Octopus one, which was the second movie. I was not uber excited when the last ones came out because I thought it was a little too early. The only reason that I am excited about this because now it’s a part of the Marvel cinematic universe. So now it’s not just a Spider-Man movie, it’s tied into the other Marvel stuff with The Avengers, Iron Man and what not. They are crushing those movies. Some of these are so good. Civil War was amazing! The Spider-Man character, the art of that, really blew me away. Finally they’re making Spider-Man like he should be made. I haven’t seen it yet. I have very high

AK: Sweet! You plan on seeing it this weekend [July 8th-9th] or any time soon?

JC: I was hoping to do it today [July 7th], but I couldn’t. So I am going to do it Monday [July 10th]. Me and my family will go on Monday.

AK: Oh, that’s cool! Who knows you may have an opportunity to audition if there’s another Spider-Man reboot.

JC: Yeah! That’ll be good! (Laughter)

AK: (Laughter) With digital sales continuing to drop and more individuals streaming music, where do you see the record industry in five years?

JC: Well! I’m never good on knowing what trends are coming and going. It’s where computer and technology is happening. The thing that makes me feel good is that there’s always going to be an audience for rock. Whether it’s the mainstream of culture or on pop radio or whether it’s just as a niche, people love rock and they want to see it live. You can’t really replace that live experience. When I saw U2 recently, you’re a part of this kind of community of people that are all experiencing something together at once. That’s very different than just enjoying music at home. I get caught up in the moment when I go to concerts and I think and hope that Skillet fans do that. So, I’m not sure where this is going, but I do think that there is always going to be a market for live concerts because it’s community, it’s exciting, it’s fun, it’s uplifting and all of that stuff.

AK: Yeah! And you know, you see a Skillet show and you’re like, “Yeah, I love it!”

Finally they’re making Spider-Man like he should be made.

JC: Hopefully! (Laughter)

AK: (Laughter) I brought my family and I had like ten people there. [Rock White and Blue Festival]

JC: Wicked!
AK: They had left a little early during your set because my dad’s from California [and] it was a little chilly, but, you know, they got to see you guys perform and they really enjoyed it.

JC: Cool!

AK: You got another fan now! Final question. After Skillet’s Winterfest show in Lynchburg, VA on December 31st, what is next for Skillet?

JC: I’m sure that we’re going to be touring all next year. We’re working on stuff already. A lot of that will be in America. I assume we’ll be looking at going back overseas next year. It’s tentative as of this point. I’m pretty sure that we’ll be touring still on this record. I think it’s got a bit of life, but I do hope sometime next year that I’m kind of back in the studio even if it’s on the second half of the year. Dumping some songs down. Getting creative. Having a lot of fun and all that kind of stuff and looking to put out a new album. That’s kind of what I hope.

AK: Yeah! Be nice to, you know, maybe even hear next year like a new tune.

JC: Yeah!

AK: All righty sir! Well thanks for your time and you have a great weekend.

JC: It was nice chatting with you. Thanks very much. Have a great one.

AK: You too man! Bye!

JC: Bye!