Skillet – Unity Main Stage Presented by Country Dairy – 2019


Appearing on Unity Main Stage Presented by Country Dairy – 2019 – Thursday, August 8, 2019

Skillet lets their music speak the loudest. That’s how the quartet has
cemented its place as one of the 21st century’s most successful rock
bands. Selling over 11 million units worldwide, the Wisconsin quartet—
John Cooper [lead vocals/bass], Korey Cooper [guitar/keys], Jen Ledger
[drums/vocals], and Seth Morrison [lead guitars]—have received two
GRAMMY® Award nominations and won a Billboard Music Award for the
platinum-certified Awake. Their double-platinum single “Monster” is “the
eighth most-streamed rock song of 2015” with a total of 57 million plays
(and counting) on Spotify and would earn the distinction of becoming “the
best-selling digital single in the history of Christian Music.” 2013’s Rise
bowed at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 upon release and received
resounding and eclectic acclaim from the likes of USA Today, New York
Times, Revolver, Loudwire, and more.
The group’s ninth full-length album, UNLEASHED [Atlantic Records], sees them turn everything up louder,
amplifying all aspects of their signature hypnotic sound. Channeling an intense muse, John immediately
commenced writing just months after Rise hit shelves.
“By the time Rise came out, I could take a little bit of a breather and experience it,” he explains. “I remember
thinking, ‘this feels important to me, but I need something a little more urgent.’ I didn’t want whatever we did
next to be so emotionally heavy. I wanted to make a record that made people feel the music – an album that
would connect people to the music as well as to each other. An album, like some of my favorites, that’d be
like a party to listen to – where people could sing along – together.
“At the same time,” he says, “It is also about not being fearful of who you are and breaking free from
stereotypes and expectations; knowing there may be a cost to this freedom, and willing to face the
consequences, because not being honest with ourselves, or honest with the world, is a steeper price to pay.”
That idea solidified as Skillet toured Europe in 2013 with Nickelback. Night after night, John watched the
non-English speaking audience sing every word back to him. It left an indelible mark on his writing process.
“It struck me, how music is much bigger than a language,” he affirms. “There’s a universal feeling. We
wanted to get that emotion across more through the music than with the words. I aimed to write songs
people could easily relate to anywhere and everywhere.”
Getting off the road in 2015, John headed to Los Angeles to begin recording what would become
UNLEASHED with producer Brian Howes—who helmed the 2006 platinum-selling Comatose and co-wrote
the platinum No. 1 smash “Awake and Alive.” Cutting half of the album with Brian, John tapped the talents of
multiple producers for the first time in Skillet history, working with both GRAMMY Award winning producer
Seth Mosley in Nashville and Kevin Churko [Five Finger Death Punch, Ozzy Osbourne, Disturbed] in Las
“Comatose was a very special album for a lot of reasons,” he continues. “We wanted to record with Brian
again and when the chance came up we were both ready to go. I’m also a huge fan of Kevin Churko, and it
was amazing to have the opportunity to write with him. When I met Seth we just clicked. The entire process
with each of them was such a great experience.”
“Feel Invincible” explodes to life on a swinging guitar chug transitioning to sweeping electronics and a
theatrical vocal call-and-response. Everything culminates on a towering chant that’s impossible to shake just
as a melodic guitar lead takes off.
“It’s a fight song,” says John. “Sometimes,
everything in the world makes you want to give up.
This is a reminder not to. I think, ‘This is my life. This
is my family. I can’t go around being scared all the
time.’ I have the strength to face what’s happening.”
“We are living in a world of violence, literally all over
the globe,” he continues. “It’s a dangerous world to
live in. Something could happen any time,
anywhere. And it seems that no one is safe. This
song is about finding something/someone who
makes you feel strong and safe. I found this in my
Christian faith. It’s the only reason I have found worth living; much less living with any real compass and
On the other end of the spectrum, the first single “Stars,” shines with a passionate and poetic refrain, “Here I
am, lifting up my heart to the one who holds the stars.” Amidst the shimmering electronics and orchestration,
it carries a message that John hopes will be easy to understand.
“It goes along with wanting to speak to as many people as possible,” he continues. “On a deeper spiritual
level, for those who may not believe, it’s saying that there’s something bigger out there. I think we
sometimes take for granted that God is in control of the BIG things. The sun will come up, the oceans will
ebb and flow, the earth will keep spinning because God is in control. But we have a hard time believing that
God is in control of small things too. He’s watching over me, taking care of my family, helps me when I’m
afraid, always with me when I’m empty or lonely. If He can hold the universe in place then He surely can
hold me in place. Securely.”
Whether it’s the snapping crunch of “Burn it Down” or the skittering crash and burn on “Out of Hell,” the
record exudes a propulsive energy that can speak to both sides of the band’s audience, whether they’re
sharing a bill with Disturbed or Lecrae.
“It’s been an amazing journey,” John concludes. “The fans, the Panheads, means everything to us. They’re
the reason we’re here. They make our shows what they are. We wanted to give that energy back to them in
Ultimately, this is Skillet at their most potent, pure, and powerful.


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