John Landrum Cooper (born April 7, 1975), professionally credited as John L. Cooper, is an American musician. He has been the lead singer, bassist and co-founder of the Grammy-nominated American Christian Rock band Skillet since 1996.
John formed Skillet in 1996 with Ken Steorts. Both had met while touring for previous bands; John as vocalist for the Tennessee progressive rock band Seraph and Ken Steorts guitarist for Urgent Cry. The bands disbanded soon after; so John and Ken's pastor encouraged them to form their own band as a side-project. Coming from different styles of rock music, they decided to name the experiment Skillet. Soon afterwards, Trey McClurkin joined the band as a temporary drummer. Skillet was only together for a month when they received interest from major Christian record label, ForeFront Records, and were signed soon afterwards. Ken Steorts left the band in 1999 and Trey McClurkin left the band in 2000, leaving John as the only founding member of the band and primary songwriter.
John provided vocals for !Hero: The Rock Opera. According to a review, Cooper did not tour with the rock opera, he only provided vocals for the Rabbi Kai on the soundtrack.
John has the word "Fire" and "Fury" tattooed onto his knuckles. He says he got them before the writing of the the track "Fire and Fury " on the album Rise. Ironically, he stated (at Road to Rise in Chicago) that they are not related to the song; rather, to a bible verse.
He has his wedding ring tattooed on his finger.
He is currently working on a Marvel Universe leg sleeve.
John Cooper has stated on numerous occasions that he was born and raised in a very religious family. "You couldn't wear black, you couldn't listen to anything with drums, anything with guitars, you couldn't have long hair, you couldn't do this and you couldn't do that. Everything was so lifeless. I know I'd read the Bible and be like...'This isn't what the Bible says. I like the idea of living for Jesus, but I hate the idea of living for you.' Ya know?" (Creation Festival2010, YLO Interview)
Cooper is married to Korey Cooper, the keyboardist, and guitarist for Skillet. Both have tattooed wedding rings on their fingers, instead of the traditional jewelry bands. They have two children: Alexandria (born in 2002), and Xavier (born in 2005).
During a 2010 Creation Festival YLO Interview, John revealed that "early on, we decided we would never have kids on the road. We were not going to do it. And then God spoke to us later, just showing that God can change our minds, right? So then God starts speaking to me about kids, and I was like "Really? But we made a decision NOT to do it." and God's like "I don't care." So...that's how that happened! It was a big shock, because we were really against that, but then again we didn't know that Skillet would be going this long. I didn't know that I'd be 35 and still doing this."
Cooper is a huge fan of Dr Pepper, and can often be seen drinking it in numerous Skillet podcasts. This happens so often that former Skillet guitarist Ben Kasica referred to him as a professional soda connoisseur in one podcast. He has also started to like Ted's Escondido in Tulsa, Oklahoma and collects life-sized posters of Spider-Man and Batman.
In one podcast he made a comment that his pet peeves are bare feet and getting wet. He said that when he goes to the beach he wears his tennis shoes because he doesn't like having sand and dirt on his feet. He hates looking at people's feet and getting into pools. His nickname, often mentioned in Skillet podcasts, is "Doggy". Cooper has used Ibanez and switched to GMP after Ben Kasica joined the band. Starting with Comatose he began using Traben Phoenix bass guitars.
Name: John L. Cooper
Position in band: Bassist, Lead Vocalist
Birthday: April 7, 1975
Hometown: Memphis, TN
Family: Korey (wife), Alexandria (daughter - 10/23/02), Xavier (son - 7/27/05)
Pat (older brother), Seth (younger brother)
Previous jobs before Skillet: Janitor at my church
Education: 3 years at University of Memphis
Sports / Activities in High School: Basketball, student gov't, marching band
Hobbies: Sewing, Shopping, Collecting Toys & Arcade Games
Favorite things to do on days off: Movies
Guilty pleasure: Prince
Favorite food: Fajitas, lasagna
Favorite color: Purple
Why did you give your life to Jesus: My parents are Christians, so I grew up believing in God. I became a Christian when I was 5. I did not understand everything about God obviously, but I knew that it meant that my life was given to God. Even as a kid there was nothing else to live for. I always wanted to live for God but I did not always know how. My mom died from cancer during my freshmen year of high school. She was always the person that I looked up to because she was so in love with God. I didn't always live for God, and I had major compromise in my life. My life changed when I was 18 at a worship service. I had grown up in a very traditional church and setting. I went to this spirit-filled church (or whatever you call it!) and God changed my life. It was the first time that I had ever worshiped God. I was filled with the power and presence of God that day. That is also when the fire of God came in my life and started burning things away that weren't about Him. I met a man that started teaching me about God. I knew that I wanted to live for God, but I had so many areas to grow in. After about 2 years I finally had my life turned around and was living consistently for God. I have a passion to show people that there is more to a relationship with God than going to church on Sundays.
Something God has taught you recently: Most of the Christians that I know that are really living "in the world" are also compromised. I believe that God wants to give us power and release power in His people. This year I prayed that God would give me power in my life to see people healed and demons cast out and people to get saved from it. Jesus saw this every day, and we barely ever see it. I felt that God was saying to me, "to really see Me move in power in people's lives, you have to be in the world! But if you've not been trained in the Word and prepared to know Him radically, then you are not going to make it." This year I want to be in the world and be a radical voice for Jesus in my generation.
Who's had the biggest influence on your life: One of my pastors named Rick Miller
What is your favorite thing about doing what you do: Seeing people cry when they give their life to God at a show