Skillet went through several line-up changes early in their career, leaving founder John Cooper as the only original member remaining in the band. They have sold over 2 million albums in the U.S. alone and are known for a relentless touring schedule, which garnered them a top five ranking in the Hardest Working Bands of 2011 by Songkick.com.'
Skillet formed in 1996 with two members: John Cooper, former vocalist for Tennessee progressive rock band Seraph, and Ken Steorts, former guitarist for Urgent Cry. The two bands met through touring together, but those 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. After 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. In 1996 they released a self-titled debut Skillet. It was well-received, and the trio continued to write new material as they toured the United States. One topic that comes up often among fans and the band itself, is the name 'Skillet'. John Cooper, the lead vocalist, explains that it was a joke at first. Each starting band member was already in a separate band, and all decided to start a side project. Since each other band had a different sound and style to it, the side project was said to be like putting all of those styles in a big skillet to come up with something unique. Hence the band name 'Skillet'. The band name is still somewhat of a joke between the band members, especially Cooper, who claims to still not like the title.
Hey You, I Love Your Soul, Invincible, Ardent Worship and Alien Youth (1998–2003)
Skillet recorded their follow-up album throughout 1997, titled Hey You, I Love Your Soul, which was released in April 1998. Their second effort was a change in style from the band's first release. With this release, Skillet would abandon their post-grunge approach for a lighter alternative rock and style. His wife Korey was enlisted soon after to play keyboards live in order to alleviate John's live performance. Shortly before the band began recording for their third album, Invincible, Which John was originally planning on releasing it in fall of 1999, but got pushed back into 2000. Steorts left the band to be with his family and launch Visible Music College, a modern music ministry college located in Memphis, and Kevin Haaland joined the band as their new guitarist. Korey Cooper joined the band permanently and played keyboards for the recording of Invincible. Because of this change, the musical style on Invincible changed to a more electronic sound. Soon after the release of Invincible in early 2000, Trey McClurkin parted ways with Skillet, and Lori Peters filled the drummer's position.
The band released their first worship album, and fourth album overall, Ardent Worship in late 2000. The band kept much of their sound from Invincible on their next album Alien Youth. With little time between touring and recording.
Skillet released Alien Youth on August 28, 2001, which was the first album that John Cooper took on production duties. Before the release of Alien Youth, Haaland left the band, and Ben Kasica took over on guitar. The first single, the title track, was a major hit in the Christian market and drove Skillet into their first headlining shows
In 2003, Collide was released by Ardent Records. John Cooper wanted to release it in early 2004 but Ardent Records pushed it back to fall of 2003. It caught the attention of Andy Karp, the Head of A&R of Lava Records, and in 2004 the rights to Collide were bought by Lava Records, a division of Atlantic Records. On May 25, 2004, Collide was re-released under Lava Records, with an added track, "Open Wounds".Collide was yet another musical shift for the band. Citing P.O.D. as inspiration for the musical shift on Collide, Cooper said, "Well I’m one of these song writers, everything I hear goes through my John Cooper filter of what I like and what I don’t like. [...] All these things [...] have been an influence on me."
Comatose (2006–08) Edit
Skillet's album Comatose was released on October 3, 2006. It features the singles "Rebirthing," "Whispers in the Dark," "Comatose," "The Older I Get," "Those Nights," "The Last Night", and "Better Than Drugs". The album debuted at No. 55 on the Billboard 200 and No. 4 on the US Top Christian Albums chart.
In January 2008, Skillet announced that their drummer, Lori Peters, was retiring from the band, feeling that "it's time for her to come off of the road and start a new chapter in her life." Peters' last concert with Skillet was on December 31, 2007. However, during the 2007 Christmas season, she took the time to train Skillet's next drummer, Jen Ledger.
On October 21, 2008, Comatose Comes Alive was released; a CD/DVD combo featuring live recordings of the band's May 9, 2008 concert in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It was shown on the Gospel Music Channel on December 5, 2008. Skillet's Comatose Comes Alive CD also had a B-side with "Live Free or Let Me Die" as a single, also with five acoustic tracks which purchasers could download by inserting the CD in their computer.
The Comatose album was certified Gold in sales by the RIAA on November 3, 2009.
Skillet announced that they went into the studio January 12 to finalize the new record with Grammy-nominated producer Howard Benson. They added two songs ("Hero" and "Monster") from the new record to their setlist on April 2, 2009 in Evansville, Indiana as part of their Comatose Tour 2009.
Skillet's eighth album, Awake, contains twelve songs and was released on August 25, 2009. It charted at No. 2 on the Billboard top 200 selling around 68,000 units in its first week. "Monster" was released as a single on July 14, 2009. Contrary to popular belief, John Cooper stated that "Hero" was not the album's lead single. It was, however, released as a single in March 2010. They also released a deluxe version with the extra songs "Dead Inside" and "Would It Matter", along with the original, radio edit of "Monster" that does not have the distorted growl as in the single and in the CD. A remix on "Monster" was featured on one of their popular podcasts.The song "Hero" was used in the publicizing of the first football game of the 2009 NFL season between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans, and the song "Monster" was used in the episode "Jason: The Pretty-Boy Bully" on MTV's Bully Beatdown. "Monster" was the theme song for the WWE event WWE Hell in a Cell while the song "Hero" was the theme song for WWE Tribute to the Troops and Royal Rumble 2010, as well as both songs being included on the official soundtrack for the WWE video game WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010. It is also the opening theme song for the AHL team the Lake Erie Monsters in Cleveland, Ohio and serves as the opening theme of the Fresno Monsters of Fresno, California. "Monster" was aired at the beginning of several ACC football games on Raycom Sports during the 2009 season. In the first week of April 2010, it was released for the Rock band music store in Rock Band 2It also tied the record for highest-charting Christian album on the Billboard 200 with Underoath's 2006 release Define the Great Line and Casting Crowns' 2007 release The Altar and the Door, as all three albums debuted at No. 2.
Skillet was nominated for six Dove Awards for the 41st Annual GMA Dove Awards. Awake was certified gold July 2, 2010. Also in 2010, Ardent released The Early Years, a collection of their songs from 1996 to 2001. On November 12, Skillet released an iTunes sessions EP consisting of songs fromComatose and Awake. "Monster" was certified gold a day later.
On February 14, 2011, Skillet officially announced that longtime lead guitarist Ben Kasica would be leaving the band. Kasica was with the band for 10 years, contributing to the albums Alien Youth, Collide, Comatose, and Awake as well as the live album Comatose Comes Alive. He played what was planned to be his last concert with the band on March 20. The band announced that they had chosen solo artist Jonathan Salas as their new guitarist, but Salas confirmed he had left the band on April 9 via Twitter. Kasica returned and continued touring until a new guitarist was trained. On April 16, Seth Morrisonreplaced Kasica as the lead guitarist, and now tours full-time with Skillet.[unreliable source?]
Cooper and Ben Kasica. On March 2, 2011, Skillet unveiled the album artwork for the album. John Cooper says the idea was conceived when Korey Cooper and Ben Kasica remixed the song Monster for their popular podcast. The four-song EP was released on March 22.
"Awake" was nominated for and won the "Top Christian Album" Award at the Billboard Music Awards 2011, and the song "Awake and Alive" was announced to be on the Transformers: Dark of the Moon Soundtrack in May 2011.
On June 21, 2011 John posted to his Twitter account that the band rehearsed new music for the first time and that they are getting ready for a new album. At a question and answer session before a concert, John Cooper said that they would be recording a new record in January/February 2012. However, the band was then scheduled to headline the WinterJam Tour. In January 2012, Skillet announced that they will not be touring for most of the summer so that they can record the new album. They plan to enter the studio at the conclusion of the Winter Jam eastern tour, approximately in May, for a release in late 2012.
During a July 18, 2012 interview with RadioU, John Cooper stated the band currently had 61 songs written and would be heading into the studio in October to record the album with Howard Benson for an early 2013 release.
In an interview with CCM Magazine, John Cooper described the new album as "a roller coaster ride". He states: "We have aggressive tracks, artsy and musical tracks, which is new territory for Skillet. A couple songs are classic American heartland anthems, and a couple songs are signature symphonic-classical rock Skillet. Guitars are dirty and edgier, with absolute shredding solos by Seth." One of the songs mentioned in the interview was titled "Salvation".
gle and music video is scheduled to be released by late April. The first single from the album, "Sick of It", w
Unleashed (2015-18) Edit
Starting in June 2015, Skillet started to work on their ninth studio album. On August 5, 2016, "Unleashed" was released. On November 17, 2017, The album was re-released under the title, "Unleashed Beyond" with a couple new tracks in the album.
After the Unleashed tour ended in February 2019, Skillet started to work on a tenth studio album (or eleventh album overall), The album includes the singles "Anchor", "Legendary", "Save Me" and "You Ain't Ready". The album was released on August 2, 2019. The album was re-released in 2020 featuring 3 new tracks including "Dead Man Walking", "Sick and Empty", and "Dreaming of Eden". The album also includes 5 remixes/ re-imagined songs. The album is called 'Victorious: The Aftermath'.
Tours and FestivalsEdit
For a complete list of Skillet's tours, click here.
- Hey You, I Love Your Soul Tour
- Invincible Tour
- Alien Youth Tour
- Collide Tour
- Comatose Tour
- Awake and Alive Tour
- Monsters of Annihilation
- Road to Rise
- Christmas Rock Night
- Download Festival
- Epicenter Festival
- Glory at the Gardens
- Moondance Jam
- Night of Joy
- Nova Rock Festival
- Rock the Desert
- Rock the Universe
- Spirit West Coast
- World Pulse Festival
- John Cooper – lead vocals, bass guitar, acoustic guitar (1996–present); keyboards (1996–1999)
- Korey Cooper – rhythm guitar, keyboards, synthesizer, backing vocals (1999–present)
- Jen Ledger – drums, percussion, backing vocals, co-lead vocals (2008–present)
- Seth Morrison – lead guitar (2011–present)
- Ken Steorts – rhythm and lead guitar (1996–1999)
- Kevin Haaland – lead guitar (1999–2001)
- Ben Kasica – lead guitar (2001–2011)
- Jonathan Salas – lead guitar (2011)
- Trey McClurkin – drums (1996–2000)
- Lori Peters – drums (2000–2008)
Current touring, session musicians Edit
- Tate Olsen – cello (2008–present)
- Jarob Bramlett - drums, co-lead vocals (2019-present)
- Lacey Strum - percussion, backing vocals (2019-present)
Former touring, session musicians Edit
- Billy Dawson – rhythm and lead guitar (2000)
- Chris Marvin – rhythm and lead guitar, backing vocals (2002–2003, 2005–2006)
- Faith Stern – keyboards, vocals (2002–2003)
- Andrea Winchell – keyboards (2005–2006)
- Scotty Rock – bass guitar (2009–2011)
- Jonathan Chu – violin (2008–2015)
- Drew Griffin – violin (2017)
Main article: Skillet discography
- Skillet (1996)
- Hey You, I Love Your Soul (1998)
- Invincible (2000)
- Alien Youth (2001)
- Collide (2003/2004 re-release)
- Comatose (2006)
- Awake (2009)
- Rise (2013)
- Unleashed (2016)
- Victorious (2019)
This is a list of major releases only. Additional releases including EPs, live albums, singles, compilation albums and videos may be found at the full discography article.
Awards and recognitionEdit
- Grammy Awards
|2005||Best Rock Gospel Album (Collide)||Nominated|
|2007||Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album (Comatose)||Nominated|
- GMA Dove Awards
|2002||Rock Recorded Song of the Year ("Alien Youth")||Nominated|
|Modern Rock/Alternative Album of the Year ("Alien Youth")||Nominated|
|2003||Hard Music Recorded Song of the Year ("Vapor")||Nominated|
|2004||Modern Rock Recorded Song of the Year ("Savior")||Nominated|
|2007||Rock Recorded Song of the Year ("Rebirthing")||Nominated|
|Rock Album of the Year (Comatose)||Nominated|
|2008||Artist of the Year||Nominated|
|Rock Recorded Song of the Year ("Comatose")||Won|
|2009||Group of the Year||Nominated|
|Rock Album of the Year (Comatose Comes Alive)||Nominated|
|Long Form Music Video of the Year (Comatose Comes Alive)||Nominated|
|2010||Artist of the Year||Nominated|
|Group of the Year||Nominated|
|Rock Recorded Song of the Year ("Hero")||Nominated|
|Rock Album of the Year (Awake)||Nominated|
|Short Form Music Video of the Year ("Hero")||Nominated|
|2012||Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year ("One Day Too Late")||Nominated|
|Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year ("Lucy")||
- John Cooper doesn't like the band name "Skillet."
- Korey's full name is Korene Marie Cooper
- John wanted to name his first kid, "Phoenix."
- The first time Ben played a guitar, he almost lost a hand.
- John's parents never allowed him to listen to rock music, or any music with a drum beat.
- On average, Skillet goes through three pounds of cofee beans and four 32oz bottles of creamer a week.
- Skillet tours with various workout equipment.
- John Cooper is addicted to the soda Dr. Pepper.
- The "Rise" artwork was drawn by Jen Ledger.