Artist Biography

Skillet is a Christian rock band formed in Memphis, Tennessee in 1996 and based in the United States. The band currently consists of husband and wife John (lead vocals, bass) and Korey Cooper (rhythm guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), along with Jen Ledger (drums, vocals) and Seth Morrison (lead guitar). The band has released eight albums, two receiving Grammy nominations: Collide and Comatose.[1] Awake has been certified Platinum and debuted on No. 2 on the Billboard 200, with Comatose certified Gold by RIAA.

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[not verified in body] and are known for a relentless touring schedule, which garnered them a top five ranking in the Hardest Working Bands of 2011 by[2]

Band history

Self-titled and Hey You, I Love Your Soul (1996–1999)
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.[3] 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.

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 duties.

Invincible, Ardent Worship, and Alien Youth (2000–2002)
Shortly before the band began recording for their third album, Invincible, 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.[4] 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.[4] 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.

Collide (2003–2005)
In 2003, Collide, the band's sixth studio album, was released by Ardent Records and contained ten singles, including "Savior" and "Collide". This album was extremely popular[citation needed] and it soon caught the attention of Andy Karp, the Head of A&R of Lava Records. In 2004 the rights to Collide were bought by Lava Records, an imprint of Atlantic Records. On May 25, 2004, Collide was re-released by Lava Records, with "Open Wounds" as an added track. The album was nominated for "Best Rock Gospel Album" in 2005. 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."[5]

Comatose (2006–2008)
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.[6]

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."[7] Peters' last concert with Skillet was on December 31, 2007.[8] However, during the 2007 Christmas season, she took the time to train Skillet's next drummer, Jen Ledger.[8]

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.[9]

The Comatose album was certified Gold in sales by the RIAA on November 3, 2009.[10]

Awake (2009–2011)
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,[11] contains twelve songs and was released on August 25, 2009.[12] It charted at No. 2 on the Billboard top 200 selling around 68,000 units in its first week.[6] "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.[13] 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. "Monster" would also become the theme song for the AHL team the Lake Erie Monsters in Cleveland, Ohio, being played in the player intros and after a Lake Erie goal, 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. The song would become a marching band recording and be performed by schools all across the country because of its booming sound and lyrics. In the first week of April 2010, "Monster" was released for the Rock band music store in Rock Band 2[14] It 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.[15]

Skillet was nominated for six Dove Awards for the 41st Annual GMA Dove Awards.[16][17] Awake was certified gold July 2, 2010.[18][19] 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 from Comatose and Awake.[20] "Monster" was certified gold a day later.[21]

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.[22] 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.[23] On April 16, Seth Morrison replaced Kasica as the lead guitarist, and now tours full-time with Skillet.[24]

Skillet announced the release of Awake and Remixed EP in early March 2011. The remixes were mainly done by Korey 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.[25]

"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.[26]

Rise (2011–present)
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.[27] 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.[28]

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".[29]
In an Interview on January 26, 2013 in Beaumont TX, John Cooper announced that the new album, Rise, would be coming out in May 2013,[30][31] but was later scheduled for a June 25, 2013 release.[32][33] In an interview with NoiseCreep, John Cooper stated the first single and music video is scheduled to be released by late April.[34] The first single from the album, "Sick of It", will be released to US Rock radio on April 23, 2013.[35] It was later confirmed that the first single, "Sick of It", would be released on April 9, 2013.[36] The album debuted at No.4 on the Billboard 200 and No.1 on the Top Rock Chart and Christian Album charts selling 60,000 copies in US alone during the first week of the release.[37] Rise received critical acclaim as well.

The band performed the title track off Rise on the July 11, 2013 airing of Conan.[38]

Skillet was nominated and won a Dove Award for Rock Song of the Year for their song "Sick Of It".[39]

Musical style
The band's style has been described as rock,[40] Christian rock, Christian metal,[41][42] alternative rock,[43][44] hard rock,[41][44][45] nu metal,[46][47] and symphonic metal.[46] The band's eponymous debut album characterized by its grunge influences, while their follow-up album, Hey You, I Love Your Soul was noted for "its electronic elements and industrial feel."[48]

Allmusic reviewer James Christopher Monger described the band's musical style as a fusion of "alt-metal, hard rock, post-grunge, and soaring alternative rock," in his review for the band's 2013 album, Rise.[49]

In the middle of 2006, Korey Cooper took a break from performing, due to her pregnancy with her second child. Her rhythm guitar and keyboard roles were temporarily filled by two people: Andrea Winchell (who would later become the Coopers' nanny) on keys and Chris Marvin (lead singer/guitar of The Spark) on guitar.

Skillet toured with Ron Luce and Teen Mania Ministries on their Acquire The Fire Tour across the United States and Canada in 2007. When they returned, Skillet had plans to co-headline the Justice & Mercy Tour with Flyleaf, but the tour was postponed and ultimately canceled after a number of shows due to Flyleaf lead vocalist Lacey Mosley's vocal problems. They then toured with Luce's Global Expeditions program on a summer missions trip with teenagers to Mexico. In 2008 they joined Teen Mania Ministries and toured with Acquire the Fire.

Skillet joined Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, and Seether on the first half of their tour in fall 2007.[50] Then Skillet headlined their own Comatose Tour alongside Thousand Foot Krutch and traveled to approximately 30 cities. The tour started on March 28 and ran through May 11, 2008.[51] Skillet toured again from April 2009 through June 2009 with Decyfer Down and Disciple. This tour was called Comatose Tour 2009 (essentially a second branch of the 2008 Comatose Tour). In fall of 2009, Skillet began touring with Hawk Nelson, Decyfer Down, and The Letter Black to promote Skillet's album Awake. The Awake & Alive Tour encompassed 52 cities from October through January.

Skillet appeared at the 2009 Night of Joy Christian Rock festival at Disney Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World.[52] This marked the band's first absence from Universal Studios Orlando's Rock the Universe in five years due to conflicting schedules. However, they were able to perform the following year, in 2010. On September 26, 2009, Skillet appeared at Awakening Music Festival in Leesburg, Virginia, alongside Jeremy Camp, Kutless, Hawk Nelson, Disciple, Decyfer Down, and others. Skillet also played at the Super Dome in New Orleans for the ELCA National Youth Gathering in 2009.

Skillet headlined two separate Rock the River tours, run by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and hosted by Franklin Graham. Those tours were Rock the River: Midwest in the summer of 2009 and Rock the River: West in the summer of 2010.

In January 2010 they toured with Puddle of Mudd and Shinedown through the East Coast of the United States.[53][54] They also announced on their live chat with fans on December 5, 2009 that they would be touring with TobyMac in March and April 2010. This was later expanded upon as the "Awake Tonight Tour" named after both artists' new albums.[55] House of Heroes joined them on the tour as the opening act.

In April and May the band continued on a second branch of their Awake and Alive tour with The Letter Black and Red.[56][57] In April it was also announced that the band would be touring with Creed and Theft in August and September 2010.[58] In October the band will be co-headlining the "Monsters of Annihilation Tour" with Papa Roach. Trapt and My Darkest Days will be supporting acts.[59] They toured again with TobyMac in November and December as the 2010 version of the Winter Wonder Slam tour.[60] On July 4, Skillet played at Creation Festival East and John Cooper called it the best show of Skillet's career.[61]

In January 2011, Skillet confirmed that they would be touring with Stone Sour and Theory of a Deadman on the Avalanche Tour. The tour began at the end of March 2011 and concluded on May 8 in Jacksonville, FL. Other supporting acts include Halestorm and Art of Dying. The band had a small international tour in January and February 2011 visiting Australia,[62] New Zealand's Parachute Music Festival,[63] and Japan.

In October 2011, the band continued their Awake and Alive tour with Disciple, We As Human, and Manafest.

Announced in October 2011, Skillet are headlining the 2012 Winter Jam tour for the central and eastern parts of the United States.[64][65]

Starting on August 13, 2013 Skillet toured with Shinedown, Papa Roach, In This Moment, and We As Human, on the Carnival of Madness tour.[66]

Skillet started 2014 co-headlining the Roadshow 2014 with Third Day during January and February. The tour included Jamie Grace, Andy Mineo, We as Human. Upon completion, the band will continue co-headlining alongside Third Day that will count with Mandisa, Brandon Heath, Jamie Grace and We as Human as opening acts. Then the band is scheduled to tour with TobyMac and Lecrae in May alongside Capital Kings, Tedashii, and We As Human.

Band members

John Cooper – lead vocals, bass guitar (1996–present)
Korey Cooper – rhythm guitar, keyboards, backing vocals (1999–present)
Jen Ledger – drums, vocals (2008–present)
Seth Morrison – lead guitar (2011–present)

Kevin Haaland – lead guitar (1999–2001)
Ben Kasica – lead guitar (2001–2011, 2011)
Trey McClurkin – drums, backing vocals (1996–2000)
Lori Peters – drums (2000–2007)
Jonathan Salas – lead guitar (2011)
Ken Steorts – lead guitar (1996–1999)

Touring Musicians [67]
Billy Dawson – rhythm guitar (2000)
Faith Stern – keyboards, vocals (2002–2003)
Chris Marvin – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2002–2003, 2005–2006)
Andrea Winchell – keyboards (2005–2006)
Jonathan Chu – violin (2008–present)
Tate Olsen – cello (2008–present)
Scotty Rock – bass (2009–2011)


Studio albums*

Skillet (1996)
Hey You, I Love Your Soul (1998)
Invincible (2000)
Alien Youth (2001)
Collide (2003)
Comatose (2006)
Awake (2009)
Rise (2013)

* This is a list of major releases only. Additional releases include EPs, live albums, singles, compilation albums and videos.

[1] Skillet Closes Out 2007 With Grammy Nomination. Retrieved March 13, 2008.
[2]"Music News, May 2011: Skillet Scores First Billboard Music Award for "Top Christian Album" with Gold – Certified AWAKE". May 24, 2011. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
[3]"Skillet – "Alien Youth" Album EPK‏". YouTube. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[4]Shari Lloyd. "Skillet – a Review of The Phantom Tollbooth". Retrieved September 6, 2011.
[5]Interview at MusicFaith [dead link]
[7]"New Drummer: Drummer Lori Peters leaves skillet, Replaced by Jen Ledger – Jan 23, 2008". Jan 2008.
[8]Skillet News[dead link]
[9]Skillet News[dead link]
[10]RIAA official site. Retrieved April 2, 2010.
[11]"Awake and Alive with Skillet". May 6, 2010.
[12]"CCM – April 2009". April 2009. pp. 4–5. Retrieved July 29, 2009.
[13]"The Band Skillet "AWAKE" on ABC News Radio‏". YouTube. February 3, 2010. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[14]"Rockband – April 2010 [12]". April 2010. Retrieved April 2, 2010.
[15]"Awake – Skillet". Billboard. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[16]"41st Annual GMA Dove Awards nominees announced | The Tennessean". February 18, 2010. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[17]"Part 520". Ardent Records. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[18]"Skillet | All Access Rock Music Magazine". Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[19]"The One With A New Member – Skillet Podcast‏". YouTube. August 15, 2010. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[20]"Skillet, "iTunes Session" Review". November 12, 2010. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[21]"Music News, November 2010: SKILLET'S MASSIVE HIT "MONSTER" GOES GOLD AS BAND RACKS UP ANOTHER No. 1 SINGLE". Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[22]Skillet Music (February 14, 2011). "Important Message from Skillet". Retrieved February 14, 2011.
[23]BenKasica. "Ben Kasica (BenKasica) on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[24]"Skillet's New Guitarist Is... – Discussion Detail". Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[25]John Cooper (March 2, 2011). "Skillet "Awake And Remixed" EP Album Art!". Retrieved March 2, 2011.
[26]"Skillet Scores First Billboard Music Award And Lands Coveted Spot On Transformers 3 Soundtrack! – Blog Detail". May 26, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[27]John Cooper. "We r rehearsing new music". Twitter. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
[28]"Skillet's John Cooper talks about WinterJam event at BOK". Tulsa World. February 23, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
[29]"Get the inside scoup with CCM Magazine's "In the Studio" feature on Skillet! - Skillet Official Blog". February 13, 2012. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
[30]"Skillet- Backstage Interview Live from Ford Arena Beaumont, Texas". YouTube. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
[31]"Skillet New Album "Rise" May 2013 Release". March 15, 2013.
[32]"Upcoming Christian Music New Releases". March 19, 2013. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
[33]"New Album RISE coming June 25!". March 27, 2013. Retrieved March 27, 2013.
[34]"Skillet Frontman John Cooper on Their Next Album: 'We've All Been Listening to More Edgier, Indie, Alt Bands'". February 6, 2013.
[35]"Rock Future Releases | Rock Music Radio Songs' Release Dates". Retrieved March 26, 2013.
[36]""Sick Of It" Teaser and Photo Submissions". Skillet. March 7, 2013. Retrieved April 7, 2013.
[37]Caulfield, Keith. "Wale Scores First No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart". Retrieved July 5, 2013.
[38]Rocks Late Night Audiences with their Performance of Rise on CONAN.asp "Skillet Rocks Late Night Audiences with their Performance of "Rise" on CONAN". July 12, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
[40]Jones, Kim. "Skillet – 'Awake'". Retrieved March 1, 2011.
[41]Van Pelt, Doug (November 18, 2010). "Skillet still burning up charts". Retrieved March 1, 2011.
[42]Schoof, Dustin (January 11, 2010). "Shinedown, Puddle of Mudd and Skillet to rock Stabler Arena". PennLive. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
[43]Van Pelt, Doug. "Skillet single 1.5 million digi-downloads". Retrieved March 1, 2011.
[44]Vitoulis, Alex (July 9, 2013). "Skillet Performs, Talks Crossover Success In Chart Beat Meet & Greet (Video)". Billboard. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
[45]Newman, Melinda (June 24, 2013). "Skillet's 'Rise' burns with intensity: Album review". HitFix. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
[46]Kupiszewski, Ben (September 11, 2009). "Skillet's back and pissed off". MOVE Magazine. The Maneater. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
[47]McCreary, David (January 2004). "Growing Up May Be Hard to Do But… Skillet’s musical maturation leads to a multi-course menu of melodic and driving rock sounds.". CCM Magazine (Salem Publishing) 26 (7): 47. [48]Retrieved November 21, 2011.
[49]DiBiase, John (January 3, 1998). "Skillet Hey You, I Love Your Soul Review". Retrieved March 1, 2011.
[50]Christopher Monger, James. "Skillet - Rise". Allmusic. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
[51]IGN Music (July 13, 2007). "IGN: Breaking Benjamin Fall Tour Schedule". Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[52], Skillet Announces Spring Comatose Tour[dead link]
[53]"Awake & Alive Tour". Retrieved August 9, 2009.
[54]"Skillet Announce New Tour With Shinedown And Puddle Of Mudd". TuneLab. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[55]"SHINEDOWN, PUDDLE OF MUDD, SKILLET TEAMING FOR 2010 TREK | 93.3 WMMR: Everything That Rocks". November 17, 2009. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[56][1][dead link]
[57]"Awake and Alive Tour". Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[58]"Skillet 2011 Tour Dates – Christian Rockers Skillet on Tour". May 11, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[59]US. "Creed | Gratis muziek, tourneedata, foto's, video's". Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[60]"Papa Roach and Skillet Announce Co-Headlining US Monsters of Annihilation Tour". August 24, 2010. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[61]"Winter Wonder Slam 2011". Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[62]Cooper, John. "John Cooper Quote". Retrieved July 8, 2011.
[63]"Past Tours & Events – Skillet". Red Ant Touring. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[64]"Parachute 2011 -Artists". February 3, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
[65]"Skillet To Headline Winter Jam 2012". Pollstar. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
[66]"A Night At WinterJam 2012 | AN EXCLUSIVE NRT TOUR REPORT". January 26, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
[67] |title=Carnival of Madness 2013 dates
[68]"Skillet Bio – Biography of Christian Rock Band Skillet". May 13, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2012.

Article source: Wikipedia. Wikipedia allows articles and other media [from their website] to be used under free and open licenses.

Skillet Images

Skillet Photo 1
Korey Cooper & John Cooper of Skillet. Publicity Photo by Reid Rolls.
Skillet Photo 2
Jen Ledger of Skillet playing furiously on the drums during a concert.
Skillet Photo 3
Seth Morrison, guitarist of Skillet, playing heavy rhythms on a PRS guitar.

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