Calling all Skillet fans; it’s about a month and a half before the foursome of John (Lead Vocals, Bass/Acoustic Guitar) and Korey Cooper (Rhythm Guitar, Keyboard/Synth, Backing Vocals), Seth Morrison (Lead Guitar) and Jen Ledger (Drums, Percussion, Co-Lead/Backing Vocals) hit our shores for the first time since 2011! Getting to speak with the voice of Skillet before their upcoming trip, the opening topic was about the band’s upcoming second trip to Australian shores; Cooper points out “technically it’s the third time as we came in 2002, but we were only doing some various festivals and not our own shows; BUT when we came in 2011, I don’t know why but it was so extraordinary and we just went so crazy! I don’t know why it was so special, but sincerely it was…in fact for the first six years after that tour, my wife Korey would always state how it was the coolest club dates we’ve ever done! The fans were awesome and the food was amazing…except for Vegemite, as I didn’t like that” before ending with a good chuckle.

Skillet celebrated their 20th anniversary back in 2016 and when asked what keeps the fire burning after all these years, Cooper elaborates “I just think its love for the music as for me, I just love performing; I love the way music makes me feel. Music has always been a spiritual force and a supernatural quality in my life; whether it’s suddenly making me happy, making me sad or scared if I’m watching a horror movie. As long as I see one fan out there with a huge grin on his face singing along, it’s just really inspiring and a great feeling to see someone else believing in the lyrics! It always leaves me feeling very humbled and kind of small in a good way.”

Taking time to talk about what fans can expect on this long overdue visit, Cooper quipped “if people haven’t seen Skillet before, the one thing that most people describe about our show is the energy; that’s apparently the one thing we’re known for. I always hear people say that Skillet feels like a community; in fact here’s a true story I only just remembered! About four days ago at our last show on the tour, we saw a couple at the autograph signing who are getting married after they met at an online Skillet forum; not only that, they’ve now seen around 25 Skillet shows together! Whilst we have a few surprises lined up, our show is focused on creating that great concert experience where you feel at one with the crowd and inspire them….I hope!”

When quizzed if fans would get to hear songs from Rise (2013) or Unleashed (2016) as both were released after their last visit, Cooper replied with “absolutely; we’ll be playing a good mix from mainly the last three or four albums!” Cooper then delve into a funny story when asked if fans would get to hear any surprises from the band’s early days:

“Typically no, as about five years ago we did a tour and I thought it would be clever to play a song from each of our first records. I went in thinking ‘people are going to love this’, but this resulted in me finding out an amazing thing; no one actually knows our first five records…I’m telling you, not a single person! I kinda thought ‘we’re not Aerosmith, who have been producing hits for thirty years, so why play songs that no ones and no one wants to hear.’ That being said, I always have surprises and play stuff in concert that has been written on tour; it might not be a new song, but we’ll try a new interlude to link songs together and make it fun. After all a concert isn’t just playing song after song, but it’s doing something musical that people aren’t expecting; the greats like Peter Gabriel, U2, Sting or The Police always do that!”

After quick research revealed that the longest wait time for new music was four years between ‘Awake’ and ‘Rise’, it was time to pick Cooper’s brain and see if fans would get to hear new Skillet music before long. Cooper gleefully responded with “we’ve actually been writing and recording whilst we’ve been on tour, which is a little different for us!”, before delivering an unexpected insight into his creative thought process:

“I got thinking how I’m always inspired when on the road and do the bulk of my song writing then and this comes from loving our fans; whether it be seeing them sing our songs back to us or hearing stories of what a song means to someone/what they’re going through. I figured since I always write on the road, why not record on the road as well! So we started recording on the road and we’re about 70% done with the record, with plans to release it next year; we’re very excited about the new music and we can’t wait to put it out.”

When quizzed whether he could deliver a rough insight into a time frame, Cooper continued delivering the amazing insight as he explained “we did have something scheduled, but it changed for various reasons which I can share quickly! You may or may not know that our drummer Jen started her own project called Ledger and we began working with her on writing some songs for her; we thought it would be a cool time to let her spread her wings and get her own sound going, which has been really fun. So not only is the new Ledger album out now, I just announced last week that I’ve started my own solo project called Fight The Fury! That EP is going to be five songs and will be released later this year as well; so because of that, all I know is that the new Skillet album will come some stage next year.”

Whilst Cooper was a man of few words when drawing the interview to a close, there isn’t a reason to say much more when your final message is “all I want to say is a huge thank you to all the fans in general for supporting us for so long! We can’t wait to come down and see you, so we hope you show up at the shows and have a great time.”