Skillet

 
About: 

SKILLET recently made headlines when their last album, Awake, became one of just three rock albums to be certified platinum in 2012, forming an improbable triumvirate with the Black Keys’ El Camino and Mumford & Sons’ Babel.

The news that Skillet had sold more than a million albums in the U.S. came as a shock to all but the band’s wildly diverse horde of fans, male and female, young and old—known as Panheads—whose still-swelling ranks now officially number in the seven-digit range. This remarkable achievement was announced just as Skillet was putting the finishing touches on their eagerly awaited follow-up album, Rise (Atlantic/Word).

Unwilling to stand pat or rest on their laurels, the band—lead vocalist/bassist John Cooper, guitarist/keyboardist Korey Cooper (John’s wife), drummer/duet partner Jen Ledger and lead guitarist Seth Morrison, making his first appearance on record with Skillet—continue to explore new terrain on Rise, expertly produced by Howard Benson, who previously helmed the mega-successful Awake.

Eager for new challenges, Cooper threw himself into collaborative songwriting to a far greater degree than ever before, co-writing the uplifting title song and the lacerating first single “Sick of it” with Scott Stevens, founder/leader of the L.A.-based Exies, while teaming with Nashville songsmiths Tom Douglas and Zac Maloy on the timely and anthemic “American Noise,” which Cooper considers to be the strongest song Skillet has yet recorded.

On “American Noise” and the joyous “Good to Be Alive,” the band explores new stylistic territory, bringing an element of heartland rock into their aggressive, theatrical approach. The band expanded their musical palette, integrating natural, acoustic instruments like accordion, mandolin, dulcimer, harp, tympani and bells to their trademark slashing electric guitars, strings, churning synths and pummeling drums.

It isn’t just the songs themselves that make Rise so gripping, it’s also the song sequences—like the radical contrast between the almost unbearable tension of “Sick of It” suddenly giving way to the ecstatic release of “Good to Be Alive,” or the way the closing three-song progression of “My Religion,” “Hard to Find” and “What I Believe” builds to a thrilling musical, thematic and emotional crescendo.

Clearly, these songs and the album as a whole are embedded with an impassioned overarching message. This message courses with a tidal pull through Skillet’s entire body of work, but on Rise, it’s artfully woven into a gripping coming-of-age narrative. This sprawling work stands as the band’s first concept album—though it wasn’t premeditated.

“The narrative idea happened after we had 10 or 11 of the songs chosen,” Cooper reveals. “As we were recording them, we started to realize that there’s something going on here—this album is really telling a story. Realizing that, I knew we needed to make it as powerful as we could.” The result is a wildly ambitious work as heady as it is visceral.

Rise is the story of a typical American teen coming into adulthood and facing the massive world problems,” says Cooper, who is deeply concerned about the erosion of belief in young people today, as well as their deeply felt desire to belong. “Facing world problems as an adult is different from when you’re growing up and under someone else’s care.

All of a sudden, you realize that the world is a dangerous place. It’s dark and scary, there’s acts of God happening, there’s war, there are all these terrible things, and you thinking, ‘How can I have hope in this place?’ But at the same time, you also think, ‘Even moving all those huge problems aside, I look at my own life and I’m not even comfortable with the things I can change.

I’m fighting with my parents, my parents have split up, I’m here in this home getting yelled at all the time that I’m never gonna be good enough, and I’m starting to believe that I’m never gonna be good enough. I constantly fail myself, and I just want to have a reason to live. I want to matter, and I want to know that my life counts for something.’

“So the story is basically about rising up out of your downtrodden life, rising up from that place where you feel like a failure, rising up to be comfortable being yourself, to stand up for what you believe in,” Cooper continues. “It’s not about pleasing your friends, it’s not about doing what’s cool; it’s about being who you are and being comfortable with that.

And lastly, in the grand scheme of it all is, if I can be somebody I am comfortable being, maybe I can even rise up and help change the world. Can one person make a difference? Can one person actually matter?”

But there’s another key distinction between Rise and the band’s previous albums. “We've written songs about issues, but the reason this record stands out so much to me is that this is the first time that we're singing songs that use the word ‘we’ rather than ‘me, ’” Cooper points out. “It’ s not just my feelings, these are our feelings.

We can do this. Even the title track is not about me rising, it’s about us rising. So this record feels inclusive of all kinds of people, and that’s unique for us. It’s a rallying cry.”

On Rise, then, the message is both spiritual and social, as Skillet reaches out anew to its ever-growing, ever-changing following. “I think music should be bringing people together and bringing them hope. That’s certainly what it does for me,” Cooper says, continuing to say that “we believe there is hope and there is love and there is a God that will be there for you; if you reach out to Him, He will reach back out to you.

That message is in all of our records and most of our songs. It certainly is the message of this record.”

Videos: 
Skillet - Save Me (Lyric Video)
Skillet - Brave (Lyric Video)
Skillet - Lions (Official Lyric Video)
Skillet - Stars (The Shack Version) [Official Music Video]
Skillet - Rise (Lyric Video)
Skillet - Hero (Official Video)

Upcoming Events

August 05, 2021
West Allis, WI
Wisconsin State Fair
August 07, 2021
Valdosta, GA
HFE Valdosta dba Wild Adventures Theme Park
August 12, 2021
Sturgis, SD
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
August 13, 2021
Three Forks, MT
Rockin' The Rivers
August 20, 2021
Camdenton, MO
Ozarks Amphitheater
August 21, 2021
Gothenburg, NE
Lake Helen
August 28, 2021
Sunbury, PA
Spyglass Ridge Winery
September 04, 2021
Hot Springs, AR
Magic Springs Theme Park
September 09, 2021
Appomattox, VA
Blue Ridge Rock Festival
September 10, 2021
Hinckley, MN
RockTember
September 11, 2021
Spencer, IA
Clay County Fair
September 12, 2021
Chicago, IL
House of Blues
September 14, 2021
Cleveland, OH
TempleLive at Cleveland Masonic
September 15, 2021
Albany, NY
Empire Live
September 17, 2021
Shippensburg, PA
Shippensburg Fairground
September 18, 2021
Sayreville, NJ
Starland Ballroom
September 19, 2021
Silver Spring, MD
The Fillmore Silver Spring
September 21, 2021
Norfolk, VA
The NorVa
September 22, 2021
Raleigh, NC
The Ritz
September 24, 2021
Orlando, FL
Rebel Rock
September 25, 2021
Atlanta, GA
Tabernacle
September 26, 2021
Louisville, KY
Louder Than Life Festival
September 28, 2021
Dallas, TX
House of Blues Dallas - Cambridge Room
September 29, 2021
Houston, TX
White Oak Music Hall
October 01, 2021
San Antonio, TX
The Aztec Theatre
October 02, 2021
Oklahoma City, OK
Diamond Ballroom
October 03, 2021
Des Moines, IA
Wells Fargo Arena
October 05, 2021
Colorado Springs, CO
Pikes Peak Center
October 06, 2021
Salt Lake City, UT
October 08, 2021
Sacramento, CA
Discovery Park
October 09, 2021
Boise, ID
Revolution Center
October 11, 2021
Portland, OR
Roseland Theater
October 12, 2021
Kennewick, WA
Toyota Center
October 14, 2021
Las Vegas, NV
House of Blues Las Vegas
October 15, 2021
Tempe, AZ
The Marquee Theater
October 16, 2021
Anaheim, CA
City National Grove
October 17, 2021
Tucson, AZ
The Rialto Theatre
October 19, 2021
Albuquerque, NM
The Historic El Rey Theater
October 21, 2021
Kansas City, MO
Midland Theater
October 22, 2021
St. Louis, MO
The Pageant
October 29, 2021
Lynchburg, VA
Liberty University Vines Center
December 28, 2021
Gatlinburg, TN
Gatlinburg Convention Center
December 29, 2021
Branson, MO
Branson Convention Center
December 30, 2021
Gatlinburg, TN
Gatlinburg Convention Center
March 22, 2022
Tifton, GA
April 26, 2022
Fairmont, WV
June 10, 2022
Nickelsdorf, AUS
June 11, 2022
Interlaken, SWI
July 24, 2022
Darien Center, NY
Darien Lake Theme Park
July 24, 2022
Darien Center, NY
Darien Lake Theme Park
July 30, 2022
Valdosta, GA
HFE Valdosta dba Wild Adventures Theme Park