Skillet Talk "Awake and Alive" Tour, "Transformers", and More
Tue, 06 Sep 2011 13:02:31
"Rock music isn't dead," exclaims Skillet frontman John Cooper with a smile. "More fans are showing up to festivals and shows than ever before. It's a great thing."
Skillet will play Epicenter on September 24 in Southern California, and they're bound to be one of the day's standout acts. That's saying a lot considering the bill is stacked with the likes of Limp Bizkit, Staind, Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach, Buckcherry, and so many more of today's heavyweights.
However, Skillet possess something very classic. They've got the golden touch when it comes to songwriting. Anthems like "Awake and Alive" are true powder kegs, as enigmatic as they are energizing. Skillet channel timeless heavy rock through a modern electro filter, making one mind-blowing album after another. Their 2009 release, Awake, remains one of the best hard rock releases of recent memory and their next offering will no doubt up the ante.
Skillet singer John Cooper talked to ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino in this exclusive interview about the "Awake and Alive" tour, Transformers, and so much more…
What's the journey of a song like "Awake and Alive"? Does the meaning change or evolve?
It's a good question. I'm sure those things do happen, especially when there's a song that you didn't expect to do something. For "Awake and Alive", it hasn't been that way. The meaning hasn't changed. I will say that I did not expect this song to do the kind of damage it did. I hoped it would be a single, but I really didn't think it would do this. It's a song people relate to on a lot of different levels, which is cool. They can take it in all kinds of different ways. It's great when fans give you a story and they say, "Oh man, this song helped me through". Then, someone else will say something completely different. It's amazing how a song can transcend the original viewpoint.
What's the story behind the song?
I've got kids, and my daughter is growing up in this time where she's constantly being told what she has to look like and what clothes are going to be in fashion. If you don't wear this, look like this, or have this kind of body, you're never going to fit in. You're constantly being told what you have to do and believe. The song is about basically not caring what all of those influences are saying, being who you are, and not being afraid to be yourself and stand up for what you believe. That's what it's about.
It's important message because you can never forget who you are.
Absolutely! I've got a great family, but I grew up in a city that was very rich and everyone was well-off, snooty, and judgmental towards people who didn't have what we had. I decided that my life wasn't going to be about money. You can have a lot of people coming against you for what you want to do. It's important to know what matters and what doesn't matter in life.
Are you a Transformers fan?
I'm definitely a big fan. I've got the original series on DVD. I remember the seeing the cartoon movie in the theaters when I was young. I think "Awake and Alive" is a great song for the movie.
Being able to shift from melodic to heavy and between male and female vocals, you're like sonic Transformers.
[Laughs] That's funny. Well, thank you!
Have you begun writing for the next album?
I have. I've got a good handful of songs—probably 20 or so for the next project. We're starting to do demos for that. I'm moving towards that way. I'm assuming we'll enter the studio early next year sometime between January and May.
Do the demos pick up where you left off on the last album?
I think that Skillet has an identifiable sound at this point that people recognize. I don't want to get too far away from that. At the same time, I don't want to just release an album that sounds exactly like the last record. We are trying some new things. It's probably a little too early to say right now. My goal is to release the next record with the signature Skillet sound but with a lot of fresh ideas. That's my thinking right now.
Did you have a hand in choosing the bill for the Awake and Alive tour?
I'm always involved in that. It's great to go out with bands you like. If we're headlining a tour, I like to get my list of favorite bands together and see if it's possible. We've toured with Disciple before. Out of all the bands we've ever toured with, they're among the bands that we got along with the best. I was very excited about that. We As Human is a new Atlantic artist that's going to be out on it too. They're record is going to be awesome. I think it's going to be a great tour. Disciple are great guys and an awesome band. It's going to be an awesome tour.
Read our last interview John here!
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