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Skillet at Fillmore Detroit, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

Posted: Sunday, October 6, 2019

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After 13 years and 10 albums, Skillet has every reason to feel, well, "Victorious."

The Memphis heavy rock quartet has enjoyed success on both the secular rock and Christian charts, with four consecutive No. 1 albums on the latter -- including "Victorious," which came out Aug. 2. Skillet has also had 27 Top 5 hits on the Christian Rock charts, crossing over to the mainstream with singles such as "Hero," "Monster," "Awake and Alive" and "Feel Invincible."

All of that means Skillet is still sizzling and welcome in a wide range of places, which singer-bassist John Cooper and company do not take for granted...

Cooper, 44, says phone that "it's a little early" to have much perspective on the "Victorious" album, but he and the rest of the band -- including wife Korey Cooper, who co-produced the album with him -- are happy with how things have started out. "From the first day of the record release the fans really liked the title track, which is actually my favorite song on the album. It sounds very much like what I would call signature Skillet, like 'our sound.' Sometimes you don't know if that's a good thing; It can be like, 'Ah, they're doing the same thing over again.' But I, for one, have a positive view of that, and I was really thrilled that the fans do as well."

In making "Victorious," Cooper says "there were a lot of unspoken things" he and Korey wanted to do. "We wanted to experiment with sounds, be a little edgier. As producers our job is to make it as palatable as possible for as many people as possible, but sometimes in that process you can smooth off the rough edges to a degree that takes the teeth out of it. So I just wanted to do something different. I wanted this record to be a little meaner. I wanted the guitars to be a little more in your face and have a few more musical moments -- extended guitar solos, long intros. So that's what we set out to do, make an exciting record that had more teeth and was very much like a Skillet live concert."

Before going out on tour, Skillet polled fans online about what songs they should include in their live sets. "Sometimes fans know something the artists don't and the (record companies) don't," Cooper says. "On our last album we were trying to pick a radio single, and we noticed from social media and from shows that our fans really liked this song called 'The Resistance.' Not only did the label not want it out as a single -- they didn't want it on the record or for us to even record it. But we went with the fans and it was the second biggest song from the album. In the end you've got to make the fans happy, so I like to know what they want us to play and make them happy and come back to as many shows as possible."

Cooper considers Skillet's Christianity "more behind the scenes" than out front, but he's happy that community continues to support the band as well as the secular rock market. "There were some in Christian music that used to demand that every song needs to be overtly Christian and have a gospel representation kind of thing. There were some purists like that. But I think as the years have gone on more and more of the Christian music industry folks have broadened their idea of what it means to be a Christian artist, and I think that's probably a good thing. I still like to dance with the one that brought me, so I'm glad we still have support from that community as well as the straight-up rock world."

Skillet will be on the road until mid-December and then pick up after the holidays. The Coopers are looking forward to a little bit of time off, too. "We always have a big Christmas," John Cooper reports. "Christmas is just fun, obviously, but it's normally the only time we're guaranteed off. So everybody really gets geared up for it and we always it on the couch for about a week and watch movies with the kids, 'Lord of the Rings' and all of that kind of stuff. I usually eat nothing but cookies and pies and gain about 10 pounds. It's great."

Skillet, Alter Bridge and Dirty Honey perform Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Doors at 6 p.m. $29.50-$75. 313-961-5451 or thefillmoredetroit.com.

Web Site: www.thefillmoredetroit.com

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