Skillet’s John Cooper Recalls Rocking to Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’

2012-02-03

Story by Anne Erickson

Skillet frontman hopes band’s faith-filled songs ‘inspire people to have hope’

Skillet are one of the most successful Christian rock bands of the moment, with their latest album, “Awake,” going gold, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, and spawning a mass of active rock hits: “Awake and Alive,” “Hero,” “Monster” and “It’s Not Me, It’s You.”

But when frontman John Cooper was a youngin, it seemed he was destined to go down any path expect music.

Cooper was 5 years old when he first saw the video of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” on MTV at a while hanging out at a buddy’s house. His mom didn’t like it one bit.

“I came home and sang it to my mom. She gave me a whipping for singing the devil’s music,” Cooper, 36, told the Columbus Dispatch. “I wasn’t allowed to listen to rock music for years.”

That, of course, changed, and over time Cooper found himself drawn to Christian rock music, both for its rocking sound and faith-filled message.

“It made me proud to have music that would stand up for my faith,” said Cooper, who really turned to Christian rock at age 14, after his mother passed away. “It reminded me that God wasn’t going to leave me and was going to protect me. I kind of decided at that point that if I ever got to play music, I would sing songs about my faith and hopefully inspire people to have hope.”

Skillet are currently out on the 2012 Winter Jam Tour, a Christian-based trek that always brings out families. It’s different from the band’s usual hard-rocking club gigs, but Cooper likes the variety. “You’ve got all people from different backgrounds, denominations,” Cooper said. “I’ll see 5-year-old kids and grandparents in the crowd. It really is a family event — a little bit of everybody.” (Courtesy photo: Atlantic Records.)

 




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