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Skillet is a Grammy-nominated Christian hard rock band formed in Memphis, Tennesseemarker in 1996. The band consists of John Cooper (lead vocalist, bassist), his wife Korey Cooper (rhythm guitarist, keyboardist, vocalist), Ben Kasica (lead guitarist), and the newest member Jen Ledger (drummer, vocalist). Skillet has released eight albums, two receiving Grammy nominations: Collide and Comatose. Over the past 13 years, Skillet has spanned many different genres, including hard rock, industrial rock, and symphonic rock. As of late 2009 they have sold over a million albums.

Band History

Early years (1996–1999)

Skillet formed in 1996 with two members: John Cooper, former vocalist for Tennessee progressive rock band Seraph, and Ken Steorts, former guitarist for Urgent Cry. The two bands met through touring together, but those bands disbanded soon after, so John and Ken's pastor encouraged them to form their own band as a side-project. [94774] Coming from different styles of rock music, they decided to name the experiment Skillet. Soon afterwards Trey McClurkin joined the band as a temporary drummer. Skillet was only together for a month when they received interest from major Christian record label ForeFront Records. In 1996 they released a self-titled debut Skillet. It was well-received, and the trio continued to write new material as they toured the United Statesmarker.

Skillet recorded their follow-up album throughout 1997, titled Hey You, I Love Your Soul, which was released in April 1998. Their second effort was a change in style from the band's first release. With this release, Skillet would abandon their post-grunge approach for a lighter alternative rock and a style much similar to that of Nine Inch Nails. His wife Korey was enlisted soon after to play keyboards live in order to alleviate Jon's live performance duties.

Invincible, Ardent Worship and Alien Youth (2000–2002)

Shortly before the band began recording for their third album, Invincible, Steorts left the band to be with his family, and Kevin Haaland joined the band as their new guitarist. Korey Cooper joined the band permanently and played keyboards for the recording of Invincible. Because of this change, the musical style on Invincible changed to a more electronic sound. Soon after the release of Invincible in early 2000, Trey McClurkin parted ways with Skillet, and Lori Peters filled the drummer's position. Invincible would be Skillet's best selling record thus far.

The band released their first worship album, and fourth album overall, Ardent Worship in fall of 2000. The band kept much of their sound from Invincible on their next album Alien Youth. With little time between touring and recording, Skillet released Alien Youth in 2001, which was the first album that John Cooper took on production duties. Before the release of Alien Youth, Haaland left the band, and Ben Kasica took over on guitar. The first single, the title track, was a major hit in the Christian market and drove Skillet into their first headlining shows.

Collide (2003–2005)

In 2003, Collide was released by Ardent Records. It caught the attention of Andy Karp, the Head of A&R of Lava Records, and in 2004 the rights to Collide were bought by Lava Records, a division of Atlantic Records. On May 25, 2004, Collide was re-released under Lava Records, with an added track, "Open Wounds". Collide was yet another musical shift for the band.Citing Linkin Park and P.O.D. as inspiration for the musical shift on Collide, Cooper said "Well I’m one of these song writers, everything I hear goes through my John Cooper filter of what I like and what I don’t like... all these things... have been an influence on me."

Comatose (2006–2008)

Skillet's album Comatose was released on October 3, 2006. It features the singles "Rebirthing," "Whispers In the Dark," "Comatose," "The Older I Get," "Those Nights," and "The Last Night". Skillet's label also released a B-side ("Live Free or Let Me Die") as a single, off their follow-up album Comatose: Deluxe Edition, which includes five acoustic tracks.

In January 2008, Skillet announced that their drummer, Lori Peters, was retiring from the band, feeling that "it's time for her to come off of the road and start a new chapter in her life." Peters' last concert with Skillet was on December 31, 2007. However, during the 2007 Christmas season, she took the time to train Skillet's next drummer, Jen Ledger.

On October 21, 2008, Comatose Comes Alive was released; a CD/DVD combo featuring live recordings of the band's May 9, 2008 concert in Chattanooga, Tennesseemarker. It was shown on the Gospel Music Channel on December 5, 2008.

The Comatose album was certified Gold by the RIAA on November 18, 2009.

Awake (2009 - present)

Skillet announced that they went into the studio January 12 to finalize the new record with Grammy-nominated producer Howard Benson. They added two songs ("Hero" and "Monster") from the new record to their setlist on April 2, 2009 in Evansville, Indiana as part of their Comatose Tour 2009.

The title of Skillet's next studio album, Awake, was announced on April 17, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The album contains 12 songs and was released on August 25, 2009. "Hero" was released to radio on May 19, 2009 as the album's first single, and "Monster" was released on July 14, 2009. They also released a deluxe version with two extra songs "Dead Inside" and "Would It Matter", along with the original, radio edit of "Monster" that does not have the distorted growl as in the single and in the CD. The song Hero was used in the publicizing of the first football game of the 2009 NFL season between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans, and the song "Monster" was used in the episode "Jason: The Pretty-Boy Bully" on MTV's Bully Beatdown. "Monster" is the theme song for the WWE event WWE Hell in a Cell.Also the songs "Monster" and "Hero" from the album, are two of the official soundtracks for the WWE video game WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010.On October 4th, 2009. "Monster" is also the opening theme song for the AHL team "The Lake Erie Monsters" in Cleveland,Ohio.

The album was released on August 25, 2009. It charted at #2 on the Billboard top 200 selling around 68,000 units in its first week.

It also tied the record for highest-charting Christian album on The Billboard 200 with Underoath's 2006 release Define the Great Line as both albums debuted at #2.


In the middle of 2006, Korey Cooper took a break from performing, due to her pregnancy with their second child. Her back-up guitar and keyboard role was temporarily filled by two people: Andrea Winchell (who would later become the Cooper's nanny) on keys, and Chris Marvin on guitar.

Skillet teamed up with Ron Luce & Teen Mania Ministriesmarker on their Acquire The Firemarker Tour across the United States & Canada in 2007. When they returned Skillet teamed up with Flyleaf to co-headline the Justice & Mercy Tour, ( Live Photos from That Tour) that tour was postponed/canceled after a number of shows due to Flyleaf's lead singer, Lacey Mosley's vocal problem. They will team up with Luce's Global Expeditions program on a missions trip with teens this summer on a trip to Mexico. In 2008 they joined up with Teen Mania Ministries and toured Acquire the Fire.

Skillet joined Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, and Seether on the first half of their tour in fall 2007. Then Skillet headlined their own Comatose Tour alongside Thousand Foot Krutch, and traveled to approximately 30 cities. The tour started on March 28 and ran through May 11, 2008. Skillet toured again from April 2009 through June 2009 with Decyfer Down and Disciple. This tour was called Comatose Tour 2009 (essentially a second branch of the 2008 Comatose Tour). In fall of 2009, Skillet will tour with Hawk Nelson, Decyfer Down, and The Letter Black to promote Skillet's album Awake. The Awake & Alive Tour will encompass 52 cities from October through December. Skillet appeared at the 2009 Night of Joy Christian Rock festival at Disney Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney Worldmarker. This marks the band's first absence from Universal Studios Orlandomarker's Rock the Universe in five years. Rock the Universe, which Skillet has often commented as their favorite show each year, is on the same nights as Night of Joy. On September 26, 2009, Skillet appeared at Awakening Music Festival in Leesburg, Virginia, alongside Jeremy Camp, Kutless, Hawk Nelson, Disciple, Decyfer Down, and others.

Skillet has announced that in 2010 they will be Touring with Puddle of Mud and Shinedown through the East Coast of the USA.

Band members

  • Ken Steorts – guitar (1996–1999) founder of Visible School in Memphis, TN, a music and worship arts college)
  • Trey McClurkin – drums, backing vocals (1996–2000)
  • Kevin Haaland – guitar (1999–2001)
  • Lori Peters – drums (2000–2007)

  • Faith Stern – keyboards, backing vocals (2002–2003)
  • Chris Marvin – guitar, backing vocals (2002–2003, 2005–2006)
  • Andrea Winchell – keyboard (2005–2006)
  • Tate Olsen – cello (2008–present)
  • Jonathan Chu – violin (2008–present)
  • Scotty Rock — backing bass (2009-present)



Music videos

Billboard-charting singles

Year Title Peak chart positions Album
U.S. Hot 100 U.S. Mainstream Rock U.S. Hot Christian Songs
2004 " Savior" 26 Collide
2006 "Rebirthing" 9 Comatose
"Whispers in the Dark" 34
2007 "The Older I Get" 27 14
"The Last Night" 38 16
2008 "Those Nights" 22
2009 "Hero" 29 Awake
"Monster" 9
"Awake and Alive1" 100
1Although not officially a single yet, "Awake and Alive" has been the only song by Skillet to reach the "Hot 100"

In the media


  • Comatose Comes Alive made its world television premiere on December 5, 2008 on Gospel Music Channel.
  • Skillet once appeared on the CMT television show, Mobile Home Disaster in an episode where the kids in the family were fans of the band.
  • Their songs "You Are My Hope" and "A Little More" were featured in two episodes of the CBS show Joan of Arcadia.
  • Their song "You Are My Hope" was featured once on the CW show America's Next Top Model.
  • The song "Best Kept Secret" is used as the theme for the New Jerseymarker-based Christian teen show, Real Faith TV.
  • Skillet's song "Rebirthing" is the theme song for the Philadelphia Flyers as they enter the ice before the game.
  • WWE used "Monster" as the theme song for their Hell in a Cell pay-per-view in 2009.
  • NFL on NBC is using "Hero" as the background song for their game previews.
  • "Hero" was used as music for the World Series.
  • "Awake and Alive" was used for the November 2009 promo for the soap opera, One Life To Live.

Video games


  • The songs "Best Kept Secret" and "Invincible" appeared in the movie Carman: The Champion.
  • The songs "Come on to the Future" and "Invincible" were featured on the soundtrack for the movie Extreme Days.


Grammy Award nominations
  • "Best Rock Gospel Album" in 2005 (Collide)
  • "Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album" in 2007 (Comatose).

GMA Dove Awards
"Rock Recorded Song of the Year" for "Comatose" at the 39th Annual GMA Dove Awards on April 23 2008.


  1. Skillet Closes Out 2007 With Grammy Nomination - Retrieved March 13, 2008
  2. Skillet - a Review of The Phantom Tollbooth
  4. Skillet News
  9. IGN: Breaking Benjamin Fall Tour Schedule
  10., Skillet Announces Spring Comatose Tour
  15. Skillet News - January 06, 2005, Retrieved March 13, 2008
  16. 39th Annual GMA Dove Awards Recap | Christian Music - Gospel Music Channel

External links

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