The music industry"s success stories regularly surprise — witness the unstoppable "Old town Road."

But that would have imagined one of the most achieved rock bands of the 21st century would certainly be based in Wisconsin and share a name v a menu section at Denny"s?

But such is the story that Skillet, the Christian rock tape featuring three Kenosha-based members: frontman man Cooper ~ above vocals and also bass, mam (and Kenosha) indigenous Korey ~ above guitar and synthesizers, and also Jen Ledger ~ above drums and also vocals. Also in the band: Nashville-based lead guitarist Seth Morrison. 

Skillet has actually sold an ext than 12 million albums. The band"s past four releases — from "Comatose" in 2006 to "Unleashed" in 2016 — have actually been certified gold (at a minimum) through the Recording sector Association of America. The 2009 album "Awake," special breakout solitary "Monster," has actually gone twin platinum. This year, Skillet joined music organization Pandora"s "Billionaires Club," crossing the 2 billion streams mark.

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The winning streak is bound to proceed with the band"s 10th album "Victorious," out on Friday (followed by Skillet"s an initial graphic novel, "Eden," the end Aug. 27). 

Even john Cooper recognizes Skillet isn"t a family name like hard-rock acts Metallica, Shinedown or Godsmack. Skillet"s sales and streaming success have never been frontloaded approximately the band"s releases; all those accreditations were achieved across lot of years, through positive and also passionate word of mouth. 


"Skillet has always been under the radar," Cooper stated from his tour bus in ~ Summerfest, a couple of hours prior to the band played because that an overflow group on one of the Milwaukee music festival"s the smallest grounds stages, the Briggs & Stratton big Backyard. 

"Maybe that"s a really an excellent thing, because you have the right to never go out of layout if you"re never the flavor of the day."


A tape hitting its own sweet spot 

That flavor really hits a sweet spot.

Skillet is definitively a hard-rock tape — identified by Cooper"s gruff vocals, Morrison"s and also Ledger"s aggressive playing and a pyro-loaded live collection — that welcomes pop hooks and also hip-hop production, a comparable approach that"s helped Imagine Dragons, Twenty One Pilots and also Fall out Boy discover crossover success in ~ a time when rock is no longer the most consumed music genre. 

"We"re ready to try brand-new recording techniques, favor using a synthesizer instead of a guitar part, or a drum machine," Cooper said. "At part point, in the hard-rock scene it came to be a negative thing come appeal to young fans, i beg your pardon is simply bizarre. … I think those bands are hurting your careers."

But Skillet isn"t strictly a hard-rock band. It"s likewise a Christian band — John flourished up in a devout family members in Memphis, and also Korey"s parents co-founded Living irradiate Christian Church in Kenosha. Skillet has actually 21 No. 1 singles top top Billboard"s Christian charts, yet the Coopers" uplifting lyrics, run by their minister at living Light, are wide enough to attach beyond Christian circles.

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"Whether you"re spirituality or an atheist or anti-God, music has a supernatural high quality to it," man Cooper said. "Every day on social media ns see human being say, "I don"t gain this Jesus stuff, yet your music makes me feel better." "

And throughout their career, the members the Skillet have stuck to their guns, recognize a means to lure listeners who don"t follow Christian or hard-rock music while still satisfaction devotees in every camp. 

"There was never ever a push like, "OK, we require to discover ways to affix with fans that don’t obtain who we are,"" Cooper said. "We simply kind of construed our fans and also they constantly understood us, and also I think it is why we have actually been for this reason successful." "Sometimes the faith facet was inadvisable from particular people in the music business," Cooper continued. "Some radio stations supplied to say, "It"s also positive, it doesn"t feel favor real rock music." … 


"But world love positivity in society today. And they love your faith. … Our songs just exude that heart of "Be yourself, be proud of that you are, you have the right to make it," and people are connecting through that."

Mastering its formula 

Longtime fans room going to connect with "Victorious." It"s the first Skillet album developed largely through the Coopers themselves, taped on the tourism bus and also backstage at miscellaneous shows across Europe. But John isn"t hyperbolic as soon as he suggests the album feel "louder and more in-your-face," and the band has mastered that formula, again carrying the kind of positive, stadium-ready rock anthems — a la lead single "Legendary" —that have become Skillet"s signature. 

" "Victorious" has actually a lot of song that room trying come say that life is not going to it is in grand, it"s walk to be hard, and sometimes it"s really ugly. Yet there is hope." 

Skillet is walking to it is in touring phibìc America with late October behind "Victorious," consisting of runs with rock bands Sevendust and Pop Evil, and another with transform Bridge, before headlining a European tour that lasts till mid-December. 


Performing is Cooper"s favorite part of his job, and also the Coopers" teenage kids, Alexandria and also Xavier, travel with them. Yet John’s looking front to downtime with family in Kenosha during the holidays, already planning the end what Christmas cookies they"re going come make.

"I have pertained to love all things Wisconsin," Cooper said. "Being below reminds you that you are. The downfall of absent stars and celebrities is once they begin to believe their very own press, and also coming ago to Wisconsin I know that I"m not all that. I"m a dad and also another human being at the Brewers game."