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John Cooper of Skillet Speaks Out...

A New Platform for Christian Bands?

By

Kim - To me, Christianity, be it radical or traditional, is the most personal relationship you'll ever have in your life. And it lasts well through eternity. What some people are comfortable with, other people look at as ridiculous. You can be a super pew sitter, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you've got Christ in your heart. You can strive for that perfection, but you know that you'll never achieve it. The battle is getting up every morning, knowing that some days you'll win and some days you'll lose, but still getting up and trying to fight. My response to the questions that I've gotten is that I don't know where your hearts, your minds and your faith is at because I haven't talked to you. That's why I wanted to talk to you ... to hear for myself whether you're selling out or whether you're stepping out. I'll leave it to the readers and, most importantly, to Jesus, to decide.

John - Right.

Kim - I understand that perception is also largely based on what age group you're in. Someone in their teens is going to see things differently from someone in their 30's compared to someone in their 50's. Bottom line, regardless of what age group you ask, I would hate to see you look back a few years down the road and think "Man, what did I do?" It sounds like you guys have really thought out your decision and you feel like you're staying true to your faith and true to your calling from God. Like you accept that you're doing it in such a way that might not be acceptable by some in mainstream American Christianity.

John - Right. Yeah ... and I think that would have been that had we not been known for being very upfront with our message and stuff too. You know what I mean? Like if we had just started and people heard us on the radio. You know, when Creed came out and everybody was like, "they're a Christian band" and it was like, how do you know? "Because their songs are spiritual" or whatever. I think that when you've had a history like we've had of being very upfront, you know, we just say "Jesus" and do alter calls and worship ... the whole deal. People start wondering what's going on. But I've been saying in my emails and I would say to anyone that's like, "I don't know if Savior's a Christian song", you should just reread those lyrics. That's ridiculous. That song is so obviously a Christian song and at the very least if somebody doesn't see it as a Christian song, it's such an uplifting song...so much more than the Korn single "I'm Gonna F You Up", which is gonna be playing after it. I just don't know why anyone wouldn't be excited about it. That kind of thing is really difficult for me. It's the kind of thing that you don't speak out about when you first start in Christian music and everybody will be mad at you and not buy your records. Then you've got no career. I've been doing this for eight years and I just don't care anymore. I'm like, you know what? If you don't buy my records, I just don't care, whatever. (laughs) It's kind of coming to that place for me. I'm 29. I'm not 21 anymore and I'm not looking to please anybody anymore, except the Lord. So those kind of things, I'm beginning to be a little more vocal and outspoken about it. People have put their own ideas of what Christianity should be on you and it's got nothing to do with the Bible. 30 years ago you couldn't have gone to church with tattoos. We've made some big steps in realizing that that's not what Christianity's about. It's the same fight that we're having. It's about religiousness and it's no wonder that we're not really affecting the world, not like we should be. Pretty much we're just affecting each other all of the time. That's why I get really annoyed about things. We're on a tour right now with five bands and we're the only band sharing anything from the stage about faith. And we're doing a worship song. I've had so many people tell me after shows "Man thanks so much for doing ministry tonight. You're the only band that talks about Jesus". They're really excited about it. Then I come home and get an email from somebody, and they're like, "You guys aren't living for God anymore. I heard your song Savior on the radio...". And you just get like, why wouldn't you want that message to be everywhere? It's the same thing that we're fighting. We're fighting religiousness, but that's OK because that's just the way it is. So did Jesus, that's why He died right? (laughs)

Kim - And the battle has already been won. At this point it's just about what side you'll be on at the end. It has nothing to do with image, but with truth.

John - Right.

Kim - I appreciate it John. Enjoy your time at home.

John - Thanks. We've only been home for eight days in the last three months. It was good talking to you ... bye.

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