Here's an interview with John Cooper with Will from Panheads.org:
JOHN COOPER INTERVIEW, November 17, 2001:
John: Well Skillet was a side
project of other bands. Did you know that?
Will (Reporter from panheads.org): I didn't know that.
J: A side project, and so... I historically... am incredibly in control of everything. And I'm a
real perfectionist so things aren't going well it's like "Man we gotta get this right." And so.. when the idea of Skillet
came up, pastor decided to get me and Ken together, I was like 'Yeah let's try it, it'll be a side project.' So I was pretty
not caring in a lot of things.
W: Now you were working at the church at the time, right?
Yes... I think so. I don't remember. Some of those years there were a blur. But there was about a year there I was janitoring
at the church and going to college. So it was kinda like, 'Yeah Skillet, ya know, whatever, let's do it.' I really didn't
think it would be that serious, about a month after we got together we got signed. So it was pretty, it was pretty intense.
The reason we call it Skillet is cause we were all from different groups. It was kinda like cooking like all these different
styles of music. All kinda coming together.
Will: We were equating the band to an omlette.
W: What part of the omlette would you be?
That's exactly what everyone is saying! That's what I came up with - because the eggs are like, the base of the omlette.
W: We're like.. John's the only one that's been there the whole time.
I'm the strength of the base of the pillar.
W: The strength of the base of the pillar....
*chuckles* Nevermind. *chuckles, stammers* Nevermind. Ya ever seen Dune?
W: Yeah I've seen Dune.
It's a crazy movie. Crazy movie.
W: You got a fair amount of publicity with the song Rippin' Me Off
as kind of like a reaction to secular and even anti-Christian music. Do you see that as being a future.. or something that
you'll pursue more as.... I wanna say, combatting secular music and anti-Christian music, but also do you see, moving toward
trying to grab more of a secular audience? More than... I mean, you already are quite a bit.
okay, I see what you're saying. Okay, I don't see it as a move of combatting, ya know, I don't usually write lyrics like that.
It was something that was just so spontaneous. Uhhh.. but hopefully.. we're gaining more and more of a mainstream audience.
I think it's very small, the mainstream audience that we have. But I'm hoping that it would grow. I mean, that's what we'd
love to see happen, you know.
W: Here's one. This is something I got off the Yahoo! message boards
just a couple of days ago. Skillet Club, which is one of the big, major boards. Apparently, a couple of kids, y'all were in
South Carolina last weekend. I was supposed to be there but I was... A group of kids, I don't know how many, were gonna go
the show, but then their parents wouldn't let 'em because uh, according to this message, their parents thought that all rock
music was evil. And this is something, when I first was telling my co-workers about Skillet, I was, it's a Christian rock
band. A Christian ro- how's that- I mean.. How do you react to that? Or what do you say to people that can't fathom the idea
of Christian rock?
J: Sure. Weeeellll.. I mean.. it was pretty much Christians. *says a lot of indescipherable
stuff* Okay I see what you're saying. It was pretty much non-Christians they just that like.. that doesn't make any sense.
Or are you talking about mostly Christians?
W: Yeah. Well, I'm guessing that most of these kid's
parents were mostly Christians.
J: Yeah that's what it sounds like, yeah.
They just couldn't image that rock music that could be giving good lyrics.
J: Yeah.. I mean, well
it's a tragedy. But the thing is.. Not to be, I mean.... their parents.. I obviously don't know anything about them. But the
thing is, as Christians we pretty much, we pretty much, we don't take too many steps to really like, find out who God is or
understand the Lord very often. And I think one of the things you can see that in is, that, yeah for instance, that rock music
is from the devil. Cause really what happened was in the 50's when rock music started, it sort of brought promiscuous sex
into the picture. Drugs into the picture. Everybody goes 'Okay the rock music is the evil.' When really it's not. It was part
of a lifestyle. So I mean the truth is.. I think anybody that kinda, has really spent some time reading the Word and understanding
who God is would know that music glorifies God, you know. I mean if we think there's gonna be just one type of music in Heaven,
we're probably wrong. Ya know, uhm, I imagine there'd even be some things we'd never heard before, ya know. Because uhm, God,
God... His nature is creative. His very being is creative and He loves creativity. I don't know. We get that every once in
a while. But it's a real tragedy. Kids, well, not just kids.... Teenagers are gonna listen to music whether their parents
let them or not. If they, like, 'No no this is wrong, this is wrong,' they're gonna buy Marilyn Manson records. It's just
going to happen, you know. Then they get reaally mad at their parents. In some sense it's right but it's like, 'Whyyy are
you being so religious?' And it was a fight with my parents to let me listen to Christian rock music. We fought for three
years about it, ya know, until.. I wasn't asking to listen to Motley Crue, I was asking to listen to Petra! And they would
get mad I was, 'Come on just let me listen...'
W: Last one, and this is one we're gonna ask all y'all.
Since we're Panheads.org. What - We have- the only definition of a Panhead that we have is one that Ken Steorts gave. Uh,
several years ago, what is-uhm-when he was still- How do you define a Panhead?
J: Oh man. The definition
of a Pa- Well.... just because someone likes Skillet doesn't make them a Panhead. Ya know what I'm sayin? It's kinda like
just because you're a Christian doesn't mean you're a part of the Alien Youth. Or something like that. Lemme think here. It'd
probly be people that're, it's people that are somehow over the top. Whether that means they drive a long way to see us. People
that bring skillets to show. Something that kinda makes people out of the ordinary. 'Wow they really like us!' Ya know. That's
kinda how it started. I think now people that are Skillet fans are Panheads. Still, our fans are typically people that don't
necessarily love Skillet or people that really like us. Ya know. *chuckle* It's probably the reason we haven't sold a million