John Cooper (musician)

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John Cooper
John Cooper on April 22, 2017.jpg
John Cooper on April 22, 2017
Background information
Birth name John Landrum Cooper
Born (1975-04-07) April 7, 1975 (age 43)
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Genres Christian rock, Christian metal, alternative metal, hard rock, post-grunge, industrial metal (early)
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Vocals, bass guitar
Years active 1989–present

John Landrum Cooper (born April 7, 1975), professionally credited as John L. Cooper, is an American musician, singer and songwriter. He has been the lead vocalist, bassist and co-founder of the Grammy-nominated[1] American Christian rock band Skillet since 1996.



Cooper was briefly in experimental rock group Seraph from 1989–1995. The band released a four-song demo, titled Silence E.P., before disbanding. The track listing was "Alone", "Silence", "Wild Honey", and "Fading Love".[2]


Cooper playing bass guitar in 2017

John formed Skillet in 1996 with Ken Steorts. Both had met while touring for previous bands; John as vocalist for the Tennessee progressive rock band Seraph and Ken Steorts guitarist for Urgent Cry. The bands disbanded soon after, so John and Ken's pastor encouraged them to form their own band as a side-project. Coming from different styles of rock music, they decided to name the experiment Skillet. Soon afterward 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 and were signed soon afterward. Ken Steorts left the band in 1999 and Trey McClurkin left the band in 2000 leaving John as the only founding member of the band and primary songwriter.

Other works[edit]

Cooper provided vocals for !Hero: The Rock Opera. According to a review, Cooper did not tour with the rock opera, he only provided vocals for the Rabbi Kai on the soundtrack.[3] Cooper was the co-writer of the Decyfer Down single "Best I Can".[citation needed]

He sang on the title track of tobyMac's album, Tonight, which peaked at No. 27 on the Christian Songs chart.[4][5] He performed vocals on We as Human's song, on "Zombie",[citation needed] which appeared on their debut self-titled album and made a cameo appearance in the music video for "Strike Back".[citation needed] He signed them to his record label.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Cooper walking off stage with his wife Korey in 2017

John Cooper has stated on numerous occasions that he was born and raised in a very religious family and atmosphere, and listening to rock music was not allowed in his parents' household.[6] "You couldn't wear black, you couldn't listen to anything with drums, anything with guitars, you couldn't have long hair, you couldn't do this and you couldn't do that. Everything was so lifeless. I know I'd read the Bible and be like...'This isn't what the Bible says. I like the idea of living for Jesus, but I hate the idea of living for you.' Ya know?"[7]

Cooper came from a musical family. His mother was a piano teacher and a singer in the church that he went to. He began singing at a very young age, playing guitar at around the age of 18 and bass guitar at the age of 19.[6]


His favorite bass guitar players are Chris Squire and Doug Pinnick.[6]


  1. ^ "Skillet Closes Out 2007 With Grammy Nomination And R&R's No. 1 Christian CHR Song Of The Year". CCM Magazine. Archived from the original on December 18, 2007. Retrieved April 16, 2008. 
  2. ^ US. "Seraph | Gratis muziek, tourneedata, foto's, video's". Retrieved July 6, 2011. 
  3. ^ !Hero – The Rock Opera Tour. Retrieved on January 9, 2012.
  4. ^ "tobyMac Tonight Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved December 31, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Tonight (feat. John Cooper Of Skillet)". Retrieved September 5, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c GuitarManiaEU (November 21, 2013). "SKILLET - Interview with vocalist and bass player John Cooper" – via YouTube. 
  7. ^ Creation Festival 2010, YLO Interview