Prior to SKILLET's performance at the Rock Allegiance festival on October 6 in Camden, New Jersey, vocalist John Cooper spoke with Kristyn Clark of Pop Culture Madness. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On juggling the schedules of SKILLET and other projects he's involved in:
John: "It's an exciting time. We actually did three records all at once. Our drummer Jen [Ledger] has a side project that we only just released this year called LEDGER. We worked on LEDGER, SKILLET and FIGHT THE FURY all at the same time, because I wasn't sure what was going to come out when, and we were waiting for the right time. When we released LEDGER, it kind of pushed SKILLET back a little bit. I said, 'You know what? I'm going to release this FIGHT THE FURY project.' I've been writing it for about two years, and I had it recorded — a year ago was when I finished recording it. You don't want to release it right on top of SKILLET and cannibalize each other or nobody ever hears the FIGHT TO FURY [album], so it was hard to sit on it because I was having so much fun doing it, and I was thinking, 'I think people would like this.' It's all working out."
On the heavier direction of FIGHT THE FURY:
John: "It's all subjective. I was amazed to hear from one my friends from KORN [say], 'This is really heavy.' Then I've heard other people like, 'This isn't any heavier than SKILLET.' I think it's quite a bit [heavier], but it might just be that SKILLET does some heavy stuff — it's just that with SKILLET, you have a lot of other elements. We have a lot of pop in our songwriting, a lot of electronic elements in SKILLET that I would call very modern and even urban on the electronic side, so when you put all of those things together — and, of course, Jen sings sometimes — that brings a little more of a dynamic. [FIGHT THE FURY] is really less dynamic — it's more just the metal side, and there's a bit more screaming in it. For me, it's really fun because one of the songs has three guitar solos in it. When I was growing up, that was awesome — the more solos, the better. That's not as accepted these days, so being able to go, 'Man, I think I want to rock a guitar solo here' and not have anybody say no is a good feeling. It obviously it isn't as broad as SKILLET, so it's going to be more niche, but I think within that, it suits a particular format a bit better. It's a little angrier, and some of our SKILLET fans have been kind of like, 'This is too dark.' I hope that they dig it, but there certainly is a group where it's like, 'This is a little too much,' because it is aggressive, and it's a little angry."
On his favorite touring memory:
John: "We had the opportunity to play with IRON MAIDEN in Europe a couple summers ago, and that was, like, the coolest thing I've ever done. This summer, we played with IRON MAIDEN again, but this time, we were only two bands away from closing. I'm like, 'I'm getting closer.' It's so nostalgic, because that's the music I grew up loving. I think most people tend to love what they loved when they were 15, because you're becoming your own person, your own identity and you're thinking what you're going to think for most of your life, so te music, it's like episodes of your life. You remember where you were when you heard 'The Number Of The Beast', the first time I saw Eddie art."
On his favorite musical era:
John: "Probably glam metal. I loved it. Somebody asked me in an interview, 'What did [NIRVANA's] 'Nevermind' mean to you?' I said, 'It meant the death of everything I loved about rock 'n' roll.' I was just like, 'What's happening? This doesn't sound like SKID ROW.' That was such a shift from what we were used to. What I loved about '80s music, whether it was the more serious side like METALLICA or MAIDEN or even the hair bands, was the musicianship. It's a little bit of a different art [now]."
FIGHT THE FURY will release its debut EP, "Still Breathing", on October 26 via Atlantic Records.
The band also features SKILLET guitarist Seth Morrison, along with drummer Jared Ward and guitarist John Panzer III.
According to a press release, FIGHT THE FURY's music crackles with a metallic, anthemic, and riff-driven intensity, along with unforgettable hooks.
FIGHT THE FURY will embark on its first-ever tour in Russia this December. Details regarding future North American tour plans will be announced in the coming weeks.