Ichthus: Skillet, the NFL and the WWE

If you’re a football fan, you probably spent last fall hearing Skillet‘s hit Hero played as part of promotions for NBC’s Sunday Night Football. And wrestling fans were treated to Monster in several WWE programs.

Skillet frontman John Cooper during the band's pyrotechnic-heavy show. Copyrighted photos by Rich Copley | LexGo.com.

Skillet frontman John Cooper during the band

The financial rewards for that exposure weren’t great, but frontman John Cooper said Skillet did see other benefits.

“Mainstream radio has always stayed away from Skillet,” Cooper said backstage at Ichthus Friday. “We’re pretty straight with our message and somehow we didn’t seem legit to them.

“But when the NFL and the WWE work with you, it somehow legitimizes you. People say, ‘Oh, Skillet must be tough.'”

Skillet looked pretty tough on the Main Stage Friday night. The pyrotechnics that, for a while, have been parts of the band’s show now permeate the entire concert, with explosions going off in virtually every number, save for the power ballads.

A few years ago, Cooper was happy just to have some pyro. Now, the challenge is to keep growing the production.

“That’s my favorite competition, with myself,” he says.

This year’s finale included cellist Tate Olsen and violinist Jonathan Chu being raised above the crowd on hydraulic lifts.

At this point, the most surprising thing Skillet might be able to do is show up and do an unplugged set.

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