Skillet guitarist Ben Kasica leaving the band

Ben Kasica rips through a guitar solo - not with his teeth - at the 2009 Ichthus Festival. Photo by Rich Copley | LexGo.com.

Ben Kasica rips through a guitar solo - not with his teeth - at the 2009 Ichthus Festival. © Photo by Rich Copley | LexGo.com.

When Skillet comes to the Ichthus Festival this summer, they will be missing a very familiar face: guitarist Ben Kasica. In an announcement Monday, the band said Kasica, who has been with the group for 10 years, will be leaving to pursue other interests.

“Joining the band shortly after turning 16 and basically growing up on the road, I had no idea how long the ride would last but have enjoyed it immensely and been thankful to God for everything I’ve been a part of,” Kasica said in a message sent to the band’s email list and posted on its myspace page. “We’ve traveled to loads of places, met many many wonderful people, drunk way too much coffee, made tons of memories and hopefully touched lives with eternity. I feel completely blessed and honored to have been a part of Skillet’s history …

“After getting off the road, I will be focusing on building my other companies, producing and developing artists at Skies Fall Studios and designing for LifeLoveMusic Clothing. I also look forward very much to being home and catching up on churchlife, family and friends.”

In the same statement, Skillet frontman John Cooper said, “From the years we spent driving through the night in a van; to playing concerts all the way around the world, I’ve seen Ben transform from the kid who was nervous to play a guitar solo, to the rocker who now plays a solo … with his teeth! I always knew the time would come for Ben to leave and pursue other dreams, and now it is here. We are a family and we are going to miss him.”

Kasica’s departure leaves a significant lineup hole for Skillet to fill, at least on tour, as the only other guitarist, Korey Cooper, splits her stage time between guitar and keyboards. The statement did not address how Kasica’s spot will be filled.

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