The Aftermath Tour
Like a beacon, music transmits light. It refracts hope when needed most in times of trouble. With each song, show, and album, Skillet—John Cooper [lead vocals/bass], Korey Cooper [guitar/keys], Jen Ledger [drums/vocals], and Seth Morrison [lead guitar]—uplift and unite. It would be no different when the world went into lockdown during the Global Pandemic. Faced with unprecedented circumstances and stuck at home with the rest of us, John and Korey once again found a way to spread a bit of light. Taking to Instagram Live, they served up a series of highly-trafficked performances and ultimately set the stage for the Deluxe Edition of their tenth full-length offering, Victorious: The Aftermath [Atlantic Records], comprising four “piano versions” and three unreleased new originals in 2020.
“When lockdown first started, I noticed people online were just beside themselves with loneliness and anxiety,” says John. “I pay attention to culture and the news as much as possible. I heard suicide hotlines were up by 1,000%. I read all of these terrible stories about people trapped at home. I thought we would put something out there for the fans to keep going. It’s ultimately the reason we decided to do these piano versions and new songs.”
Cemented as one of the best-selling rock bands of the 21st century and Pandora Billionaires Club recipients, the two-time GRAMMY® Award-nominated multiplatinum Wisconsin quartet maintain an unbreakable bond with listeners unshaken by circumstance. By 2020, they not only garnered a pair of GRAMMY® Award nods and sold over 12 million albums worldwide, but they also took home a Billboard Music Award for the double-platinum Awake. Its breakout single “Monster” remains “one of the most-streamed rock songs of all-time” with over 3 Billion global audio streams. 2016’s Unleashed bowed at #3 on the Billboard Top 200. Going #1 on Rock Radio, the lead single “Feel Invincible” cracked 150 million global audio streams and went platinum. Meanwhile, the gold-certified Unleashed became their fourth consecutive album to receive either gold, platinum, or double-platinum status. To date, nine original tunes earned RIAA recognition in tandem with high-profile syncs by everyone from WWE and Marvel to ESPN and NFL. Between selling out arenas on four continents, the group performed on CONAN and graced the pages of USA Today and New York Times, to name a few. In 2018 alone, the band clocked 1 billion streams. At the same time, they emerged as a global force. The band consistently sells out arenas on multiple continents, packing venues across Europe, Russia, Australia, and beyond. Additionally, they’ve graced the stages of top international festivals such as Download, Pinkpop, and more.
This momentum continued on 2019’s Victorious. It arrived in the Top 20 of the Billboard Top 200 as “Legendary” delivered over 25.9 million Spotify streams in under a year. Not to mention, Skillet debuted their first graphic novel, EDEN: A Skillet Graphic Novel with Z2 Comics, which has become the publisher’s best-selling book of all time.
Following a successful tour in support of the album, the band quarantined at the onset of the Coronavirus. In their home, Korey and John congregated around the piano and played fan favorites. First up, a performance of the Victorious ballad “Anchor” generated 150K views on Instagram.
“Korey and I were playing alone, because the band wasn’t allowed to come over,” recalls John. “Without the production, the lyrics really stood out. Due to the lockdown and the nature of what we were doing, fans were able to connect to the message more. We always want to give them everything we can. Korey was like, ‘Why don’t we record these, finish a couple other ideas, and get them out there?” That’s how The Aftermath was born.”
They introduced the project with “Terrify the Dark (Reimagined)” a new take on a Victorious staple. Driven by keys and a sparse beat, the vocals take center stage with a comforting chorus, “Your light will terrify the dark.” Elsewhere, the piano entwines with a clarion call on “Victorious (Destiny Remix)” as glitchy iridescent beats overtake the bombastic refrain of “Legendary (Destiny Remix).” Among the new material, “Dead Man Walking” bobs and weaves past a swaggering riff and industrial-style beat towards a hard-hitting call-and-response on the bridge. Between robotic harmonies, the hook packs a potent punch.
“It’s got a disco metal vibe,” smiles John. “I love the groove. At the same time, there’s a spiritual lyric. You’re waiting for something more, and you’re waiting to come alive. I think all humans are innately born with this feeling. That’s a very deep spiritual truth.”
Meanwhile, “Sick and Empty” illustrates a personal push-and-pull as part of the human condition over cinematic synths, a slick bass line, and distorted crunch.
“Sometimes, I just ruin stuff,” he admits. “I don’t mean to, but I do. I see it in my relationships with my wife, kids, and others around me. You realize how frail we are as a species, because we keep screwing things up. We need something from outside of us to be whole again. It’s very meaningful to me for those reasons.”
“Dreaming of Eden” acts as an audio companion to the EDEN graphic novel and its second installment also entitled The Aftermath. Outfitted with a befittingly otherworldly soundscape, it brings the story to life. The song arrives just in time alongside the second installment of the graphic novel, which thrusts readers deeper into this post-apocalyptic world.
“I wanted to write a tune about EDEN,” he goes on. “It’s supposed to be another world we can’t see, but it’s also a beautiful and amazing place where you never die. It’s full of hope.”
In the end, Skillet bring hope in its purest form.
“You can rock out to us or get unfiltered emotion from us,” John leaves off. “I want The Aftermath to give you more of everything. Maybe these versions will take you deeper into what the lyrics are about and you can possibly relate even more. I connected emotionally to all of the albums I love. It wasn’t just for a year; it lasted longer. When you have an emotional connection with a record, it’s with you for life. I hope some of these songs stay with you for life.”
- Performance Schedule
- Tuesday, October 5, 2021 at 7:00 PM CAL