Cooper adds that "the good news is I feel really inspired" as he and wife and bandmate Korey Cooper work on the song ideas. "I haven't been this excited about writing a record in, like, seven years or eight years, and it's just been kind of a joyous time, actually," he says. "I've been signing autographs on the tour and meeting tons of people, and when I meet people like that it inspires me to write and I'm feeling inspired and just excited to still be making music and hopefully write songs that people can relate to and can make them feel better about themselves or help them through hard times."
One change Skillet has made this time out is returning to producer Brian Howes, who worked with the group on 2006's Comatose, after recording Rise and 2009's Awake with Howard Benson. "Comatose was our first big record and Brian has remained one of my closest friends in this world; even on the record he didn't produce I would call him and say, 'Hey, what about this lyric?' or something," Cooper says. "And right now I feel like I'm kind of in that place I was when I wrote the Comatose record...this feeling that the sky's the limit and I can make a really meaningful album. So we thought Brian might be a better fit for that. And he said, "Man, I really want to do the album,' so we're gonna go back and hopefully repeat history. That would be nice."
Skillet Talks 'Rise' At Billboard Studios
Skillet still has plenty of road work on tap this year, according to Cooper. The Winter Jam tour wraps up March 29 in Peoria, and Cooper says Skillet is planning to play South Africa as well as North American festivals and radio shows during the spring and summer. "It's going to be a very, very busy time to be recording and doing those gigs," he says. "But to tell you the truth, I'm looking forward to it. I think it's going to keep me nice and frosty, y'know?"