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Skillet’s John Cooper Explains Hard Rock Music Isn’t Demonic: ‘I Absolutely Believe Music Belongs to God’

John Cooper
Photo by Jesse T. Jackson.

Pastor Shane Idleman of Westside Christian Fellowship in Leona Valley, California, recently invited Skillet’s John Cooper onto his podcast “Idleman Unplugged,” where they discussed if hard rock music is demonic.

Cooper has been the lead singer of the Christian rock band Skillet since they formed over 25 years ago. Their band has always taken a bold approach to sharing the gospel with fans and listeners through their lyrics, interviews, meet and greets, and now through the “Cooper Stuff Podcast.” Due to their boldness for their faith in addressing cultural issues, the band has gained mainstream respect from secular fans and bands, which allows them to tour and perform at festivals where most Christian bands wouldn’t be welcome.

Idleman asked Cooper his thoughts on hard music and when it crosses a line, becomes too dark, or should be considered demonic.

“At some point, you do cross the demonic when it’s, it’s just too dark…I guess it depends on the lyrics and the artist, because you can take the same instrument and use it for God’s glory or for very dark and demonic lyrics,” Idleman said while sharing his thoughts on the topic.

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“For me, I just love loud music,” Cooper replied. “I’ve always loved it since I was a kid—I just related to it.” The lead singer shared that while playing sports, the energy that comes from listening to hard rock music helped him get pumped for competitive sports.

Cooper said, “I really don’t want to use Scripture cavalierly, but I will throw some Scriptures out there that I think they mean something to me, and maybe it’s applicable. Maybe it’s not, but I think about this Scripture, you know, that says, to the pure, all things are pure (Titus 1:15).”

“One of the things that that Scripture, as I’ve understood it to mean, is that sometimes there’s going to be something [that] may be attached to something that’s really negative for someone, but maybe it’s not negative for someone else,” Cooper continued while speaking of the Apostle Paul’s instructions about eating food offered to idols. “Maybe that could be that meat that was sacrificed to idols, as we see in the Scriptures, and somebody’s like, ‘Hey, that’s not me anymore. I gave my life to Jesus. I don’t want nothing to do with that meat.’ Then you may have somebody else—a Christian—that’s like, ‘I don’t even know this is a sacrifice to idols. I just thought it was meat, and I was thankful that God gave it to me.’ Music was a little like that for me.”

The hard rocker explained that he never understood the rebellion that surrounded rock music. The “sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll” phrase didn’t mean anything to Cooper growing up. Instead, he shared that he just “liked the way it sounded.”

Cooper said he understood that God created music. “The devil doesn’t create stuff, he distorts. The devil comes in to steal and kill and destroy—of course—but he wants to steal something that God made that was good. He wants to mess with it and change it to where he tries to get glory, and I always felt that music just glorifies God.”

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“I was pure in it, and I didn’t know anything about rebellion [pertaining to rock music],” Cooper said. Listening to music before a basketball game didn’t make him love the devil, Cooper explained. It was just “loud” and “cool.”