A: How’s the tour going?
J: We are having an amazing tour. This is our forth show and I think today we finally caught up on sleep! But it’s been great. There have been small venues, which is cool because it reminds you of when you first started.
A: So even though you are bigger now, do you still like playing the small venues?
J: Yeah. I mean I love to have four times as many people sure, haha, but playing small crowds is so much fun. The intimacy with the crowd is awesome and I love seeing everybody’s faces., once it gets too big you can’t really see the faces, so I really love that. Kinda makes it feel like eye of the tiger.
A: It must be amazing actually seeing the audience and getting that connection with the fans.
J: Oh yeah. It’s a different experience which I like. I think that’s what we’re good at – that connecting on a one on one basis. I think that’s why we were around for so long before we had any radio success probably.
A: How do you feel about the UK fans, is there a difference between them and, say, American fans?
J: What I will say is that which I do think is the case currently, is that over here is not as ‘fad’ based as America. America can be very ‘in one day out the other’. There seems to be a lot of loyalty here with fans.
A: Would you say there was an age difference in the fan base here and the US?
J: No I think it’s similar at the moment. Some people have been saying over here that they are surprised how young your fan base is but we have always kept a very young fan base in America as well.
A: Queuing up today there was a complete mixture and I love to see that, from the teens to the grandparents.
J: Yeah, me too!
A: Have you got a song that no matter how many times you have played it you still LOVE playing live – maybe an absolute favourite?
Absolutely. I have a couple, let’s see…Rebirthing, I love. That’s my favourite Skillet song. That song kind of marked a new era in Skillet when it came out. That was our fifth or sixth record and it was our first record produced by Atlantic records, we were on an independent label before that, so it marks the beginning of a new era for us. And to me it’s very identifiably Skillet and I really like that. And of course Monster is always fun as that’s the biggest one…and the crowd scenes…I’ll never get tired of playing that old thing.
A: Is there a least favouite one?
J: Ha ha.
A: Every time I see one of the ‘older’ bands I often wonder whether they get tired of playing those ‘classic’ tracks.
J: I don’t have any songs that fans love that I feel that way about. I have a couple of songs that maybe went well but maybe didn’t…Alien Youth which was about 2001 I believe it came out, and I just hated playing that song. I liked the song but hate playing it. It was very slow.
A: So not bored of any of your own songs then? Those ones that the crowds love that you have played so many times. I haven’t got bored of listening to them so…
J: Well no, the best part is the crowd singing, as long as people like it it’s awesome. I guess when they stop singing I’ll be bored of a lot of them probably!
A: Is there a favourite venue, anywhere in the world?
J: My favourite venues have been outdoor venues that we’ve played. Funnily enough they have all been in America although I wouldn’t typically think of America having my favourite venues because a lot of them aren’t as ‘legendary’ as some in Europe, where the great bands have played. But for me the best venues I’ve played were outdoor venues like Red Rocks which is in Denver, Colarado, a natural kind of amphitheatre. Then there is one called The Gorge in Washington. You’ve probably seen pictures of the Grand Canyon?
AL Yes, it’s on my bucket list!
J: Oh it’s beautiful. Well The Gorge is not part of the Grand Canyon but it sort of looks like that. There’s a venue and a stage and that goes up a mountain and it’s pretty spectacular. They always have people like Dave Matthews and bands like that there.
A: Oh, think that’s on my bucket list now as well then. Sounds amazing.
What is your most embarrassing tour memory – on or off stage?
J: Oh my gosh, I’ve got tons…
A: Ahh well give us a couple of really bad ones then.
J: Well, I fall. I haven’t fallen in a while but I used to kind of fall… it’s not a shock when I do. Let’s just say that… Yep, fell again!
A: Ohh due for another one, haha!
J: Haha yep. Probably the most embarrassing might be when I have called out the wrong city names. I haven’t done that for a long time either but I used to do it frequently, like all the time.
A: Talking it up now! I think there are quite a lot of people who have done that…
J: Yeah you can’t help it.
A: Or can’t pronounce them properly. Do you know how to say Norwich? (silent ‘w’)
J: Erm, Norwich.
(then there is a minute or two of us both just saying ‘Norwich’ to each other, quite amusing and John seems to have got the nack of it pretty quickly)
A: Wackiest, most random thing happened on stage not necessarily with the band but maybe fans? Things thrown at you – anything really ‘out there’?
or the usual stuff like bras and chocolate?
J: Yeah we’ve had things like that, sure. If I think of something before the end of the show I’ll mention it.
A: Oh right, thank you. Right well I will let you get on as I know you’ve got stuff to do! Thank you so much, this was amazing. Great opportunity for me and really nice to meet you.
J: Oh, that’s nice, thank you. Nice to meet you too.
Interview By Angie Byde For Rock-Zone UK
Photo from www.allvoices.com