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Interview with SERAPH's Erik Stone
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The following interview was taken during the month of April, 2007 by your very own The Skillet Sizzle creator, Amelia Conway. This interview was with the bass player of John Cooper's old band SERAPH's Erik Stone. He took the time to give insight on the former band and John Cooper, plus some of the steps taken for the band Skillet to be created!

Erik Stone, 1994

"So yeah....Seraph was started by myself and the drummer while still in High School. The first name of the band was Shadow of Refuge. We played a few shows under that name, but decided on changing it to Seraph (after the singing angels in the book of Isaiah). We heard of this 15 year old kid that could sing really well, so we auditioned John. He was a natural, so we hired him on the spot. He's always been hyper and energetic....which makes for a great front man for a band. We played shows all over the South for about 5 years. We even signed a small record deal, but put out a split E.P. with Urgent Cry. You can still buy the CD on ebay if your lucky.
 
If you know your Skillet trivia, you would know that Urgent Cry was Ken Stoert's band. The lead singer for urgent cry was married to the daughter of Jimmy Jamison (lead singer for Survivor....you know...eye of the tiger, from Rocky), so their E.P. was a lot more polished than ours due to the money they put into it, and the fact that Jimmy produced theirs. But the Seraph side just plain rocked! Ken Stoerts co-produced the Seraph side. Seraph broke up around '95, and John Cooper started a new band called Funky Dynamo & his big toe. Yeah, that kid had a wierd sense of humor. That band lasted a few months, and then he started jamming with Ken (from Urgent Cry). That eventually turned into Skillet. After Skillet started playing shows around Memphis, they got noticed by a fellow churchmember.....Dana Key, from the band DeGarmo & Key. That got the ball rolling for Skillet's record deal. The rest is history..." - Erik Stone
 
Question: The songs that you guys did, did John himself write those, someone else, a couple of you, or all of you?
 
"The songs were written by the entire band. John was a major part of the songwriting though. Matt Browning (keyboards) was also a major contributor. They were both our McCartney/Lennon, if you will.
 
If you look through enough Skillet CD liner notes, you may see a few Seraph names in there, Matt Browning, Mike Salopek, Randall Littleton.
 
John is actually classically trained on Piano, and wrote a lot of music on the Piano (he's really good actually). We taught him to play a little guitar here and there. When I left the band, they obviously needed a bass player, so John stepped up to learn the bass, and he did pretty quickly. He's extremely talented that way. I would like to think that my playing style helped influence his style on bass....but who knows.
 
I just thought the fans would be interested in John's background. John joined the band when he was 15, and for a few months the band was named Shadow of Refuge. We had a few changes in the lineup for guitar and bass, but it's always been me (Erik) and John, and Matt (keyboard) and Randall (drums). Those pics on the site were taken when John was about 18 (give or take a few years). I posted all the songs as a free download at Garageband.com, and posted a link on Wikipedia for that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seraph_%28band%29
 
 
 
"More John Cooper Trivia"
 
"So I've got the inside scoop for you....no one else really knows this. I've mentioned this before, but before John was in Seraph, we were in another band that turned into Seraph. The band was called Shadow of Refuge....and....we do have some recordings somewhere. John is only 15 and still sounds great! I was playing guitar instead of bass at that time. The recordings are on cassette somewhere, so I'll have to convert them to digital for MP3. There may be 2 or 3 songs. I'll let you know when this is done. Also...this is not very known, but right after Seraph split, John started another band before Skillet. That band was called "Funky Dynamo and his big toe". It was funkier stuff...more like "wild honey". I was out of the band by then, so I'm not sure if they recorded anything...but it's still good to know (if you're a true John Cooper fan). I may have played one or two shows with Funky Dynamo, but I was playing rhythm guitar (because John started playing bass by this time). John really had only played bass for maybe 2 years when Skillet was signed to a recording contract! Yes, he is VERY talented when it comes to music, but I guess everyone already knows that, right? If you ever get a chance to hear him play piano...you will be blown away....especially with the classical stuff. But then again, he was the only kid I knew that had a baby grand piano in his BEDROOM during highschool!!!!! His parent's house was ginormous (is that a word? lol), so I guess they had the room for it. Anyways, I'll shut up now. Every once in a while, I may show up with little comments here and there about John...I've got a million ;-)
 
Did you know that for years he worked at McDonalds in the drive thru? He used to tease people and give them a hard time over the drive-thru speakers....funny stuff." - Erik Stone, June 25, 2007

Check out SERAPH's myspace page!!