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- credit www.listeniowa.com

Music fans, the time has come. The largest Christian music tour in the U.S. is now within shouting distance.

This year’s version of the annual Winter Jam Tour Spectacular will roll into Des Moines tonight (Friday, Jan. 26), and pack Wells Fargo Arena with its usual crowd-pleasing mix of pop, rock, rap and worship, led by headliner and platinum-selling rockers Skillet and 3-time Dove Award winner Kari Jobe. Building 429, comedian John Crist, rapper KB, tour founders NewSong, and Jordan Feliz and speaker Nick Hall round out the lineup.

For front man John Cooper, the voice of Skillet, one of hard rock’s biggest and most consistently popular and biggest selling acts of the past decade, taking part in Winter Jam every few years is a comfort zone he thoroughly enjoys performing in.

“We see fans that are anywhere from 5 to 70 years old, and I love that about Winter Jam,” Cooper said in a recent phone interview. “It feels like home.”

Cooper and wife Korey Cooper (guitar, keyboard), drummer Jen Ledger and guitarist Seth Morrison last visited Des Moines as part of Winter Jam in 2015. While Skillet is a consistent draw in mid-size venues across the U.S., the band hasn’t reached arena headliner status just yet. That’s why, Cooper said, headlining a tour of this size is always a special treat.

“What I love about it — selfishly — is that so many people come to this show. (laughs) Is that OK to say? (laughs) As an artist, playing in front of 10,000 people …. there’s just nothing like it,” he said.

The family atmosphere makes it unique in its own right, Cooper said.

“I have kids of my own, and I just don’t send them off to concerts these days,” he said. “The concerts are so provocative in so many negative ways to me. There’s violent imagery and sexual lewdness that, I don’t know, I just don’t let my kids go and do anything.”

Cooper checked in with ListenIowa recently to discuss Winter Jam, his slowly-but-surely-developing heavy metal project, and his hopes of releasing a new Skillet album in 2018.

READ THE REMAINDER OF THIS INTERVIEW BY CLICKING HERE!

Presented by Holt International, Winter Jam’s 46-city Eastern U.S. tour features GRAMMY®-nominated, Platinum selling and Billboard Music Award-winning rockers Skillet, GRAMMY®-nominated recording artist and internationally-renowned worship leader Kari Jobe (featuring Cody Carnes); GRAMMY®-nominated pop hitmakers Building 429; popular comedian and viral sensation John Crist; critically-acclaimed breakout hip-hop recording artist KB; GRAMMY®-nominated tour creators and hosts, NewSong; Dove Award-winning chart-topper Jordan Feliz; and a message from author, speaker and evangelist Nick Hall. In addition, the Pre-Jam Party will feature award-winning worship artist Dan Bremnes and lauded Curb Records singer/songwriter Mallary Hope, along with new Baby Syndrome Records artist Westover.

Winter Jam is Christian music's largest tour in attendance each year. There are no tickets required; only a $15 donation at the door. For all the dates and details go to www.jamtour.com