Guitarist/Mastermind Jon Schaffer
Interview By Lord of The Wasteland
Transcription By Sara "Abominae"
It takes an awful lot to convince me to stay up until 2:00AM on a work night, especially to do an interview, but the opportunity to speak with Jon Schaffer, the mastermind behind U.S. power thrashers Iced Earth, doesn’t exactly present itself very often, either. Speaking with Schaffer from Fort Worth, Texas following the second gig on the band’s current leg in support of the mammoth sci-fi concept releases FRAMING ARMAGEDDON – SOMETHING WICKED PART I and THE CRUCIBLE OF MAN – SOMETHING WICKED PART II, the guitarist was as forthright as always with his answers and pulled absolutely no punches with whatever I asked him despite the ungodly hour that it was for both of us.
With the two-part SOMETHING WICKED epic causing a rightful stir and Matt Barlow returning to the vocalist position following the firing of Tim “Ripper” Owens (ex-Judas Priest) in December 2007 causing an even bigger stir, there was plenty for us to discuss. However, Schaffer also offered up plenty of information in regards to the long-awaited comic book focusing on the Set Abominae character from the Something Wicked storyline, his own balancing of life’s priorities as a musician and a father, as well as some other current projects unfolding within the Iced Earth camp.
Matt Barlow – Live @ Bloodstock Open Air (Aug. 2008)
The big news, of course, is that vocalist Matt Barlow is back in the band again and Tim “Ripper” Owens is out. Everybody seems happy about that.
Yeah and obviously everybody’s got their opinion and I think for me, I think out of the Tim and Matt discussion, they are both really great vocalists. I think it’s really silly the way people carry on sometimes, but I mean from a spiritual standpoint, it is really great having Matt back in the band. It feels really great onstage but I really enjoyed the work Tim and I did together, and I’m not just being politically correct or anything. I’m very, very proud of THE GLORIOUS BURDEN and FRAMING ARMAGEDDON. I think those albums are kick ass.
I know you and Matt are family, but how did you go about getting him back in the band? Did he ask you or did you ask him?
When we were together any time after he left this band, it was usually at family function-type things and we didn’t talk about music but when I heard about him doing his side-project with Pyramaze, which was basically done through the mail, kind of what Hansi [Kürsch] and I have done with Demons & Wizards, it was a project thing that he was doing and it made me think he was missing music and I called him up and said, “So, man, are you missing it? Are you getting the bug?” So he was like, “You know, yeah I am missing it.” The first thing we talked about was doing a project together and a change was going to happen in Iced Earth regardless of whether Matt would have come back or not. It just probably would have happened after THE CRUCIBLE OF MAN since we were in the middle of doing all that. If it wouldn’t have been with Matt having the desire to come back, we would have finished out the SOMETHING WICKED thing with Tim and there would have been a change. It was clear to me that Tim’s head was into doing his solo thing and that Iced Earth was kind of a steady paycheck and it felt somewhat like he was going through the motions—certainly live—and that’s really not acceptable.
Anybody who has been in the band has always been a true believer and has always felt really strong onstage, and it’s always had this spiritual thing going on, and it felt like it was kind of lacking in that department. Not in the studio, but the studio you have to understand is a very different environment, a very controlled environment, it’s a different animal. You have multiple times to get a part right. It’s a different energy, a different thing that happens. In that respect, Tim is, from a technical standpoint, the most amazing singer I’ve ever worked with. From a technical standpoint, some people like Matt’s voice better, some people like Tim’s better, some people like John Greely’s [vocalist on 1992’s NIGHT OF THE STORMRIDER] voice better. Some people like Hansi’s voice better…whatever, everyone’s got their opinions. Purely from a technical standpoint, I have to say there were no compromises with Tim. Anything that I asked him to do, he could do anything that was humanly possible. Myself, as a songwriter and also as a producer, Jim Morris and I were like kids in a candy store. It was like, “Damn, dude. We can throw anything at this guy and he can do it.” Then again it comes down to a spiritual thing that was lacking and I felt like it was pretty clear that Tim’s head was somewhere else and I was going to change that. It wasn’t acceptable.
So that’s how it went down and Tim and I spoke about this. It wasn’t like he got sucker-punched. It was kind of spun in the media and I’m not going to get into any mudslinging and bullshit because it doesn’t really matter. Anybody that knows me knows how it went down, everybody in our organization knows, Tim even knows, that’s the way it is, but we discussed it several times. But anyway, when Matt and I spoke, at first we were talking about doing a project, and then it became clear after ten to fifteen minutes of discussing those possibilities he was going to be able to do a good amount of touring and that we would be able to do it as Iced Earth and that’s how we should do it. It was not like some plot that was being planned for a long time. Literally, we spoke about it and within a couple days the decision was made, so that’s how it all happened. It felt like the right time and the right thing to do. But like I said, a change was coming anyway.
Were you surprised that Matt agreed to re-join the band?
Not really. I certainly wasn’t pushing him. That wasn’t the way it went down, like I said, we started talking about doing a side-project together because anybody can do some recording. No matter what your career is, you can always squeeze that in. I was not begging Matt to come back and if he wouldn’t have come back…you know, either way Iced Earth is going to roll and it would have. I wasn’t surprised. It wasn’t like I called him and said, “Hey, man, will you come back to Iced Earth?” It started off as discussing the possibilities of doing a project together and the conversation evolved from that point. I wasn’t calling him with the intention of him joining Iced Earth. It was obvious he was missing music and I thought it would be cool if we do something together again. It was not a surprise to me and it would have been cool with me either way.
FRAMING ARMAGEDDON (2007) / THE CRUCIBLE OF MAN (2008)
Obviously, Matt and Tim are both amazing vocalists in their own right, but you have done some lead vocals, as well on the new record on “A Gift or A Curse.” It’s been quite a while since you last sang a lead vocal, so, number one, why don’t you sing more leads and, number two, what was it about that song in particular that fit your voice rather than Matt’s?
Matt’s singing too. He’s doing lower harmony. What I’m capable of vocally is pretty limited compared to what I write or hear in my head. I will never have the kind of octave range Matt or Tim has, or any of the singers I’ve worked with for that matter, with exception of [Gene Adam] on the first album. John Greely had an amazing range, as well. Hansi has an amazing range, so does Tim and so does Matt.
I probably have two octaves, where these guys have four or five octaves. I’ve always been of the mindset that if I were to do the vocals, it would limit Iced Earth and it would limit what I have going on in my head. To be the lead singer in Iced Earth, the requirement is that they’re going to have to be able to have a multi-octave range because that’s the kind of songs I write. I can do multiple vocal styles, as far as the growling thing like “Stormrider,” or melodic like on “A Gift Or A Curse”, or even the vocals on the version of “God of Thunder,” those are distinctly different versions, but not the high stuff. I’m just not built that way vocally. I always hear that stuff when I’m writing. It’s a big part of the sound, so any vocalist who gets the gig in Iced Earth has to do that. They have to be able to do that, it’s just a requirement.
From a songwriting standpoint, there will be songs that I’ll do once in a while, but even in the songs that are out of my vocal range, they’re my lyrics, those are my vocal melodies and my vocal cadences and I’ve actually taught the singers the parts. It’s not like I lay a sheet with the lyrics in front of them and say, “Here, come up with something.” It doesn’t work that way. It’s all very planned out, down to how the cadence of the syllables lay out, it’s very detailed. Now, the singers have written lyrics. In some cases, Matt has and Tim even did some lyrics on THE GLORIOUS BURDEN on the song “Red Baron/Blue Max.” Obviously, with those lyrics, they’re working out the vocal melodies and the cadences and Jim and I will do any tweaking from there if we need to. What I do in a demo situation when I’m writing the stuff, a lot of times I’ll lay down the vocal part for the singer to follow, or even if it’s something out of my range, I’ll either sing it in a lower octave or play it on guitar in the octave that it’s going to be in so they can follow it. Then we’ll throw around terms a lot in the studio, like, if there’s a specific style of singing that I’m looking for, we’ll throw around a Geoff Tate voice, a Halford voice, a Dickinson voice, a Dio voice. Those are the four things we use. It’s totally to communicate, so the singer knows this is the atmosphere I’m looking for. It doesn’t mean I want you to sound like Ronnie James Dio. It just means it’s the kind of voice and the kind of emotion I want you to look for. It’s a way for us to communicate. That’s just the kind of voice and emotion I want you to look for. The singer is going to go, “Okay, I know what Jon’s looking for and I’ll still go for that,” but he’s still going to sound like himself.
Iced Earth – 2008 Touring Lineup
(L to R: Troy Seele, Freddie Vidales, Jon Schaffer, Matt Barlow, Brent Smedley)
I understand that the music for FRAMING ARMAGEDDON and THE CRUCIBLE OF MAN were written and recorded mostly at the same time and little bits were added on to the CRUCIBLE OF MAN for the final product. Why did you choose to release the albums separately and not just release them both at the same time as a double CD?
There is just far too much music to do that. The record company never would have allowed that to happen. It’s like giving another full album away. It’s not like it was just ten or fifteen minutes over the 74-minute max that you can put on a CD. It’s a considerable amount more; it was a whole other CD. It was not ever an option with SPV Records. They would not have gone for that.
If it were an option, would you have preferred to release them simultaneously?
I don’t know. I never really thought about that. I don’t know (pauses). Probably not, actually. I don’t really see the benefit doing that actually.
I guess in a way it sort of leaves fans a little teaser for something to look for next year when the conclusion comes out.
Yeah, you know, it’s a suspense thing. This has been planned for years. This was supposed to happen after SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES. The song trilogy that ends that record was supposed to be the introduction. It was after that I decided not to resign with Century Media Records. That’s why HORROR SHOW was our last album with Century Media because I decided to put it on hold. This was meant to be a two-part epic. I started collecting world instruments back then. This whole thing has been running in my head for years and that was the plan. After we got away from Century Media and signed with SPV, the 9/11 thing had happened and that really did a number on me. I was not really in the frame of mind to tackle SOMETHING WICKED and besides that, I didn’t want it to be the first two albums we would do with a record company that we hadn’t really worked with yet. I wanted to put out an album and get a feel for what they were going to do. We negotiated that in the original deal. It was like, “Look, if everything goes well and we’re happy how you guys are working, we’ll go ahead and do the two-parter.” They were into it and I was happy with the way they were performing, but they have gotten themselves into serious financial difficulties, so I’m not sure what the future holds for SPV right now. They’re having a very tough time right now, as a lot of record companies are. Things are not good for them.
That’s too bad.
We’re actually done. Our contract is up. It’s a little bit up in the air. At first, we were talking about releasing this box set thing. Originally, I was going to put on these four extra tracks, segway pieces, I intentionally left off CRUCIBLE because I felt like the album flowed together better, and now that we had the singer change, the continuity was screwed up anyway. If we’re going to do this boxed set thing and Matt’s going to re-sing FRAMING, then I’ll add these other tracks in and it’ll make the entire thing flow together better because I felt like with CRUCIBLE, we put the songs on only and leave the segways off, and leave this for a more constant kick in the nuts, not with the moody storytelling segway pieces. Now it looks like that boxed set may never happen because of SPV’s financial state. It’s kind of a bummer because I would have put those songs on there had I known this going to happen and I was told it was definitely going to happen.
There was going to be a DVD showing the making of CRUCIBLE, and even some of the FRAMING sessions…some of the writing process. We were going to have a couple live tracks from the summer festivals. It was going to be a really cool package. Now that whole thing is kind of falling apart. Basically from a recording contract standpoint we are finished with SPV. As far as if the DVD comes out, it’s up in the air whether we’ll be doing the DVD with SPV, as well. It’s pretty messed up at the moment. We’re going to be fine. The record company is not a problem for Iced Earth. There’s plenty out there that will sign us, but I feel bad for them. They’re really struggling right now.
HORROR SHOW (2001) / THE GLORIOUS BURDEN (2004)
This question is more for media types like myself but when the promos for FRAMING went out, they had a voiceover track for copy protection but CRUCIBLE didn’t. Do you have any idea why?
No, but I was pissed about having to do that voiceover bullshit anyway. They called me when we were mastering—mixing was finished—and my product manager came in and said, “You have to do this. It’s got to happen or we’re going to lose sales.” They were adamant about it. They said if you don’t do it, somebody here at the label’s going to do it. That would have been stupid for somebody who had nothing to do with the band come in and do a voice over, so I went ahead and did it. I don’t know if they got so much shit after doing the first one that they just decided not to do it, or if in that year’s time, they decided it was a battle they just can’t win, so fuck it. The problem is as soon as a promo copy is sent out, it’s leaked because there are people in the media you can’t trust, frankly, and they’re going to put it out on the internet. It’s just the way it is. There was even a point where they were making the media guys go to a central location just to have a listening session. I don’t know why they didn’t. All I know is nobody called me, so we sent it off the way it was. It’s not something I wanted to do anyway.
I know a lot of our writers weren’t happy when they got the promo for and said that the voiceover left the record unlistenable and this that and the other thing…
A lot of guys are pissed because they’re not getting their shit for free. There are plenty of journalists that are in that category, believe me. I’ve met them through the twenty years I’ve been doing this.
I read that you’re thinking about starting a comic featuring the Set Abominae character. Is there any truth to that?
Absolutely! It’s going to happen, there’s no question about it. One of my next projects, actually, is putting together what’s called the one-shot, which is sort of like a demo for the comic business. It’ll be a twelve- to fifteen-page comic that will have specific parts of the story and the art team I’m going to use and then we’ll shop it to different publishers like Vertigo, DC, Marvel, Image, whoever, and see what kind of deal we come up with. It’s also possible that we might not have to do a demo. Management’s working on that right now and I’ve got some connections at the McFarlane camp. We might be able to just use the art for SOMETHING WICKED I & II for the demo since it will be the same art team that will be doing it. I’ve got a lot of plans for this because this can go far beyond what it is in the music and what Iced Earth has done with it. It’s got a lot of potential to go pretty far.
Jon & Tim Live in Vancouver – 2004
You mentioned the artwork and Iced Earth has always been known to have brilliant and striking art on the CD covers and booklets. The fellows you have doing SOMETHING WICKED PART I & II have done some really fantastic art!
Absolutely, yeah, it’s a good team. It’s actually three guys. Two guys work at and own a tattoo shop in Columbus, Indiana, David Newman-Stump and Nathan Perry, who are the ones that did the pencils and the inks. Felipe Machado Franco is the guy who did all the coloring, so it’s a typical comic book style approach to artwork, normally two to three guys, a guy does pencils, another who does inking, another who scans and does computer work. What’s really cool is having the guys in Columbus, which is thirty minutes from me. We had a lot of face-to-face meetings with this, drew up storyboards and everything, it’s really great. They work very well together. They’ve done quite a bit since we’ve started working together from the album cover standpoint. They’ve done quite a few tattoos on me, as well. They’re awesome.
You’re a walking billboard for them (laughs)!
(Laughs) Yeah, absolutely. I’ve had the cover of CRUCIBLE tattooed on my forearm since before FRAMING ARMAGEDDON came out. It was one of the first drawings and I said that’s the going to be the cover of part two so let’s just put that one away, but that’s exactly what I’m looking for for part two. At first we had just the image of Set, but I said, “Man, I want to make it like he’s exploding out of the Earth,” so Felipe was able to do that. It worked out great. He took a Hubble telescope picture of the Earth and it came out cool.
THE DARK SAGA (1996) / SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES (1998)
Obviously, you guys are on tour right now but I was wondering if you have any plans to stage a full production of both albums played front to back to capture the whole story?
Yeah we do and it could happen. It depends on the fanbase and if the fans really want to see that happen. There’s been a discussion, but it’s the kind of thing that we’ll know a year from now. You just never really know if the albums are going to become the cult classics that I think they will be and to put something like that together is going to take a hell of a lot of work and money, so we want to make sure the people want to see it. We’re actively in touch with our base and we’ll know within a year or so. The other thing is, too, we’re out promoting this record now but it’s so new that to go out right now and do all that would not be in the best interest for a live show because you don’t want to play too much new stuff when the album’s brand new. You’ve got to give people time to let it soak in and get used to it, so we’re only doing two songs off this album, and three off of FRAMING ARMAGEDDON. It’s getting more and more difficult when you have a catalog that has been going on for twenty years. That’s a lot of records.
There’s a lot of fan favorites and stuff. I get asked by certain people why we don’t do stuff from BURNT OFFERINGS. The reality is that BURNT OFFERINGS is the worst-selling album in our catalog, by far the worst, it sold like ten percent of the amount the other albums sold. In that case, I have to build a setlist that is reflecting what the people like. Its one thing to say, “Well, an album wasn’t promoted well…blah blah blah.” But none of those albums were really promoted well. If an album’s got legs, it will continually sell through the years regardless. Even the first album has way outsold BURNT OFFERINGS. NIGHT OF THE STORMRIDER has outsold it by fifteen times in the last twenty years. We’ve got to focus on those records that are really selling. I know there are people out there who want to hear “Dante’s Inferno” and stuff. Some day we might do it, but it’s getting more and more difficult because the catalog is so big. There’s the long answer but the point is, if we’re going to do something like part I and II, we need to make sure the fanbase wants to see that whole thing live. We’ll do our very best to put it on very spectacular.
BURNT OFFERINGS (1995) / ALIVE IN ATHENS (1999)
I saw a setlist from last week’s show in Tempe, Arizona and while it focuses heavily on the SOMETHING WICKED storyline, there are some real gems like “Pure Evil” mixed in, as well. Is this a fixed set throughout the tour or are you changing it up?
It’s pretty fixed. We’ve had some changes. Through the first leg, some things weren’t going over as well. “Come What May” was good but too much new stuff. It just felt like a bit of a lull live. Some people are disappointed we took it out of the set, but you know, it’s a situation where we’re hitting them with a little too much new stuff. I just saw AC/DC in Indianapolis and it was an amazing show, but I was disappointed because they played too much new stuff. Six or seven songs that took place after FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK, so for me from that album and everything before it I absolutely love, they could play that all night long. We’ve moved the set around a little bit, but I feel where we’re at right now is where we’re going to stay.
You’re in Vancouver on Wednesday and I’m really curious to hear Matt’s take on Tim’s songs. Did he hesitate to take them on live at all?
No. For one thing they’re Iced Earth’s, not Tim Owens’ songs. I wrote them all. Matt did plenty of songs in the old days that he didn’t record originally. It’s a requirement. It just doesn’t work that way. Iced Earth as a band doesn’t revolve around the singer, it revolves around the songs. Even though people say I’m this egomaniacal freak and everything revolves around me, it’s not that way. Yes, I’m the driving force. I’m well aware of that. Iced Earth is a vehicle for my songs and whoever is in the singer position has got to be able to do songs from every era of Iced Earth. It’s just the way it is. So we’re not going to deny a specific record or something because a singer doesn’t want to do it. Matt’s not like that anyway, he fully understands that, he wasn’t on NIGHT OF THE STORMRIDER, he wasn’t on the first album and he’s sung those songs for years. It’s the way it is.
Matt Barlow – Live @ Bloodstock Open Air (Aug. 2008)
While you’re in Vancouver, you’re doing a special event at Scrape Records, one of the big indie metal stores on the west coast. They’re celebrating their eleventh anniversary and Iced Earth is headlining the show but beforehand, there’s a pre-show autograph signing at the store, which is going to have a ridiculously huge turnout. Are you doing a lot of these things on tour or is this sort of a one-off kind of thing?
It’s a one off thing. We’ve done that in the past, but with the VIP thing we’re doing now and if we were to do the signings, that would already be a lot to do because it’s typically a long day then we do the VIP thing afterward. For me, when my management told me the situation with Scrape, I felt that we’ve got to help these guys out. To be an indie record store and still be surviving is a fucking miracle. I’m all about that because I’m not one of these guys who is real thrilled with the way the industry has gone in terms of people stealing music left and right. That has killed so many retailers, record companies, artists…so for these guys to be in the trenches fighting, I’ll be right there fighting with them.
That’s very cool for you guys to do something like that. I know JJ at Scrape appreciates it and all the local fans do, too.
Iced Earth is all about the fans. I know there are a lot of things people say about me. I’m a very outspoken, brutally honest person and that freaks people out a little bit, but when it comes down to this kind of stuff certainly, and even on a regular basis, if there’s time I will stop and talk to fans all the time. People don’t need to have any kind of fear of coming up and speaking to me, as long as we’re not rushing off to an airport or if it’s not bus call and we have to leave to make our next gig or something, I will spend time and sign people’s stuff and talk to them. The band is like that, too. Actually, it’s something I insist on. We are here because of these people that fortunately connect with the music, believe in this band and they’re the ones who are giving us the opportunity to do this, so we need to be respectful of that. So I mean coming down to an indie record store…how many of those are left? I don’t know of any left. In Tampa, there was a store called Aces Records. I don’t know of any, so I think it’s a pretty special thing, so if we can help them out, I’m happy to do it.
ICED EARTH (1991) / NIGHT OF THE STORMRIDER (1992)
It’s been about ten years since we last spoke with you directly about Iced Earth, it was actually when SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES was released, ironically enough and it was our Editor-In-Chief, EvilG, who did the interview with you. In the course of the chat, you said “When I started the band, the intentions were to be as big as Maiden and Metallica and we are not stopping until we achieve that.” Do you still subscribe to that vision in this stage of your life?
(Laughs) Yeah, I was young. The thing is, man, I don’t think any band is going to achieve that. It’s such a different world now. I shouldn’t say any band but it would be very difficult for a metal band coming up. I just don’t see it. I don’t think Maiden could even go and do what they did in the eighties right now, even though they’re kicking serious ass still. To be able to go and play at any enormadome in every major city in North America it’s not going to happen. As naïve and full of ambition as I was, no. I think that we are really fortunate to have had the success that we’ve had. When you look at a band like Iced Earth, we sell about 200,000 copies within the first year of release, regardless of who’s in the band and what’s happened, then it continually sells through the years. I think that if you compare nowadays with downloading and all that stuff, what 200,000 copies means now is very different than what it would have meant back in the early eighties. I think we’re still hanging in there pretty damn good. Are we ever going to be at the level Maiden was and still is? I don’t know. In some countries we are.
The funny thing is, when my daughter was born, it really changed my perspective on life. I used to be so full of drive and I had blinders on. I never stopped to notice what I succeeded at, it was always “got to go, got to go and make this thing happen.” I never would slow down enough to pat myself on the back. From the very beginning, splitting from home at sixteen, living on the streets doing all that shit…I’ve come along way. It took the birth of my daughter for me to be able to put things in perspective in a way that I never have before. So that kind of ambition that used to drive me…I still have ambition, but it’s very different now. It’s focused in a much different way. Now the band is still very important but my daughter is absolutely number one, whereas the band always used to be number one. It’s up there for sure, it’s still very important, but it does change you. I think it’s made me appreciate what I have been able to accomplish so far. At this point, I’d say to be able to have the loyalty and love of people out there who really get it, I know there’s plenty of haters out there, as well, but there’s a very large number of people that understand what I’m about and what this band is about. We’re not like a lot of the bands out there. There’s a significant amount of people who get my songs, that’s all it’s ever been. I never wanted to be the guitar god, or the rock star guy or all that shit. It’s all about the tunes and people that are fans get that. There’s a lot of people that don’t, but Iced Earth fans do.
TRIBUTE TO THE GODS (2002) / DAYS OF PURGATORY (1997)
Two quick questions to wrap things up, Jon…
Do you plan on recording a sequel to the covers album, TRIBUTE TO THE GODS?
Not any time in the future, but you know, hell, it could happen.
You’ve got your Spirit of ‘76 store in Indiana. What are the chances a fan could go in there and find you on site? Do you spend a lot of time there?
Actually, we are only doing it online now as an internet/mail order store. We closed it down about a year and a half ago as retail. It was only open on the weekends anyway and it became more difficult. Back when I first opened it for the first year, people would have found me in it constantly. It was my vision. I put it together, then after the band started getting busy again, I had to hire a manager to come in, and the guy was honest and really knowledgeable with history, but wasn’t that great of a salesman and our daughter was born also, which made it more difficult for my wife and I to do that and run the band and maintain the family. I’ll keep all the display cases and all the decorative stuff, put it in storage and one of these days I’ll re-open the store again when I’m actually ready to retire from music. I bit off more than I could chew from a retail standpoint. Doing it on the internet is something else. Actually having a storefront added an extra level of commitment and work there that was just tough.
What can we expect from Iced Earth in 2009? Are there going to be more tours in support of this album or will this be it?
We’ll be staying busy. We’ve got a European tour going on in February—a month long co-headlining tour with Saxon—and then after that we’ll be doing summer festivals in Europe. As far as what we’ll be doing in North America, I’m sure we’ll be doing some stuff in between festivals, and you never know, if the right support tour comes along, it’s very likely we’ll jump on something. I’d love to go back out with Judas Priest. We had a great time in Europe with them. I know they liked having us as a support band because we’re pros and easy to get along with and everything. We had a really good time, fans loved the package over there, there’s potential of something like that happening. We’re going to be staying busy. I’m actually working on another project that’s kind of in top-secret mode right now. I’m going to be doing that through December and January, so there’s a lot going on.
Jon, I’ll leave the last words to you for our readers and fans of Iced Earth.
Well, man, I know it probably gets old for people to see this, but I always end the same…I just want to say thanks so much to all of the fans out there that have been with us through all these years, and the new fans who have just come on recently. The loyalty is really something special, man. I promise that regardless of anything, as long as I am able, I will do my very best to deliver the best product that we can—the best music, the best art, the best metal, man. It comes from the heart and soul. I am committed to this.
Jon Schaffer – Live Back in the day…
***Thanks to Jennifer at Chipster PR for setting up the interview and to Gerry, Iced Earth’s tour manager, for keeping me posted all day with the delays.
ICED EARTH–Official Site