An interview with Jon Schaffer from Iced Earth
July 19, 2012
When Iced Earth rolled through the Maryland area on July 19, 2012 I had the opportunity to go backstage and interview Jon Schaffer. What I will tell you about this interview is that I don’t know if he really cared to talk to me or if he just didn’t like my questions, but when the interview was over I asked him if I could take a photo of him backstage to use with the interview and he said sure. I showed him what the picture looked like so he could approve it and he replied, “Honestly, I don’t care man, it doesn’t really matter!” and that’s the nature of this interview....so here ya go.
Rock N Roll Experience: How was it touring with Volbeat & Hellyeah?
Jon: It’s been amazing man, it’s a huge opportunity for Iced Earth to reach a new audience and it makes Michael & I’s bond that much tighter ...we’ve been really good friends for a while and it’s just one of those rare things where you meet somebody and right from the beginning it’s like you’ve known each other for centuries.
Rock N Roll Experience: Did you end on good terms with Tim “Ripper” Owens?
Jon: It is what it is, I mean why do you..who cares?
Rock N Roll Experience: Do you think Queensryche made a mistake firing Geoff Tate?
Jon: Honestly it doesn’t make any difference in my world one way or the other.
Rock N Roll Experience: Would you ever consider working with Geoff Tate now that he’s a solo artist?
Jon: I mean, not in the capacity of Iced Earth but to work with Geoff Tate would be amazing but I’ve got my guys so.
Rock N Roll Experience: Have you ever considered doing the solo thing?
Jon: No, I did a couple of solo records with the Sons of Liberty but...I’m dedicated to Iced Earth.
Rock N Roll Experience: Would you ever do a blues record?
Rock N Roll Experience: Are you a fan of blues music?
Jon: I like it but I would not be able to write it because it’s not what stirs me.
Rock N Roll Experience: So who are some of your favorite guitar players?
Jon: David Gilmour, Randy Rhoads, Dave Murray, James Hetfield.
Rock N Roll Experience: What do you think of the current state of Metallica because they’ve changed so much over the years as a band.
Jon: I don’t...I think that it’s nearly impossible to imagine what Metallica has gone through, it is impossible, I mean it’s a phenomenon, it’s such a massive machine & I have all the respect in the world for Metallica, they took metal further than anyone ever has & probably ever will so that’s respect to them.
Rock N Roll Experience: Do you like new metal bands like Avenged Sevenfold?
Jon: Some of their stuff I’ve heard was pretty cool but I’m not into like the Korn & that era of what they were calling nu-metal back in the day...I don’t really pay attention, I kinda just do my thing, there’s very few bands that I hear that blow me away but in a way Volbeat happens to be one of those bands and I wouldn’t call them nu-metal I would call them metal rock...they have their own classification but them and Adrenaline Mob, I guess they are metal & I love those guys too so those are probably the 2 newest, new to me, bands that have excited me & certainly Volbeat has stirred emotions in me I haven't felt since I discovered Metallica when I was a kid so that’s a pretty cool thing.
Rock N Roll Experience: Are you a Zakk Wylde fan?
Jon: I do, yeah. My guitar tech is really into Zakk so he’s been turning me on to the BLS stuff & I think it’s really cool and I think he’s an amazing player but the BLS stuff is fairly new to me, like I said, I just don’t really follow most of what’s going on.
Rock N Roll Experience: What do you think of Black Sabbath going out without Bill Ward this year?
Jon: I think it’s their prerogative, I mean I love Bill Ward, he’s one of my favorite drummers of all time but I don’t know what the story is & I don’t make judgments based on 1/2 the facts like most people do.
Rock N Roll Experience: Have you started working on new Iced Earth music?
Jon: Not yet, we’re so new into the Distopia cycle and it’s a strong & successful record that we...there’s no need to rush a new album out, I think we are going to start working this Fall but it’s going to have to be in between me doing post production & editing of the DVD that we are filming in August & touring so there’s kind of alot already going on for this calendar year but I’ve got some ideas & some concepts & some riffs & stuff for songs but I have not sat down to do any arranging which is where the real work lies & I don’t really, I’m not sure that’s going to happen till late this year or early next year...will we have it done? I don’t know because we’ve got some other really killer touring possibilities into 2013 still on Distopia so I don’t want to cut this cycle short thinking we have to get a new studio album out because this hasn’t been out a year yet.
Rock N Roll Experience: You mentioned a new DVD, can you tell me about that?
Jon: We are filming a DVD in Cypress, an ancient theater & it’s been witness to the Greek, Roman & Byzantine empires & there's been plays, musical & gladiator events and all types of stuff there so it’s a very historic place & it’s on the sea side, it’s got a pretty cool vibe to it & I think it’s going to be an intimate & special dvd...a couple thousand people so it should be pretty cool.