Jul 21, 2012

Iced Earth Interview

By Bob Suehs


An interview with Jon Schaffer from Iced Earth

July 19, 2012

Baltimore, MD

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?

Jon: No

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.

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