Iced Earth recently completed their North American leg of the “Incorruptible Tour”. Metal Wani’s Chuck Marshall had a chance to talk with Jon Schaffer during the band’s visit to Detroit. Given all the positive reviews of their shows to date, we asked Jon to sum up in a word how he would describe this tour. Jon said “I can’t describe it in one word. It’s been great. The fan base is fired up. We’ve had a lot of sold-out shows” adding “the people that are coming to the shows are really dedicated fans, and that’s a beautiful thing”.
With the wrap up of the tour, we wanted to know what was next for Iced Earth. Jon mentioned that they have a short break and then six weeks in Europe hitting festivals as well as headlining. Then the band will be off until early next year as Jon turns his attention to the new Demons & Wizards album.
Given that Jon will be getting back to the Demons & Wizards project with Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), we wanted to know if they still planned to release the new album in 2018. Jon indicated that given the Iced Earth commitments, the album won’t be coming out in 2018. Jon said “We’ve got three songs going, so we are early in the process. We’ve got quite a bit of stuff left to do.” Adding “Once I get focused on something it goes pretty quick, and Hansi has his schedule opened up, so I think early 2019 is very realistic”
Speaking of music creation, we asked Jon when he is writing music what are the defining characteristics which tell him this will be a great Iced Earth song versus a Demons & Wizards song. Jon mentioned that when he is working on Iced Earth music, “I know at least what the theme or title of the song is going to be, so that leads me in a direction of how I craft the music”. He added that “I always want to make it such that even without the vocals, somebody can close their eyes and really feel like they are on a journey.” In regard to Demons & Wizards, the process is different in that lyrics come later, so it is more about “creating cool music arrangements which are what they are and then he (Hansi) adds his thing in”.
Jon Schaffer has never had any fear of speaking his mind and letting fans know about his political / ideological / philosophical out looks. Given that metal music has a penchant for dealing with tough subjects, we asked Jon if that freedom of expression in metal is what drew him in and keeps him a part of the scene. Jon quickly said “Yeah, its all about the rebellious nature of it…that’s what heavy metal is. It’s anti-establishment at its fucking core. It is how I was as a kid and it is always how I will be.”
If you ever scan the interwebs for Iced Earth you find the never-ending debate regarding the best Iced Earth vocalist. Now that Stu has three albums under his belt, we wanted to know if Jon felt the debate would subside. “Oh No! No, No, No, Never” was Jon’s reply adding “I love all of it. I love all of the singers. They are all cool and they are all fucking talented as hell.
Given that Iced Earth was born in the American home of death metal, we wanted to know if Jon was ever tempted to take the band in that direction when they were starting out. Jon was quick to reply “No. Not at all. I have no interest in it. I’m in to melody too much”.