Last week I posted Part One of my interview with Jon Schaffer who talked about the upcoming Dystopia tour and recording the new album with Stu Block. In Part Two of my interview, Jon talks about touring across the globe and where the band is headed in the future.
Iced Earth is planning to embark on a huge world tour throughout Europe and the U.S. which includes places you’ve never visited before. What’s the feeling you have visiting these new areas?
JS: It’s part of the strategy that I have! I think it’s necessary the West is imploding in order for the band to stay viable. We have got to plant seeds in new territory. It’s exciting because always going to a new country and life experience. It’s good stuff but it’s also part of a business plan to make sure that this band can work when we go into the greatest depression in human history which I think is what we’re headed for in the US and in Europe and we’re in serious, serious trouble. People seem to be walking around with their heads up their ass not realizing it, it’s obviously changing because more and more people are waking up to the treason and crimes that are happening in government, with the banking system and Wall Street and everything and it’s happening on a global scale but there are too many people that are just TV addicted morons that are believing everything the magic picture box tells them and that’s a problem. I’m just trying to look at markets around the world that are emerging economies while we implode, there’ are other nations that are being propped up and we need to get our feet in the door, plant those seeds. I have no idea what to expect in China and India. I know we have fans in India, I know there are some metalheads there but in China I have no idea what to expect. We’re getting in early plant the seeds and go back and try to turn it into something.
What can fans expect to see on this tour? What will make this tour different from previous tours?
JS: The last several years all we’ve been stuck in is nostalgia mode a lot, because we really haven’t been able to rehearse as a band and doing gigs here and there. It just makes it…like we couldn’t do Dante’s Infero for instance. We couldn’t do it before because then we would have had to take a keyboard player out to do it and because the original click track was erased and all that. I re-recorded it for this purpose so that we can actually do it live. Now that we can rehearse and act as a real band, we’re gonna be bringing back a lot of stuff from the back catalogue that hasn’t been played in a long time and frankly that shit’s really hard to play and if the band isn’t a well oiled machine, then we can’t do it and that’s why we haven’t been doing some of that earlier stuff in the last several years. So it’s going to be a mixture of old stuff. This is going to be a heavy tour, an intense tour. There’s not going to be a lot of ballads and stuff like that going on. I think you’re going to see a very electrifying front man. Just from the video shoot I was really impressed. I knew in my heart right from the gate that I made the right decision with Stu. As we have gone through this process since I hired him, I’ve just gotten more and more proud of him and convinced that he is absolutely the right guy and he’s totally committed to this thing and I think people are gonna feel it and gonna see it and this is a return to form for Iced Earth. We’ve had a difficult decade and it’s pretty amazing when you consider everything that’s happened that we have held on as well as we have considering how little we’ve actually been out working and everything but we have. The spirit of the band is alive it’s a great lineup we’re good friends, we laugh our asses off together. We have a lot of fun and there’s a lot of love here and we’re all ready to go out and slay.
The comraderie definitely helps the band!
JS: Absolutely and hey we had fun with Matt too but it’s cool that Stu just stepped right in and it’s like we didn’t miss a beat. It’s gonna be great
Fans were able to get a look inside the recording of Dystopia with the webisodes posted on your website…Did you like enjoy doing them? Would you consider doing more in the future?
JS: Yeah, I think it would be more exciting for the people if he was there when we were tracking but the problem this time around was because we were bouncing back and forth between Europe all summer. Century Media obviously has a budget for that kinda stuff and they couldn’t have the video guy hang out for six weeks. If we were doing a making of a record then that’s one thing, but to do a few freebies for You Tube is something different. The guy came for a couple days: he came when we were doing drums, or he came when I was doing rhythm guitars….it’s hard..since we’re doing it in pieces and then assembling it. It’s hard to get a sense of what it’s like. I would prefer to have somebody around that can capture a little bit of everybody’s parts actually recording and maybe also at the end for the mix. I think it’s still a little view inside what happens, a very a limited view. There is way more than goes on in making a record than is shown in those webisodes and maybe we can do that someday.
How about tourisodes captured while on tour?
JS: Yeah I think that’s very possible. The management and publicists are always talking about that kinda shit. It’s not something you are never going to find me leading the charge on, but I’m not gonna deny it is a good idea it’s good to do to keep people excited, give the fans something to checkout. I understand that from that standpoint but believe me I have a million things going on in my head all the time. I won’t be leading the charge on that. That’s publicists type of stuff that’s not where my head lives. That’s why I don’t do a personal Facebook, I have it just to administer Sons of Liberty last thing I need is to be stuck behind a computer for another fucking reason. If you want to talk to me, fucking call me (laughs)
You mentioned playing a number of Festivals this past summer. Were there any shows that stood out to you?
JS: Nah, we’ve been doing this for so long, but the best thing was the sendoff for Matt at Wacken. It was most emotional, the most special, the right venue of 100,000 dedicated metal fans out there. It was the right way for him to bid farewell to us and the fans. Matt is still going to do music and we probably will do stuff together in the future but not as Iced Earth because Iced Earth can’t be a part time band. We have to be the force we are meant to be. But it was a great day, we had a great party afterwards and it’s always going to be special to me.
I am sure a lot of people ask about Matt and what’s going on with him and his desire to leave Iced Earth again?
JS: I don’t fault him for what he has to do. When he came back to the band it was under part time conditions and I thought we could make it work. We really both had the best intentions for it but the music business has changed drastically since he came back. For a band to stay relevant, I don’t want my guys in the band having to do shitty part time jobs, when we need to be touring, we need to be working. Our crew relies on us and we have a fantastic core group of people together and everyone is ready to fucking go and make this happen. Matt was given that opportunity and it’s not about money. He could make a lot more money in Iced Earth than he can as a cop. It’s about him wanting to be with his family and not wanting to spend that amount of time on the road. He’s just kinda done with that. Doing it as a hobby is one thing but doing it serious is something else. I have no beef with that. He’s my brother-in-law, I love him.
The DVD/CD Festivals of the Wicked as released earlier this year. What can fans look forward to seeing on this DVD?
JS: I don’t know if you find out let me know (laughs). It’s alright, it’s festivals, it’s not the DVD that I want to make but it’s something that was contractually obligated. It’s not bad, but it’s the end of an era, that’s what it is. The end of a time of uncertainty in the band and a lot of problems, but it’s cool. There’s good quality shows with Tim and Matt. Tim at Wacken, Matt at Metal Camp and Rock Hard and whatever so it’s cool. I have been wanting for years to do a proper Iced Earth DVD. A headline show, not fucking festivals and not some bootlegging from Greece. I want to do a real thing with a dedicated film crew that knows the songs well enough cause they have been out with us for awhile and they know to get the right shots. Cause that’s what you’re dealing with when you’re doing those kind of festival things, it’s not your show, so you don’t have the kind of freedom and control you could have over your stage show and set and how things look and then you’re dealing with on-site film crews who don’t know shit about the band. So it’s not the ideal situation. It’s okay, to me it’s a filler in the catalogue. Management just cringes when I say this kind of stuff because I’m too blatantly honest, but that‘s the way I feel about it. If people want it in the collection, grab it, it’s cool but if you don’t that’s cool too.
So we’ll see another DVD release of Iced Earth live material in the future?
JS: We will do a proper live DVD, a real Iced Earth headline show, in front of a real Iced Earth live audience after the next studio album with Stu.
Thank you Jon for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to HearEvil.com
For more information on Iced Earth visit their official website here