ICED EARTH Guitarist Jon Schaffer - " I Think, If The First Album Had Come Out In 1980, We Would Have Reached That IRON MAIDEN Status"

February 25, 2012, 5 years ago

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Tom Murphy at recently caught up with ICED EARTH guitarist/founder Jon Schaffer. An excerpt from the interview is available below:

Q: Was there a receptive audience for the kind of music you were doing earlier in your career and what kind of local scene was there at that time?

Schaffer: "When I really first started playing out with Purgatory, which was my first band, there was a really good scene in the Tampa Bay area for more traditional metal. Then later in the '80s, and certainly in the early '90s when the death metal took over where the melodic metal scene kind of died around there. We started working internationally at that point. We came up in a very difficult time because of the grunge thing that took over and really became the trend in the early '90s all the way through a large part of the '90s.

It's always been kind of an uphill battle for Iced Earth. I think if the first album had come out in 1980, we would have reached that IRON MAIDEN status, JUDAS PRIEST. I think we would have been right there with the big guys. But since we came up a decade later, we were fighting just to survive and never had the support machinery around us until many years later which is a record company firing on all cylinders, management, all of that. There are so many cogs in the machine that make a band successful. It's been an uphill battle and we still face some of that today, but I have to say, things are moving better than they probably ever have. The chemistry in the band is better than it's ever been. And that goes to say also for our crew and people behind the scene too and it's really feeling great."

Q: I have to think that Iron Maiden's Number Of The Beast had a big impact on you as you were starting to play music more seriously. Why is that such an important record to you?

Schaffer: "I was really right around the time that I heard Number Of The Beast that I got my first guitar because I had begged my dad for years after seeing KISS in '79. He finally realized I wasn't going to give up on that and got me one. I got that album, and it blew my mind because I had never heard anything like that. I grew up with the old wave of British heavy metal, so we're talking BLACK SABBATH and DEEP PURPLE. I wasn't really into LED ZEPPELIN that much but I heard it because my older sister was into it. ALICE COOPER, BLUE OYSTER CULT, so it was more mid-tempo rock stuff.

Then Maiden comes out, and they have this wild rhythm section. The bass player, Steve Harris, just blew my mind. His compositions, the tempo changes, the guitar harmonies, the subject matter of the lyrical content. The whole thing was the ultimate package. It just felt like that was the direction for a vision of a band I had before I had a guitar. Once I heard those guys it was, 'That's the direction I want to go in.' Not the old wave of British heavy metal. It's more theatrical and I think that's the big thing with Iced Earth. I've always tried to make the music kind of a rollercoaster ride of emotion for the listeners. If you have parts in songs that can take you down to the melancholy vibe of PINK FLOYD up to the raging thrashy stuff of SLAYER and everything in between, then you're really taking your listeners on a journey."

Go to this location for the complete interview.

As previously reported, Iced Earth are currently on the road in North America in support of their new album, Dystopia. They recently checked in with the following update:

"Due to circumstances beyond our control, our March 3rd show at The House Of Blues in Lake Buena Vista, FL has been moved to a new venue. The show is now happening at The Beacham in Orlando, FL. Go to this location for venue information


All original tickets remain valid. Please note earlier doors and stage times - details can be found on the venue website. Iced Earth is closing the show that night.

We understand if this upsets some fans. We are also not happy about this unfortunate change in plans."

Go to this location for Iced Earth's complete 2012 tour schedule.

Iced Earth recently released their new video for 'Anthem', shot in Cologne, Germany during the European leg of the band's world tour.

“We had a blast making that video,” said Schaffer. “I think the fans can see it on our faces. ‘Anthem’ captures the energy of our live shows, as well as the fun we’re having together as a band.”

Produced and directed by Kosch Fabian Film, 'Anthem' is the second music video released from Iced Earth’s 10th studio album, Dystopia. Check it out below:

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