By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
I was super excited to see Iced Earth, when they stopped by Anaheim on March 10th. I was hooked on this band as soon as I listened to their newest record, Incorruptible. I admit, I do not know much of their past releases or history, but I am invested in them a lot more. When I was booked for the show, it was also arranged to speak with the band’s sole original member and guitarist, Jon Schaffer. I remember meeting him at their CD release party at the Affliction Warehouse, hosted by Jose Mangin. I had the chance to ask them one question when they did the Q & A portion with the fans, but I wanted to ask more. Now that I got to have a real chat with Schaffer, I found out a little more about Iced Earth.
They were not always known as Iced Earth. They started out as Purgatory, but they had to change it. Schaffer explained the reason behind the name change and why he chose Iced Earth. He explains that it is the endurance and spirit of touring and working on records that keeps the group going after many years together. He refers to the group as warriors, which I agree with. Being the sole original member left, Schaffer told me his reason for keeping the band moving forward after many line-up changes. He and I agree that it is all about the music, not the bullshit of the business. We discussed his latest monster, Incorruptible, and what was the inspiration behind the making of it. “Black Flag” is my personal favorite off the disc, and Schaffer told me he wanted to tell the history of pirates in one song, and how they connect with it. He says the band members all see themselves as pirates, in one fashion or another.
His favorite song was “Clear the Way (December 13, 1862),” which is also another personal favorite. Jake Dreyer, Iced Earth’s newest lead guitarist, handles the solos, because Schaffer prefers the rhythmic parts and has a bigger job inside the group. He says he is ready for a vacation though, because he is usually pretty busy. However, when he does have free time, he likes to scuba dive and go white water rafting. We wrapped up the conversation with a discussion about his daughter, and our love of both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
Schaffer was a real chill dude. I almost missed the interview, on account of hitting every light to the venue and the rain. Luckily, I made it, and he was super cool with me being a little late. Iced Earth ended up slaying the Parish Room. I was so thrilled to chat with Schaffer and catch the band. It turned out to be a fun night. To Jon Schaffer, I salute you. Horns up!!!
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