Power of Metal.dk Interview

Interview with Jon Shaffer (Guitars) – ICED EARTH, February 2014

I was hopeful that Mr. Jon Shaffer will be an active participant during the interview. To the great delight of mine he entirely occupied the right to make statements for the things happening in ICED EARTH.

Congratulations for your new album “Plaques of Babylon”! Welcome to Bulgaria again! At your first concert here in 2011 you have chosen two heavy metal support acts. Now in this part of your tour you brought thrash metal bands. Is this a reflection of the mood of ICED EARTH or a decision of the management?

It is my decision. As far as I am concerned they are heavy metal bands as well. You can divide metal to thrash, heavy or whatever but it is METAL.

What new could expect the audience in Denmark from your show?

The pretty new setlist. It’s damned good!

You have fans that live with the mania “ICED EARTH” from their early years. What should you recommend the young guitar players that want to achieve fast and precise riffs as yours are?

I think that they have to find their own way in metal. This is what I do and in my opinion it is the best. You have to find yourself in songwriting. They have to find their inner voice and make it happen. This is the whole way I write and play songs. This is my way. Others may think something else. The process of making music is really cool. And the way of playing needs practice. But you’ve got to be individual!

I do not know if this is some kind of standard tour ritual but here I was given a banana from someone from the crew... Pressed by the short time I have for the interview I just took it as a positive assessment... 

Some of your admirers find references between the new album “Plaques of Babylon” and your previous conception works (especially “Framing Armageddon”). What do you think are these stories true or they have their own life in the heads of your fans?

“Plaques of Babylon” is related to “Something Wicked”. But it is another story. When you read the lyrics of our new album you will find that it has a pretty complex story line.

We have listed to a studio recording of “Dante’s Inferno” performed by Stu Block. Do you plan other recordings of the old songs with his voice?

I don’t think that we will look back all the time. Probably if he likes to do it we will record. Usually we do not re-record. It’s very expensive and it takes time. The mixing process, the master… The people may find the re-recordings awesome. But this kind of process is hard for us to justify.

Does the tour make you tired or it gives you energy?

Ohhh (Burst into laughter)! It makes us pretty tired but it is true – it gives us energy, and we need this to be open…

Are you writing new compositions during a tour? Is your fully booked tour list an obstacle in the process of making music?

No, I never write on the road. For me the whole process of writing is so different from where we are at the moment – on tour. It is a different energy and a different kind of process. I never work that way and probably I never will.

 If I had a part of a lyrical idea I will arrange it and make it a song. This is different from being on the road. The creative process and the arranging process are also good fate. 

What is the mission of ICED EARTH?

It is to prepare people to be individuals!!!

See them live: 16.02.2014 - Copenhagen (Vega). 

Iced Earth - Plaques of Babylon

Label: Century Media.

Link: www.icedearth.com.


Stu Block — Lead Vocals
Jon Schaffer — Rhythm and Lead Guitars, Backing Vocals
Troy Seele — Lead Guitars, Backing Vocals
Luke Appleton — Bass, Backing vocals
Jon Dette — Drums

Iced Earth (1990)
Night of the Stormrider (1991)
Burnt Offerings (1995)
The Dark Saga (1996)
Something Wicked This Way Comes (1998)
Horror Show (2001)
The Glorious Burden (2004)
Framing Armageddon: Something Wicked Part 1 (2007)
The Crucible of Man: Something Wicked Part 2 (2008)
Dystopia (2011)
Plagues of Babylon (2014)


Interviewed by Maria