ICED EARTH Guitarist: JON SCHAFFER Is 'One Of The Hardest-Working Guys I Know'

ICED EARTH's official Brazilian web site, Brazil Under Ice, has been updated with a brand new interview with the group's guitarist Troy Seele. A couple of excerpts from the question-and-answer session follow:

Q: Tell us a bit about your life, when did you start do play guitar, and what bands did you play with? Did you record any albums, singles, EPs, or even something as a guest musician?

Troy Seele: I started playing guitar when I was thirteen. My first professional live show was when I was fifteen. I was in a handful of local bands that played cover music until I was twenty. My first original band was called THE CRIMINALS. That group slowly morphed into MA KELLY, which lasted for 11 years, five albums and three record labels. We opened up for several national acts but never got a break ourselves. After that was over I did various side projects; everything ranging from rock to folk to bluegrass. I started playing guitar with a band called THE WHY STORE for about a year before I joined ICED EARTH.

Q: How did you join ICED EARTH? Will you be a full member or were you just "hired?"

Troy Seele: Jon [Schaffer, ICED EARTH mainman] was near the end of recording "Framing Armageddon" when Tim Mills [former guitarist] had to bow out to run his business. Jon and I had been friends for a long time so I told him I would be happy to do some leads to finish the album. He would look for someone else to be the touring guitarist when he was ready to start doing gigs. I picked up a few songs from his studio that he wanted to try me out on. I worked on them while I was out doing some short tours with THE WHY STORE. I went to his studio armed with a few ideas for each song and it seemed to work. I ended up doing six or seven solos on the album. When it came time to do the shows I asked him to consider me. We talked about it for a week or so. One month before ICED EARTH was set to play the Sweden Rock Festival, Jon called and told me to pack my bags.

I would like to think of myself as full of a member as you can be. It's no secret that ICED EARTH is a vehicle for Jon to deliver his vision. As long as I've known him he has never excluded band members from the creative process. In most cases, Jon ends up doing it himself because they haven't taken the opportunity to collaborate.

Q: How is the friendship with Jon Schaffer? And what is like to work with him?

Troy Seele: Jon is a great friend. I've known him for over ten years and he is one of the hardest-working guys I know. Before joining the band we talked quite often so I would know the details of various situations. Then I would read things on the Internet or in magazines that I knew were not true. The misconception is that Jon is this asshole, bad guy. He knows that isn't the case but for the good of the band he takes it. Jon understands that he is an easy target and people are going to take full advantage of that. When you are the only one defending yourself, it usually makes it worse. So, for the most part, Jon just does what he thinks is best for ICED EARTH and our fans knowing full well the fallout will be aimed directly at him.

As a boss, Jon is hard but fair. If you can't handle the truth about yourself or anything pertaining to ICED EARTH, you are going to be in for a rough ride. He puts 100% into ICED EARTH and asks you to do the same. At the end of the day, all he cares about is giving the fans the best of what ICED EARTH has to offer.

Q: What did you think about playing with Tim Owens, and what do you think about his leaving and Matt Barlow coming back?

Troy Seele: Tim is an extremely talented singer and I felt honored to perform with him. There are a lot of people, including Tim, that say his leaving could have been handled better. Under the circumstances, Jon handled it the best he could.

Matt and Jonworked together for a long time. I am excited to see what they put together in the studio. I know it will be an incredible CD.

Q: What is like to you to play in ICED EARTH, and what's different between the other bands where you played?

Troy Seele: ICED EARTH is the most intense band I have ever played in. In any other band I've been in I was the only guitar player. It is quite different playing with one of the best guitar players in metal. Covering a Jon Schaffer rhythm part is not easy and there is no way to sound like him. Even if you can play exactly the same notes, and the same timing, it just won't sound the same. What I've learned is how to complement what he is playing, not duplicate his parts. Trying to clone him live is a losing proposition.

Read the entire interview at www.icedearth.com.br.

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