Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal of Metal Assault recently conducted an interview with ICED EARTH guitarist/mainman Jon Schaffer. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Assault: With your new singer, Stu Block, when the "Dystopia" album came out in 2011, a lot of peope were impressed by him and started accepting him as the new singer. But do you think it all got more solidified with the tour? And the people who missed the tour, they can check out the ["Live In Ancient Kourion"] DVD to hear and see what he's like on stage as the ICED EARTH frontman.
Schaffer: Yeah, the tour probably was the biggest part of that, because we played a lot of shows and Stu just killed it every night. Out of the 140-something shows we did, he had just one night in Scotland when he was sick. He had gotten a little cold and he had a rough time on stage. That's not at all bad considering the kind of hardcore touring we did. He's a soldier, man. He can handle it every night and he performs every night. A lot of people saw that early on and were very impressed. Of course, this DVD is only going to help that and the next record is going to be really strong. We're about seven songs into it now. It's feeling great and Stu is going to shine on that well. So the fans have overwhelmingly accepted him. There are certain people that are stuck in the past, and that's OK, because they can keep listening to the old records, but ICED EARTH is moving forward.
Metal Assault: With him not being used to this kind of touring, especially with his previous band INTO ETERNITY not really active as a touring band in recent years, were you even expecting him to do this well? Were you surprised, to some extent?
Schaffer: I was surprised. Not only him, but ICED EARTH as a band has never really done this kind of touring before. Of course, we've almost always headlined, which is different from what Stu had with INTO ETERNITY because they were always a support act. But we'd go out on tour for a month and inevitably the singer would have a problem at some point, whether it's catching a cold or something. It's hard to be on tour. When your body is your instrument, you've got to really look after it. We live in a tour bus and if the crew is living with you and if those guys are out experiencing the weather the whole time, they end up getting sick and the band gets sick as a result. So it's kind of normal and that's why I was pretty amazed that Stu escaped that for the majority of the tour. I was surprised by his endurance level, because having been in INTO ETERNITY, in a situation where he'd only play for a half an hour at a time, or 40 minutes at the most, it's a different thing going out and playing a long set. But like I said, he's road warrior. He loves it, he lives for it, and he executes it very well.
Metal Assault: With this "Dystopia" world tour pretty much done, are you going to work on the new album, "Plagues Of Babylon"?
Schaffer: We're writing the new album now, and this summer we have a bunch of festivals in Europe booked so we'll be tracking the new record in between the gigs that we'll be playing. Our world tour is starting in January. We've already announced the European leg. So we're not taking any time off, man. We're recording and hitting the road again soon. It's going to be great.
Read the entire interview from Metal Assault.