Jeff Kerby of KNAC.COM recently conducted an interview with ICED EARTH mainman Jon Schaffer. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.KNAC.COM: Do you see any similarities that may exist between what is going on in this country and what happened just before the fall of Rome? Schaffer: Absolutely. It's happening now. We are losing the identity of what it means to be an American. We are being almost too politically correct in catering to those who come into this country rather than insisting that those who come into this country assimilate to what our way is. The Romans did the same thing — they spread their power throughout Europe. There is a lot of moral decay, and there are a lot of parallels that exist between this country and the Roman Empire. KNAC.COM: How do you see that in respect to the elections that just passed? Do you see Obama's win as signifying a substantive change or do you think it is more a case of a country paying lip service in a time of turmoil? Schaffer: I think it's a lot of lip service. I think the majority of people who voted in this election are fucking clueless. It's scary to me. Believe me, I have all hope for our new President, and I hope he's successful — because I'm an American. I am nervous though from the standpoint that....I don't know who this guy is. I know that he's a good speaker and he's charismatic, and that people, especially in this country, tend to get caught up in that kind of shit. It's the nature of our culture, and the way we prop up our heroes and our stars, but there is a lack of information behind that record. Do we really know how he's going to govern? He can give a great speech, but c'mon, this is serious stuff. I think it was also rigged in so many ways — when you have every major news outlet out there gunning for him completely along with everyone from Hollywood — to me, it seemed like the deck was really stacked. KNAC.COM: Well, he transcended the chasm from politician to celebrity to be sure. What I'm wondering is how committed many of the people in this country really are to change. It's one thing to carry around an Obama placard, but...when it comes time for personal sacrifice, will these people still be on board? Will they still be optimistic when these issues aren't solved in three or four months? Schaffer: I think the majority of the people who voted for him have no idea what the issues are really about — I really feel that way. The guys in the dressing room last night were talking about how Howard Stern had some reporters go out and give McCain's speech and say it was Obama's. The people who voted for Obama were all going, "I agree with that! I agree with that!" That tells you those people just weren't paying attention. You get college kids out there who are voting for the first time or seniors in high school who are eighteen and voting for the first time who don't have a clue what life is really about. They don't know what it's like to really experience hard times. We have gotten so soft as a nation that for people to compare anything that is going on now to the Depression is fucking ignorant. We are so spoiled that it blows me away. Believe me, I love our American troops, and I support them, and they know that, but to try to compare what has gone on since 9-11 to Vietnam is absolutely ridiculous. We still have yet in all these years that we've been in this conflict — we aren't even close to the casualties that in one day occurred in the Civil War. The thing is, we are just soft. KNAC.COM: Are there times when you wish you could get a "free pass?" I mean, especially on the Internet, your image is that of polarization to a great extent. Some love Jon Schaffer while others seem to have severe problems with the way you do things. Schaffer: I think I get the sniping because I'm outspoken, and I'm not politically correct, and I don't care if people like me or not. That doesn't matter to me. I'm doing this because I know instinctively what works. People have no clue about the daily workings of what goes on in ICED EARTH. KNAC.COM: C'mon...everyone is an expert on the Internet. Schaffer: They just don't know, and I don't have to explain myself to these people. It's my business. People have this fantasy about how a band is or the way that it could be. I think there are a lot of people out there who would happy if I just said what everyone wanted to hear. Believe me, though, I don't lose a wink of sleep over it. It doesn't concern me. KNAC.COM: It's not much of a way to live, is it? Constantly having to worry about perceptions? If you are in a position where someone is going to listen to you, isn't it your obligation to speak out? Schaffer: I think so, but the one thing that gets me though is that I don't usually get into too many conversations about politics because I feel like there are too many entertainers who get up on their soap boxes who think that because they sell a million records or are in a hit movie, that they are an expert. I think that's bullshit. You are only an expert if you pay attention to the issues and get involved in stuff. I think there are a lot of people out there mouthing off who don't. They don't know anything about history or what's going on. Really though, I have to be me, and I know that is going to offend some people because I know how people are. Again though, I've got to live with who I am, and the people who know me know how I really am. The way I come off to certain people during interviews or when I'm speaking scares some because I am blatantly honest. Anything I've ever said in the past, whether people believe in it or not, is true. That is true whether we are discussing certain band members — I've never lied about anyone who has ever been in this band. I can't say that from the standpoint that there have been a lot of people who have left the band have certainly talked a lot of shit, but they have to because that is a human defense mechanism. When the ego is challenged, people have a really hard time. In the "Something Wicked" universe, the song "Come What May", that song is about the only hope for humanity being that we can evolve at an intellectual level — not in relation to the toys that we have. I'm assuming that's what you must have gotten out of it with the way you started the conversation. I just see dishonesty so often with people. I'm certainly not perfect, but I try to live my life in a way where I'm being honest with myself all the time. That is what keeps me at peace with myself. Read the entire interview from KNAC.COM.
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