A brand new interview with ICED EARTH guitarist/mainman Jon Schaffer conducted on March 13, 2009 is available for download as an MP3 audio file at this location (8.4 MB).
Regarding the immediate plans for ICED EARTH, Schaffer says, "Well, right now I'm wrapping up the post-production for the 'Festivals Of The Wicked', DVD which I expect will come out late summer or fall of this year. I don't know that for sure, it depends on when we wrap things up, but that's the plan. That's the next project.
He continues, "ICED EARTH is going to be taking some downtime. I've been very, very busy. I haven't taken any kind of vacation in six years and I have been non-stop ICED EARTH for three-and-a-half years — from the beginning of the writing of both of these records through the recording, the touring — and there has been a lot of touring... it's just time. I need to step back from it a little bit. And I've got other things planned for this year which I'll be announcing in due course, but my goals are for right now are to get the DVD finished and (then) to get away completely — no cell phones, no e-mail, no contact with the outside world, just me and my family at a very nice isolated place, no music business, no nothing, and it's going to be awesome. That's going to be cool and I plan to come back completely recharged and ready to kill."
Regarding the kind of projects Jon will be working on after returning from vacation, he says, "You're going to have to wait and find out, my man. I mean, I'm just not ready to divulge yet. I've got a few irons in the fire and some things I'm very excited about. Hansi [Kürsch; BLIND GUARDIAN] and I have planned late in 2009 to get together to do DEMONS & WIZARDS stuff so that's going to be cool. We saw each other in Cologne (earlier this year) and made plans and I think it's realistic to say that there will be a third DEMONS & WIZARDS album probably mid-to-late 2010. We're going to have two songwriting sessions. We are committed to doing the bulk of this in person. One of the things I felt like from the last DEMONS album was that we had this window of opportunity where we had to get it done and we kind of let time dictate the schedule instead of our feelings, and that was probably a mistake. I mean, I'm proud of that record ('Touched By The Crimson King', 2005) and it sold killer and it's a good album but I think Hansi and I are capable of a lot more especially when we get back to the root reasons of why we did this thing together.
"We are not going to be bogged down by schedules — we're going to do this as we see fit and we're not going to let a particular window of opportunity dictate that this is when we have to do it. We're going to do it as it feels natural — and if we feel that in spring of 2010 that we don't have the songs yet, then we'll push it back. I mean, we don't have to do it on any specific schedule. We had a really long talk about it and I'm really looking forward to it because I always enjoy working with Hansi and just spending time with him. So, our first get-together is going to be late in the year, but before that I've got a few things going on and like I said, we'll announce it in due course."
Regarding the name and content of the forthcoming ICED EARTH live DVD, Schaffer says, "It's going to be called 'Festivals Of The Wicked'. It is going to be (include) Wacken 2007 (with Tim Owens). The four headliners that particular year were SAXON, ICED EARTH, BLIND GUARDIAN, and IN FLAMES — at that point the most successful Wacken ever — 70,000 people. It was a massive show. We're (also) including Rock Hard 2008 and Metalcamp 2008, and there will be some extras like a behind-the-scenes kind of documentary, videos from 'Framing Armageddon' and 'The Glorious Burden' era, the EPK — the electronic press kit. I think it will be interesting for the fans to see. It's kind of a video biography that was done for industry people. It's something that the fans would not typically see. It's going to have a Ross Halfin photo gallery. Rudy De Doncker from Belgium, who's done a lot of photos of the band through the years — we're going to have his photo gallery there too. There's going to be a lot of stuff. I think we're looking at a three-DVD set. I guess it's possible it could end up being four, but I think the plan right now is to squeeze all the stuff on three, so we should be able to do that.
"The DVD thing is new to me — we haven't done one before with the exception of the 'Gettysburg' thing, but that doesn't really count. That was just a Surround Sound version of that song that sorta snowballed into a little documentary about the battle. This is an actual concert release. When we hand in a CD master there is a three-month turnaround time — that's what the labels like to have to prep things up and get press in order. It also depends on whether we can reach the goal of getting this thing wrapped up before I leave, but I would expect the latest release day would be fall of this year."
Fan-filmed video footage of ICED EARTH's February 21, 2009 concert at Boogaloo in Zagreb, Croatia can be viewed below.