Fan-filmed video footage of ICED EARTH's February 11, 2009 performance at Tyrol in Stockhol, Sweden can be viewed below (clips uploaded by "uuqela").Greg Prato of UGO.com last fall conducted an interview with ICED EARTH mainman Jon Schaffer. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. UGO.com: I read there will be a box set of both "Something Wicked" albums — is that true? Jon Schaffer: Well, it was talked about — but I don't think it's going to happen. It was definitely discussed, and we would like to see it happen, but I don't think it's going to happen. UGO.com: So ICED EARTH will be shopping for a new label soon? Jon Schaffer: We are. Fortunately for us, our contract is finished. But I feel badly for SPV, because they are in very difficult times — as are a lot of record companies right now. UGO.com: To set the record straight, why did [singer] Ripper [a.k.a. Tim Owens] leave the band? Jon Schaffer: Well, he left the band because I wanted him to leave the band. The change would have taken place regardless of whether Matt [Barlow] would have come back — it just probably would have happened after "Crucible". From a technical standpoint, Tim is the most amazing singer I've ever worked with — he can do anything humanly possible. But from a spiritual standpoint, ICED EARTH needs a true believer in that position. Everybody that's ever been in this band — y'know, Tim was the fourth singer — has been a true believer and you feel it on stage. And that's the one thing that was lacking. Tim did a great job — his pitches were amazing live, he was always in tune, and he always did his job. But it was a spiritual thing. I think it was because he really was more interested in doing his solo career, and going in that direction — it was just obvious. So had I not had the discussion with Matt when it happened, there would have definitely been a change after "Crucible". It just so happened that fate intervened, and this is the way it went down. But I wish Tim all the best — he's an amazingly talented guy, and he deserves to go a lot farther in his career. I don't think that's going to happen with Yngwie [Malmsteen, who Ripper currently sings for], but I think it's going to happen if he really digs inside himself, and finds what it is that he's looking for — in a solo-type situation, and goes for it. UGO.com: What is the status of your DEMONS & WIZARDS project? Jon Schaffer: Right now, it's on hold. We haven't discussed any specifics of doing another record — although I'm sure it will happen. It's one of those kind of things that Hansi [Kürsch, the group's singer] and I do it whenever we get a chance and whenever opportunity arises. Right now, I've got something else up my sleeve — that is my next "in-between ICED EARTH" activity. UGO.com: Would you like to discuss what that project is? Jon Schaffer: Not yet. I'm working on it, and details will be announced later. UGO.com: Why do you think so many members have come and gone in ICED EARTH? Jon Schaffer: Well, there's been a lot of difficult years in the band. Most bands would not have survived what this band has gone through. There was never any management until the late '90s, so I was dealing with all of the record company bullshit and everything else on my own. Signing your record contract that was like slavery — a lot of people thought that since we had records out, we'd be making a ton of money. But there wasn't any money. You can't get people to hang around and feel good about something if they feel like they don't have a future. And most people just frankly aren't that committed to something. I started this band as a vehicle for my songs — that's what it is and that's what it's always been, regardless of who's come and gone. It has certainly worked. Any time I don't follow my instincts, I fuck up. The reality is we're still leading the pack 20 years later and we've sold millions of records — so I'm doing something right here. Read the entire interview at UGO.com. "Dracula":
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