ICED EARTH: Touring Plans On Hold, SCHAFFER To Become First-Time Dad

ICED EARTH guitarist Jon Schaffer has posted the following message on the band's web site:

"First off, I want to thank you all for another successful tour. Your passion and loyalty towards the band never ceases to amaze me. I look back over the last 15 years of ICED EARTH touring around the world, and though there have been many changes, the one thing that's always been consistent is the spirit of our fan base. It's truly an amazing thing and I feel fortunate for that special relationship. ICED EARTH has never been about an individual, but a way of life. A lot of people don't get that, but the fans do, and that's what's made it a success from the beginning. So again, I thank you all...

"I also want to take this opportunity to tell you all that Bobby Jarzombek will be with ICED EARTH as well as DEMONS & WIZARDS as long as he wants to be here. He is truly a world-class drummer, the best I've ever played with by the way, and I'm honored to have him on the team. Bobby has an instructional video coming out soon that is mind-blowing; check it out if you get a chance, you won't be disappointed.

"As some of you may know, I've been dealing with lower back pain for a few years now. I had surgery back in November that turned out to be a waste of time and most likely a misdiagnosis due to the fact that the pain has reached an all-new level. In fact, towards the end of the tour there were a few nights that I wasn't sure if I was going to make it through the set. I feel I owe the fans at the Graspop festival in Belgium an apology because I was certainly not myself at that show, and for that I am sorry.

"When we arrived at Frankfurt airport the day before, I wasn't sure if I was even going to be able to do the 2 festivals. I was having trouble walking and standing for any length of time, it was very intense and nothing I could do was giving me any relief. Thankfully, the physical therapist that did the first 4 weeks of the U.S. tour is a German friend, and was able to meet me in Frankfurt that night and work on my back. Between his help and a few bottles of Jagermeister I was able to get through both shows. Those who know me know that drinking before or during a performance is not a practice that I'm accustomed to, but it did ease the pain a bit. I feel sure I was at 20% of my normal capacity at Graspop and maybe 50% at Bang Your Head, and all the while suffering immensely.

"Anyway, I'm in the process of taking several serious medical tests to see if we can get to the bottom of the problem and fix it for good. As of right now my health has to be the first priority, so any plans for touring are on hold for the moment.

"Also, very soon we will be auctioning off my 2000 Harley Davidson Night Train. [ICED EARTH webmaster] Neil will have pictures of it up soon and my friends at Guitarworks here in Greenwood, Indiana will be handling the sale through their EBay site. The bike is sitting in their showroom right now. This is a bike that I customized myself and due to my back problems it's been sitting in my living room because I was in denial about parting with it.

"Anyway, the time has come to face the reality that touring bikes with windshields are my destiny as a biker.

"This bike was also photographed in certain versions of the 'Horror Show' CD, albeit with a different paint job. It's absolutely cherry and has only 1995 miles. The engine isn't even broken in yet! The reason behind auctioning it off instead of selling it the normal way is that we want to give a percentage of the proceeds to a charity that will help our troops whose families are struggling financially here at home. If you're at all interested in bidding on this one of a kind Harley with its unique history keep posted for details in the next few days. Once Neil gets the links up you can read more about the bike and what's included with it.

"Well, I've saved the best news for last. I'm going to be a father!! Wendi and I are very happy and looking to the future like never before. This is by far the biggest and most important thing to happen to us and will be more fulfilling than anything thus far, I'm sure.

"Again I want to thank you for your support and loyalty through the years.

"Take care and best wishes to you all!!"

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