In a new interview with Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio, ICED EARTH leader Jon Schaffer discussed how the coronavirus pandemic has turned a lot of people's lives upside down and how it has affected him personally. He said (hear audio below): "This was planned to be a year of some time off and studio work, which I have not achieved any time off, actually. But I'm planning on that in September. We didn't have any booked shows anyway, and neither did DEMONS & WIZARDS [Jon's project with BLIND GUARDIAN's Hansi Kürsch]. So Hansi and I, we're very fortunate, because neither ICED EARTH nor BLIND GUARDIAN nor DEMONS & WIZARDS had any commitments to do any shows in 2020, but, unfortunately for many, many of my colleagues, they're suffering big time.
"There's a lot of expenses to launching a tour, and when you start, you need to be out on the road to make sure that you recoup your investment and make money by the end of the tour," he explained. "A lot of guys started, and then one or two weeks in, had to cancel, and I know what that means budget-wise, and it's a nightmare. So, I feel really bad for a lot of the guys,
"I don't expect this to end anytime soon," he added, referring to pandemic-related shutdown measures. "And for ICED EARTH, for us to make a record, I've got two international guys in the band, and I think things are gonna get a lot more weird before they get better. And I hope they get better, but I don't believe that for the next two years, there's gonna be any concerts. Maybe in a few countries around the world, but just the way they're floating the second wave [of infections] and all of this… I don't know. And they're gonna be limiting capacities at a lot of venues, so that means the ticket prices are gonna go way up, and the bands are probably gonna make less because there's not the right amount of headcount there. It's basically a scenario for disaster for the music business — for everything.
"I disagree completely with the way the governments have handled the whole thing," Jon said. "I mean, we've had plenty of pandemics through the history of mankind, and you don't shut down the global economy. I mean, the fallout — I personally don't believe for a minute that the governments of the world love us so much that they're willing to collapse the entire global economy to make sure people don't die. I mean, that's just not the way government thinks. So I feel like there's another agenda in place here, and it's rolling out day by day, so we'll see. But it's been devastating for millions of people all over the place, so it's not just the music business. There's a lot of people that are really suffering from this. Time will tell. But I'm not relying on anything right now. And honestly, I'm not in the frame of mind to be working on an ICED EARTH record at this particular moment."
Schaffer raised eyebrows last week when he voiced his controversial views on the coronavirus crisis during an interview with MetalSucks's "The Quarantinecast", claiming that COVID-19 is "a psychological warfare campaign on the people more than it is a serious pandemic." Implying that a shadowy cabal of elites is using a global crisis as a cover to profiteer and entrench their power, Schaffer said: "I think there's a lot more going on than meets the eye here — in fact, I know there is. Legitimate doctors and scientists are being censored and banned on YouTube constantly. It's unbelievable levels of fraud. I'm not saying we don't have a problem, but the human race has faced this kind of thing for millennia — it just goes on — and we don't shut down the global economy. The death and unrest out of these decisions is gonna be a thousand times worse than the virus."
Schaffer recently announced the release of his first book, "Wicked Words And Epic Tales". The book is the debut release from Schaffer's new publishing company Wicked Words, LLC and is the first of many original concepts planned for future release by Schaffer.
"Wicked Words And Epic Tales" is a collection of lyrics, interviews and pages of artwork that Schaffer's work has inspired throughout the years. The book is an anthology of lyrics from Schaffer that span his 35 years in making music in various projects, including ICED EARTH, DEMONS & WIZARDS, SONS OF LIBERTY and PURGATORY.