ICED EARTH leader Jon Schaffer spoke to Brutal Planet Magazine about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected his group's touring and recording activities. He said (hear audio below): "Our travel is very restricted right now, especially being an international band. We have a Canadian and a British guy in the band, and it's not gonna be easy. And I think it's gonna be quite a while before we can get together and do our next thing. It doesn't make any sense to start planning anything right now, because I believe they are gonna launch the second wave of this and lock everything down again. They certainly will in most states, and as it is right now, Americans can't even go to Europe.
"To me, it's a ridiculous level of fear mongering," he continued. "I'm not denying that we have a problem, but we've had plenty of these problems in the past. And what I don't like is I feel like this reactionary decision to shut everything down is gonna do far more damage to people's lives. And I think if you look at the actual death rate…"
Clarifying that he is not saying the pandemic doesn't exist, Schaffer added: "I feel sympathy for the people that have lost loved ones during this — absolutely; I'm not cold-hearted — I'm just saying that the ramifications of shutting down the global economy are gonna lead to far more suffering than something which, it's arguable whether it's even as bad as the flu in terms of the actual death rate. And the way they're testing, that needs to be questioned heavily, and the way they're counting [coronavirus-related deaths]… If you have a heart attack, they're gonna call it COVID. They're being pressured by the federal government to do this kind of garbage so they can get the numbers up.
"There's a lot of fraud and corruption, obviously, in this country and all over the world, but it's rampant right now," he said. "And I just think that the people are gonna suffer a lot more from these decisions than from the virus itself."
As of Friday morning (July 24), the CDC reported there’s been 3,952,273 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and that 142,755 people have died from the illness.
CDC data from the 2018-19 influenza season estimates about 35 million people in the U.S. contracted the flu and roughly 34,200 died from it.
Earlier in the month, Schaffer raised eyebrows 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."
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.