Jon Schaffer

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Jon Schaffer
Jon Schaffer in 2012
Jon Schaffer in 2012
Background information
Birth nameJon Ryan Schaffer
Born (1968-03-15) March 15, 1968 (age 52)
Franklin, Indiana
GenresHeavy metal, power metal, thrash metal, progressive metal
InstrumentsGuitar, bass guitar, vocals
Years active1984–present
LabelsCentury Media, SPV
Associated actsIced Earth, Demons and Wizards, Sons of Liberty, Purgatory

Jon Ryan Schaffer (born March 15, 1968)[1] is an American heavy metal musician. He is best known as the rhythm guitarist and last remaining original member of the Florida-based heavy metal band Iced Earth, which he formed in 1985 under the name "Purgatory". He also sings in his side project Sons of Liberty and plays guitar for Demons and Wizards, his collaboration with Blind Guardian frontman Hansi Kürsch.

Early life[edit]

Schaffer was originally introduced to rock music at the age of three.[2][3] His older sister introduced Jon to bands such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper and Blue Öyster Cult.[2] In 1979, at the age of eleven, Schaffer attended a Kiss concert with his father.[2][3] Since then, he has said that this was the moment when he realized what he wanted to do for a living.[2]

Schaffer went to a Lutheran school for five years, during which he developed a lot of anger and rebellion, due to the abusive nature of the pastors.[4] On one occasion, one of the pastors shoved a bar of soap down Schaffer's throat, because the pastor felt threatened due to his refusal to submit, after he could not answer Schaffer's questions about evolution versus creationism.[4] According to Schaffer, this did have an effect on him forming a band, so that he could "prove these people wrong".[4]

In 1984, at the age of 16, Schaffer moved to Tampa, Florida.[5] Shortly before he left, one of Schaffer's childhood friends died in a motorcycle accident, which made Schaffer even more determined to move to Florida and start a band.[5] While in Tampa, Schaffer slept in his car until he nearly lost his life in a car accident, after which he got an apartment and a job as a roofer.[3]


Iced Earth[edit]

In 1984, Schaffer formed a short-lived band called "The Rose".[3] The band quickly broke up, after which Jon formed, what would later become Iced Earth, under the name "Purgatory"[3] on January 20, 1985.[6] Schaffer played rhythm guitar and also designed the band's logo.[3] The logo had originally been used for The Rose, but after the band broke up, Schaffer reused the logo for Purgatory and later on for Iced Earth.[3]

In 1990, after some line up changes, the band (now known as Iced Earth) released their self-titled debut album.[3] Besides playing rhythm guitar and singing backing vocals, Jon also acted as co-producer on the album,[7] as he has done on all Iced Earth albums since. The following year, the band released the follow-up album, Night of the Stormrider,[8] which also featured Jon singing lead vocals on the song "Stormrider".[8]

Iced Earth performing in 2007.

After some downtime between 1992 and 1995, Iced Earth re-emerged with a new line up, which included singer Matt Barlow, who would stay with the band until 2003.[9] The band released the albums Burnt Offerings and The Dark Saga in 1995 and 1996 respectively, until in 1998, Iced Earth released the album Something Wicked This Way Comes, which featured three songs ("Prophecy", "Birth of the Wicked" and "The Coming Curse") that were based on Jon Schaffer's Something Wicked concept.[10] The songs tell the story of a character that Jon created, called Set Abominae, who also appears on the album's front cover.[11]

After Something Wicked This Way Comes, Iced Earth released the album Horror Show in 2001,[12] after which work began on the follow-up album, The Glorious Burden. Originally Matt Barlow had recorded the vocal tracks for the album, but due to his lack of interest in the band following the events of 9/11, he left the group in 2003 and joined the Georgetown Police Department in Georgetown, Delaware.[9] Matt was replaced by former Judas Priest-singer Tim "Ripper" Owens, who resung the entire album.[13] The Glorious Burden was released in January 2004, after which Jon started work on two concept albums based on his Something Wicked storyline. The first album, Framing Armageddon: Something Wicked Part 1 was released on September 11, 2007, after which, in December 2007, it was announced that Matt Barlow would be returning to Iced Earth.[14] The second album, The Crucible of Man: Something Wicked Part 2, was released September 5, 2008, and featured Matt once again on vocals.

In 2011, after about two years back in the band, Matt Barlow issued a statement saying that he was leaving Iced Earth in order to spend more time with his family.[15] Matt Barlow was later replaced by Stu Block from Into Eternity, who had opened for Iced Earth in 2008.[16] With Block, the band recorded the album Dystopia, which was released on October 17, 2011. From October 2011, to December 2012, Iced Earth toured in support of Dystopia, during which time they recorded the album Live in Ancient Kourion.

Demons and Wizards[edit]

Demons and Wizards is a side project Schaffer put together with Blind Guardian frontman Hansi Kürsch. Schaffer and Hansi had originally met in the early 1990s, when Iced Earth and Blind Guardian toured together.[17] Demons and Wizards released their self-titled debut album in 2000.[18] Besides Jon and Hansi, the album also featured Mark Prator on drums and Jim Morris on lead guitar.[18] The group's second album, Touched by the Crimson King was released in 2005, and featured a number of guest musicians, including Bobby Jarzombek, Jim Morris, Rubin Drake, Howard Helm, Kathy Helm, Tori Fuson, Jesse Morris and Krystyna Kolaczynski.[18]

In a video update in 2011, Schaffer and Kürsch talked about the future of Demons and Wizards and stated, that it is only a matter of their schedules lining up when they are going to start work on a third album.[19]

Sons of Liberty[edit]

It's a movement, it's about the message more than it is about the music. After so many years of not taking any vacation time, I went down to Central America last year and was able to unwind for a while and get away from the "rat racing". That had a big affect on me and then seeing some of the things going on the news, it was disturbing, and one thing led to another, and I ... learned about the Federal Reserve System and what that actually, really means to our country. I was always under the impression that it was a legitimate part of government and the Treasury Department. In reality, it is a private banking cartel; that's private off-shore corporations that have the power to print our currency. And when I heard that I just got goosebumps all over my body, because I remembered [how] Thomas Jefferson wrote about that, and Andrew Jackson's warnings, and all these guys early on in the country, it was what revolution was really about. And so, back in 1913, the country was hijacked with the Federal Reserve Act and it's really, very, very serious when you learn about this system and what it means to our society, and it's very clear how got in to the mess we're in, financially and otherwise, and it's something people need to learn about. And that's really what spurred all this on, and when it really hit me, I kind of had this "awakening", and I just went in to the studio and I wrote the song "Our Dying Republic", and at that point I didn't really know what I was going to do with it, but as my research led on and on, I decided to do kind of a solo album.

—Jon Schaffer on the inception of Sons of Liberty[20]

Sons of Liberty is a highly political side project Jon Schaffer formed in 2009. Sons of Liberty's debut album, Brush-fires of the Mind, was released in December 2009 as a free download on the band's website (the album was later made available on CD and vinyl as well).[20] Schaffer sang, played guitar and programmed the drums, but the album also featured a number of guests, including Jim Morris, Ruben Drake, Troy Seele, Howard Helm and Jeff Brandt. During the supporting tour, Jon Schaffer was backed up by Seele, Freddie Vidales and Brent Smedley.[21]

In December 2011, Sons of Liberty released the EP Spirit of the Times.[22] Once again, the album featured Schaffer singing, playing guitar and programming the drums, as well as Jim Morris and Ruben Drake.[22]

Other work[edit]

Schaffer used to own a store called the "Spirit of '76".[23] He also participated in the film Silver Circle.[24] In 2012, Schaffer was featured as a guest vocalist on Anarchadia's album Let Us All Unite, performing on the track "True World Order."[25] Schaffer has also expressed interest in doing comic book series based on the Night of the Stormrider album and the Something Wicked Saga.[23]

Personal life[edit]

In a 2011 interview with Alex Jones discussing their mutual political views, Schaffer revealed that "My father was a John Birch guy. When I was a young child I remember things that he and his friends would talk about, concerning the UN and stuff". In the same interview, he also revealed that he has a younger brother who had served in Iraq.[26] In 1996, while performing in Berlin, Schaffer injured his neck for which he had surgery in 2000.[27] In the early 2000s, he had surgery again, this time for lower-back problems.[27] In 2005, Schaffer's daughter was born,[28] whom he credits for giving him "perspective", that he "never had before".[29]

Besides playing music, Schaffer enjoys studying history and current events, as well as "standing against, and exposing, tyranny".[30] He also enjoys riding motorcycles, scuba diving, white water rafting and exercising.[30] Schaffer has listed Tom Schaffer, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, Stephen Toboz, Steve Harris, Ronnie James Dio, Hansi Kürsch, Aaron Russo, G. Edward Griffin and Ron Paul as people who inspire him.[30]


With Iced Earth[edit]

With Demons and Wizards[edit]

With Sons of Liberty[edit]

With Jon Schaffer's Purgatory[edit]

  • 2018: Purgatory (EP)


  1. ^ "Demons and Wizards Bio". Archived from the original on February 10, 2013. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "Jon Schaffer interviewed by FaceCulture – Part 1". FaceCulture. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Iced Earth's Bio | The Official Iced Earth Website". Archived from the original on September 4, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c "Jon Schaffer interviewed by FaceCulture – Part 2". FaceCulture. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Jon Schaffer interviewed by FaceCulture – Part 3". FaceCulture. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  6. ^ "Jon Schaffer answers questions from Iranian fans". YouTube. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  7. ^ "Iced Earth". Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  8. ^ a b "Night of the Stormrider". Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  9. ^ a b "Matt Barlow's bio". Spirit of Metal. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  10. ^ "Something Wicked This Way Comes". Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  11. ^ "Jon Schaffer interviewed by FaceCulture – Part 5". FaceCulture. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
  12. ^ "Horror Show". Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  13. ^ "Tim "Ripper" Owens interviewed by Metal Rules". Metal Rules. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  14. ^ "Matt Barlow rejoins Iced Earth". Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  15. ^ "Iced Earth Vocalist Matt Barlow Retires From The Band, Releases Emotional Statement | The Official Iced Earth Website". March 3, 2011. Archived from the original on September 29, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  16. ^ "Iced Earth Announces World Tour | The Official Iced Earth Website". Archived from the original on September 29, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  17. ^ "Demons and Wizards at Encyclopaedia Metallum". Encyclopaedia Metallum. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  18. ^ a b c "Demons and Wizards albums". Archived from the original on July 24, 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  19. ^ "Iced Earth Webisode 5". Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  20. ^ a b "Jon Schaffer interviewed by Eddie Trunk part 1". Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  21. ^ "Jon Schaffer interviewed by Eddie Trunk part 2". Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  22. ^ a b "Sons of Liberty releases Spirit of the Times". Archived from the original on January 8, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  23. ^ a b "Jon Schaffer interview on Rock Eyez". Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  24. ^ "Jon Schaffer guesting in Silver Circle". Archived from the original on October 13, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  25. ^ "Jon Schaffer guesting on Anarchadia's album". Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  26. ^ "SONS OF LIBERTY: Jon Schaffer of Iced Earth interviewed by Alex Jones". Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  27. ^ a b "Jon Schaffer interviewed by on Track Magazine". Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  28. ^ "Jon Schaffer update 2005". Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  29. ^ "Jon Schaffer interviewed by FaceCulture – Part 4". FaceCulture. Archived from the original on February 20, 2012. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  30. ^ a b c "Jon Schaffer's Bio | The Official Iced Earth Website". Retrieved February 15, 2012.

External links[edit]