archive  sign up  you are here

check out for concert and album reviews
Iced Earth

March 12, 1999

Having just completed a U.S. tour with Jag Panzer in support of their latest album, 'Something Wicked This Way Comes', Iced Earth stopped off for a Friday night appearance at the March Metal Meltdown in Asbury Park, NJ. The Metal Update was fortunate enough to catch up with the band minutes after they left the stage. Our interview began with vocalist Matthew Barlow.

Metal Update: So what do you think of the March Metal Meltdown?

Matthew Barlow: It's cool, man. A little bit like a clusterfuck, you know, but I guess it's just one of those things. This many bands and doing so many things. There could be a little bit better organization but . . . I don't know, I guess I'm just spoiled by European festivals.

MU: Are you doing any of the European festivals this year?

MB: No, no, we're not planning on it. I mean, if we get a couple of good festivals in a row, that's cool, but we don't really have any new material that we're promoting so we'd rather opt for next year when we've got new material and we can get a good spot and everything else.

MU: What do you think of the scene in the U.S.? Do you think that the fact that U.S. metal festivals are taking place is indicative of something happening?

MB: Yeah, I definitely think so. I think it's very cool, it's not meant as a slam when I say that it's unorganized. I mean, I think these guys have been doing some festivals in Milwaukee for a couple of years or whatever. . . It's not their fault, necessarily, that things are disorganized. It's great because they're taking the risk and everything else to put these things together and to promote metal music, which is awesome. It's kinda cool, it's very eclectic, especially tonight. We've got from death to hardcore.

MU: Where do you think you fit into the lineup here tonight?

MB: Somewhere in left field, but tomorrow night is the big power metal show, and I think we probably fit more in with those guys, but it's cool, man.

MU: Well what bands are you thinking of when you say tomorrow night's the big power metal show?

MB: Well, they've got a couple little power metal bands like, Vicious Rumors playin', and stuff like that. I mean, we're definitely - I think for tonight - we're the only power metal band. We're the only guys that would be considered power metal.

MU: How did the tour with Jag Panzer go?

MB: That went really well, man, it was, ah . . . we all got sick as hell. We did a stint up in Canada where it was cold as fuck.

MU: As opposed to here right now where it's warm and balmy. (laughter)

MB: Yeah, nice and balmy, yeah right. It was cool, man, and we plan to do more of that this year. I mean, speaking of festivals, that's one of the reasons we opted to do a live album this year, 'cause we wanted to tour the States this year. You know, this is our year for the States. We're puttin' out a live record and we want people in the States to be able to go to our shows and it would be nice for them to buy the live record that we did -- maybe like a double live, 'bout 3 hours worth of music -- so they'll be able to get that here in the States and then go, "Yeah, we went to see these guys and this is the kinda show they put on."

MU: Was this past tour well attended?

MB: Yeah! Yeah, real well. I mean, it's grown since the last time. We did a smaller tour a few months back and this time, everywhere we went, all of the places we played before, it was at least double the amount. So, we can kinda keep that - now, there's always gonna be a time when you hit a plateau but hopefully we're just getting people telling their friends, and then they tell their friends, and so on and so on. Not to sound like a bad shampoo commercial. (laughs)

MU: Was that Jag Panzer's first-ever tour of the United States?

MB: I'm not really sure, man. I didn't actually get into real heavy discussions about that.

MU: They've been around for a real long time . . .

MB: Yeah, yeah, they have.

MU: . . . you hope that when Iced Earth has been chugging for fifteen years, you'll still be touring and making records.

MB: Well, yeah, I mean, the band's been around for a long time. Jon's had a band for about thirteen years under other - a different name - at one time or another. The band itself, as a whole, has been around for a long time so we're kinda veterans as well. Not like Jag Panzer, I guess, but we have definitely been around, taken some shit and everything else.

MU: Any of the other bands on the bill catch your ear tonight?

MB: Uh, actually, to be honest, I hadn't really had a whole hell of a lot of chance to hear a lot of the bands. We got here like two bands before us and it was kind of fuckin' hectic, so I didn't really have any time to really enjoy any of the music.

MU: What kind of stuff do you listen to?

MB: What do I listen to? Pretty much the old guys, you know what I mean? Sabbath . . .

MU: Rob Halford, maybe?

MB: Old, old Rob Halford. I don't listen to Two. You're not gonna get me to listen to that bullshit.

MU: Well, who do you consider your influences, vocally?

MB: Well, I don't know, I mean, I really appreciate all those guys. Halford, Freddy Mercury, fuckin' James Hetfield, Geoff Tate. A lot of the guys that were just truly their own people, you know what I mean. Definitely their own type of voice, they didn't have any - you can't really say that this guy sounds like this or whatever. I mean, yeah, you can say, well okay, you can tell Geoff Tate listened to early Halford because you hear some things and just go, "Wow," you know what I mean.

MU: What do you think about what Queensryche's doing today?

MB: Their last record I wasn't really impressed with, I mean, it's just not my cup of tea. They're, fuckin', obviously outstanding musicians. They have the capacity for really great song writing and, I just think that they' re awesome. I would love, you know - my one cool thing to do in life would be to just talk to Geoff Tate, you know what I mean? But their last little bit is not my cup of tea. They probably don't slap on Iced Earth records either, but that's just the way it goes.

MU: Okay, you're going out on the road with Nevermore?

MB: Yeah, that's what we're talking about, yeah.

MU: Obviously these guys are friends of yours. Have you listened to the new Nevermore album?

MB: Yeah.

MU: And what do you think of that?

MB: I think it's very indicative of Nevermore's stuff. They definitely did hit some newer stuff, like, newer stuff for them. It's very much reminiscent of 'Politics of Ecstasy' but they're great musicians and great people and their record is doing really well.

MU: Before you joined the band Iced Earth, what did your musical resume look like?

MB: Demo bands with my brother.

MU: Where are you from?

MB: I'm from Delaware.

MU: So this is a hometown show?

MB: Little bit, little bit farther away. It's about three hours from here.

MU: Next for Iced Earth is obviously the live album. But tonight you played the trilogy, off of 'Something Wicked'. Tell us how those songs tie in with the next studio release.

MB: The next studio album is gonna be basically the full story. The Something Wicked trilogy, from 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' is more of like a prelude to a larger story. It's not - you know, the concepts are there, but the writing's not even in the works.

MU: How did that evolve? The liner notes for 'Something Wicked' show the intellectual property rights specifically reserved for those characters.

MB: Right.

MU: Obviously that was planned at least by the time the record came out.

MB: Yeah, because there are certain things that Jon wants to do -- it's his character and he's talking about possibly doing comic book stuff and continuing the story in different mediums -- so we didn't want to limit ourselves.

MU: So none of those ideas are fleshed out enough yet to currently talk about?

MB: No, not at this point. But, stay tuned.

MU: When is the summer tour going to kick off?

MB: Uh, I don't really know, man. Jon's gotta go down to Florida and do, like, pre-production stuff on the live record. Basically mixing stuff with Jim, and then we're probably going to do the tour. We're probably going to do a leg of the tour, and we'd probably be out for about a month, and then Jon's got a side project that he's working on with Hansi from Blind Guardian. So Jon's gonna be real busy, the band's gonna be real busy, it's gonna be a pretty hot year.

MU: And how about you, a little downtime?

MB: A little bit of downtime, yeah. But we're not to the point, at this point, where we can be without day jobs, we all gotta work and stuff.

MU: Do you ever reflect on the role Iced Earth has played in carrying the torch through some of metal's darkest days?

MB: No. I just remember - the only thing that I know of for the last few years, is really working hard at this band to try to do the best we can.

MU: You don' t think about the role that Iced Earth plays in the scene in general, outside of your own particular . . .

MB: No, I mean, it's cool. I think it's cool if we can be a part of something but I don't know what role we played. We're really just - we've got blinders on - we're kinda wrapped in our world and exactly how we want to approach things and do it that way and it's cool that people respond to that, you know. And it's cool that people are responding to metal in general. That metal music is actually going on.

MU: Did you grow up a metalhead?

MB: Yeah, primarily. I mean, I started out with rock like everybody else. Actually, I started out with Elvis Presley, but that's neither here nor there. It was my dad's old record collection, but I moved on to AC/DC, Rush, things like that, and just kinda progressed on.

MU: You were talking about doing demo tapes with other bands before Iced Earth, were they power metal?

MB: Actually more thrash and stuff. More bay area meets death metal, almost.

MU: Ever think of incorporating any elements of that kinda sound into Iced Earth?

MB: No, that's just not what Iced Earth is about. At some point if I was to do something like help my brother produce some stuff - that would be cool.

MU: And your brother's got a band right now?

MB: My brother's kinda like his own musician. He's recording and he's got this whole computer set up and he's starting to record some of the stuff. Some old stuff that we did and stuff, so that's cool. He works for a living too.

MU: So this isn't what you do full time?

MB: No, no, we've got day jobs. We've definitely got day jobs. With touring, it's very hard to get employers that go, "Okay, sure." So we do a lot of shit on our own. We try to hire ourselves out, fuckin', do drywall, whatever. Me and Jimmy've done drywall stuff together, you know, and just odd things here and there.

MU: Do you have goals to move beyond that and make this full time?

MB: Yeah. That's what we're doin', man. That's what we're doin' right now, dude.

MU: What expectations do you have for the future?

MB: We're totally reasonable, man. We've all been in bands and we've all done other stuff outside of Iced Earth and we know exactly how the world works. That's one benefit, I guess, of it taking as long as it has, you know, I'm 28 years old, I just turned two days ago.

MU: Happy birthday.

MB: Thank you.

MU: Spendin' it in an old airplane hanger where it's about 40 below.

MB: Right, right, exactly. It's just something that, we know exactly how long it took us to get here, we're not unrealistic about how the business works. We're puttin' in our time, and we're crossing our fingers. Maybe someday this can be our livin'.

MU: And no matter how many copies of the record you sell next time around you're still in this for the long haul.

MB: Yeah, yeah.

MU: Are you seeing the album sales pick up?

MB: Yeah, it's progressively picked up since 'Burnt Offerings'. 'Burnt Offerings' went down below 'Night of the Stormrider' there's like a really big lapse of time in there but after 'Burnt Offerings' it's picked up and progressively gotten better. We're selling back catalog stuff now 'cause people are gettin' turned on to us. Yeah, it's cool.

MU: Are you on-line?

MB: Yeah.

MU: Do you have an opinion on the internet's role is in the resurgence of metal?

MB: It's very, very cool. It's a cool medium for information that had been overlooked for awhile because now we're competing with the crap, you know, the corporate bullshit of MTV and all this other shit which is feeding fuckin' Americans by the handful. Unfortunately, we probably won't be able to touch those people in fuckin' deepest America.

MU: Where is deepest America?

MB: Wherever there aren't computers or wherever there aren't Mom & Pop shops that are willing to support heavy metal.

MU: You guys relocated to the Midwest, right?

MB: Yeah.

MU: And was that specifically because you thought that there was a better scene goin' on there?

MB: Yeah. Yeah, it is. It is.

MU: In what sense is the scene better there than in, say, New York City?

MB: It's not necessarily that New York City is not a good scene, it's just for us, we Sound Scanned 2,000 units in Chicago on 'Dark Saga'. We had never played there, we didn't do anything, you know what I mean. It was like, Mom & Pop shops, word of mouth. People were into it there.

MU: How great does that feel, though, that you're building?

MB: Yeah, that's cool.

MU: Whether or not you look at it as part of metal's resurgence in general, or just all about Iced Earth, you're building something and you're doing it on the strength of the music.

MB: That's what we're trying to do.

MU: Do you ever think about someday people looking to you as a vocal influence? Do you consider yourself a heavy metal hero?

MB: No. We consider ourselves fuckin' hard working guys. If people like it, that's great. I consider Jon a guitar hero because I don't know how he fuckin' plays that way. I mean, that's me, you know. To me, it would be great if Jon got the respect he deserves - but, by people, whether they be Guitar Magazine or some kind of guitar-oriented - because this guy fuckin' writes cool music.

MU: Did you know the band before you got involved with it?

MB: Actually, I heard of them, 'cause it was more of a local thing, but at that time, when they had 'Stormrider' out, they were primarily local Tampa and surrounding areas and then Europe. They weren't the same as we are now, you know, in the States.

MU: Well, how'd you hook up with them?

MB: Um, actually, kind of a long story short, the drummer that played on 'Burnt Offerings' used to play in a band that shared a rehearsal space with me and my brother. And he knew me from those days and he said, "Well, we're lookin' for a vocalist." After John Greely left, he said, "How about this guy," and they tried me out - blah, blah, blah - do the old three month here - I'm coming back and doin' all this stuff - you know, to make sure I wasn't an asshole and there we go. Long story short.

MU: The last thing I wanted to ask you about is the website. Obviously, seems like Iced Earth's art and artwork are all a very important part of the band.

MB: Yeah, very much so. Very much so, yes.

MU: And that seems to be unique in the scene.

MB: Well, it's just something that, I think, got lost. Because, years ago, man, when records were records, and artwork was important, people put a lot more emphasis on it. We're just doing something that people had forgotten about. We're emphasizing our cover art. Even though, in most cases, we still actually press vinyl. You can get it in some Mom & Pop shops around the U.S. In Europe you definitely get 'em. You can see the big artwork and it's cool and we're tryin' to do posters and stuff like that. We do posters, we sell posters on the road and, you know, do promo stuff from Century Media. It's just important, I think. I think the band's music speaks for itself but it's also cool to have good art and have good cool shit, t-shirts and stuff like that. That's what we like. That's sort of our bread and butter there, shirts. I mean, shirts, if it weren't for shirts, we'd all fuckin' be starvin'.

MU: When you go on the road then, you're making money, but it's because of merchandise.

MB: Yeah, really, we don't make money when we go out on the road.

MU: I'll tell you what, I'll go buy a t-shirt. (laughter)

MB: Okay, sweet.

MU: Bottom line, do you imagine yourself with fantastic success or are you pretty much going to be satisfied if Iced Earth's popularity just stays at the level where it is?

MB: If it stays where it is, that would be cool. I think the way it's goin ', it feels right that things are just building steadily. So I might be a little disappointed if it stays where it's at because it feels like it's building so much.

MU: You're allowing yourself the expectation that this will be getting bigger?

MB: Yeah, yeah. I won't be devastated, I won't shoot myself, I'm not a fuckin' idiot, you know, I don't do heroin or all that other bullshit, so, you know, I'm realistic but I think we all are. It's just, I do have big expectations for this band.

MU: Iced Earth right now is a band with a very hardcore following within a very small world.

MB: Yeah, yeah, it is, man. It seems steadily growing. That's the cool thing. If it steadily grows, that's cool. We're not here to be overnight successes because overnight successes primarily peter out real quick. If few keep going, we can keep building it steadily.

MU: Well thank you, and best of luck.

MB: Thanks, man.


As our discussion with Matthew Barlow was winding down, we found that guitarist Jon Schaffer was eager to talk Metal with us. He tagged out Barlow and jumped in to add his own thoughts on the past, present and future of Iced Earth, the band he created.
Metal Update: Jon, we are wondering about the side project you are working on. Tell us a little bit about that?

Jon Schaffer: It's going to be called 'Demons and Wizards'. It's basically me and Hansi Kursch from Blind Guardian - he's the singer - writing the songs together. I'm going to be playing all the guitars and bass, Jim Morris is going to play lead guitar, Hansi is going to be vocals, I'll probably be backing vocals, Jim probably will as well. Our [Iced Earth] drummer is probably going to be playing on it. I just got a tape a few days ago, from Hansi, actually. He did some vocal work on, like, 7 or 8 songs, and after this festival, I'm devoting the rest of March to trying to finish up some writing. I gotta go down to mix the live album the first part of April, and then the second two weeks of April, I'm going to devote to finishing the 'Demons and Wizards' thing. June, we're gonna get together and do a pre-production demo to shop to some record companies and we want to have it in the can by August. So that's our plan right now.

MU: When do you expect the live album out?

JS: The live album's gonna be out in July.

MU: Tell me a little bit, if you don't mind, about the characters. You notice in the liner notes of 'Something Wicked' you've reserved the intellectual property rights to the characters for the trilogy. I think you call it, "Set Abominae". Can you tell us about the idea behind that, what you're hoping to do?

JS: Well, when I get some time, I want to turn it into a comic book and maybe a novel. Who knows, maybe an animated movie, maybe a movie, it's really a cool story. I just touched on it in the trilogy, basically. It would take, probably, about two hours for me to explain to you, like, in detail what the whole deal is. But if you read the lyrics, you're gonna get a good idea what's goin' on.

MU: You must have had some foresight to know that maybe there's another way that you can get some value by reserving the rights to that and structuring your business in that particular way - keeping the rights to those characters. Obviously, you saw something from the get-go.

JS: Yeah, I mean, I have to protect what's mine, you know what I mean? Because people will fuck you and I've been fucked in this business, I don't know how many times. There isn't much of anything that I don't know about the music industry at this point. And in the last five years or so, I've learned quite a bit about the movie industry and people get fucked in that industry too. It's like anything, business is business. If you're not careful, and you don't watch your back, you get fucked. That's the way it works.

MU: It's great to see that you take the measures to do what you need to do to be able to exploit these things and use them.

JS: I think it's really unfair if you come up with something and then somebody rips you off and takes your credit.

MU: Obviously you've been through the wringer over the years and you have really powered through some of metal's darkest days. Do you ever reflect and look back on where you're from -- do you know you're a heavy metal hero, Jon?

JS: I don't really look at it that way. I mean, if people say that, that's cool. We just do what we do. I started this band to be a metal band and it ain't gonna change, so 14 years now we've been going.

MU: What kind of stuff where you listening to, before getting into this?

JS: I've been listening to metal since I could walk.

MU: What are your favorite metal bands from back in the day?

JS: Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, really old Alice Cooper, like the early 70s - 70, 71, 72, 73. KISS - KISS was my - I bought KISS 'Alive' when I was 7 years old, that was my first album. I went to see KISS when I was 11, that concert changed my life. It's all downhill from there, you know.

MU: You see KISS this time around?

JS: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

MU: Do you think it still rocks?

JS: Oh, yeah, dude. I mean, once you're a KISS fan - either you love 'em or hate 'em, there's not really any in-between. I know a lot of guys that hate them, and I don't really give a fuck. I love them, they changed my life, they're the reason why I'm in a band, the reason why I started a band, the reason why I've done all this shit. Because when I was a kid, I thought that was as fuckin' cool as it could get.

MU: There are people today that think that about Iced Earth. How does that make you feel?

JS: It's a little scary. Especially when you look at - I mean, it's cool, it's a very nice complement, don't get me wrong, but sometimes kids get preconceived notions of what we are and we're guys, that's what we are. We' re human beings, we're up there jammin'. We've been through the wringer, like you said, we've been through a lot of shit to be up on that stage to do what we're doin', putting our music out, but we're not gods. Sometimes people - especially the Greek kids - they get really crazy over there.

MU: What is it about the Greek audience that makes them so rabid?

JS: I don't know if it's because the Greek gods thing, the mythology, that goes way back, or if it's just that they have been starved for a long time - up until recently - for what we do, you know, we give them . . . Greece's economy Is not that great. The problem with Greece really is, because of the stuff going on in Bosnia and shit, bands can't get there easily. You have to fly in. You can't go through the former Yugoslavia in a tour bus, it's not safe. So nobody goes there unless you fly into the country and that's one of the reasons why, up until about 4 or 5 years ago, hardly anyone was going there. Now the promoters are coming up with the cash to pay the bands enough to pay for the tickets and to pay the band a little bit to come and perform and shit. And that's what's cool about it. But the people there are just, they're great. They're the best audience in the world to play in front of. The most passionate. The Iced Earth fans are like that everywhere we go. If there's 30 people in a crowd or 30,000, they 're into it. You can't ask for a better crowd, but in Greece it's like a religion.

MU: Will that come across when we hear the live record?

JS: Oh yeah. That's why I wanted to record it there. As soon as we played there the first time, I knew.

MU: How many people were at those shows?

JS: 2,000 each night. And we sold out both shows and they were - they just fuckin' sung every lyric from every song from the first album to the newest stuff. It's like, Iced Earth was like religion there, and that's weird for me. It gets a little bit scary, and it's like, kids take it - some of the kids take it too far. They're missing the point in some ways, you know. I love them for their passion because it makes it - just one or two shows like that make it worth all the years of work, to be up there and see people react like that. But they need to take a reality check every once in awhile.

MU: Who do you think are your musical peers, right now?

JS: Just the old guys that I grew up with. Nobody right now is doing anything for me, that makes me feel like I did when I was a kid. The last band that made me feel that way was probably Metallica, back when 'Master of Puppets' was out. It's been that long - actually, Sanctuary's first album, just fuckin' gave me goosebumps. I don't get goosebumps anymore. It sucks, man! I'm like waitin', come on, what's the key?

MU: (laughter) Have you checked out any releases that were put out in the last couple of years?

JS: Not too much. Only from the guys that I trust. Because I did that for awhile, I was blowin' money. I was, "That sucks! Well, there's 15 bucks down the shitter. That sucks!"

MU: What about Nevermore?

JS: Nevermore is cool, but mainly, because they're friends. Musically, it' s not where I'm at. We have a totally different musical style. More power to them, man. They're great guys, they're a good band, and I love them as people but it's not really my kind of thing.

MU: Metallica today is nothing that's worthwhile?

JS: Nah, it's crap.

MU: What do you think about Maiden?

JS: Maiden is - they're my heroes. Since I was . . .

MU: Did you know they're re-forming?

JS: Oh yeah.

MU: Do you think that's a good move?

JS: We'll see. You know, I think that Bruce did some really crappy stuff on his own, he did crappy stuff with Iron Maiden. He came back, did some really cool stuff, on his own. Maiden hasn't done anything great since 'Seventh Son' as far as I'm concerned, but every dog has its day. If Maiden peaks and - if the magic comes back that they had in the early 80s - then I think it's a great thing. But only time's gonna tell. It depends on the songs, that's the whole thing.

MU: You know, they think they're going to come out and play Madison Square Garden and bring out the Eddies and the explosions and the whole deal. Do you think that's how it's gonna go down?

JS: I really hope it happens for them. I would love to see that happen because I love that band. I got to meet Bruce Dickinson finally and that was like a dream come true. I met him in Germany. We were headlining a festival and he was there doing promotion for his new record.

MU: Jon, did you have a neck problem from banging your head too much?

JS: Oh yes. Yeah.

MU: How's your neck?

JS: It's doin' better now that I did this really intense physical therapy. Right now it's better than it has been in the last 2 years.

MU: Do you realize that if there's a heavy metal injury to have, that's the one it's gotta be?

JS: Yeah, but it's not cool. It's definitely not fun getting to be in pain 24/7. It's definitely not the coolest.

MU: I wish you well, man.

JS: Thanks, man. It'll be all right. I'm not lettin' it stop me. And I'm not gonna get the surgery either, because I'm a stubborn prick. I just don' t want somebody fuckin' cuttin' around my spine. That does not sound like a good idea. Plus, they want to take a disc out, so I'd lose like three joints, man. They fuse the vertebrae together and the mobility wouldn't be there.

MU: Then you wouldn't be able to bang your head anymore.

JS: Well, it's like, number 2, 3 and 4 that are fucked up, so yeah, I'd probably have to be - but still, its just not cool to mess around with that. I think I'll just live with it, try to take care of myself better, and work on my posture and the whole thing. I don't do near what I used to do when I was walking around on stage. I just can't.

MU: Would you do the gig if you got offered the side stage at Ozzfest?

JS: Yeah. I'd play in the hallway, if they'd give us a shot. 'Cause pretty soon, we'd own the fuckin' mainstage.

MU: You ever talk to anyone about trying to get in?

JS: It's so political. It's all about money.

MU: Do the labels buy a spot onto the tour? Why doesn't Century Media kick down?

JS: I don't think they have the cash or the political power it takes at this point, to make something like that happen. I'd love to see it happen, we all would, obviously. There's nothing honest about the music business. It doesn't work on how good a band is, the band's integrity. Unfortunately. It's all about money. It's all about who you know, who you blow, who owes who a favor. All that shit.

MU: Yet you persevere.

JS: Totally. They ain't stoppin' me no matter what. I've come this far, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, it is gettin' better. I'm not gonna fuckin' bow out.

MU: So you play here tonight at the March Metal Meltdown. What does an event like this say about the state of metal in 1999?

JS: Well, I think we would have been better off playing tomorrow night, in the other room, with the bands that are more like us.

MU: Like who?

JS: Well, I mean Vicious Rumors is playing tomorrow, and Riot. A little more "older-school" kinda bands.

MU: What did you think of touring with Jag Panzer?

JS: Great guys, man. We had a really good time with them. I'd love to take them out on the road again. I think they are a good band too.

MU: What does the future hold for Iced Earth?

JS: Well, I think the band ultimately will be playing Madison Square Garden. That's my goal - I ain't stopping 'til we get there. We'll keep trying. And I think if we do it our way, and refuse to give in, eventually people are going to see that what we do works. I mean, if we could have every Iron Maiden fan, every Metallica fan, every Sabbath fan listen to Iced Earth, we would probably sell to seventy or eighty percent of those people. That's a lot of people.

MU: So it's not that people have heard it and don't like it, it's that they don't even know you're out there.

JS: Exactly. That's totally it.

MU: So how do you get out to the people?

JS: By doin' this. You know what I mean, we finally found an agent for the first time in the last couple years and this guy's willing to book to band. Now we're gettin' paid shit, for sure. It's like, barely enough to make it out on the road. Barely enough to pay for the gas and the hotel rooms, let alone a crew. I mean, we have to tear down and set up our own gear, and load it and the whole deal. But, it's growing every time. We've only been out now twice, actually, each effort - each city that we've played in before - I think the crowd's doubled. That's a good sign. That's the only way this is going to work. Unless we have a 10 million dollar promotion campaign behind us, the only way it's gonna grow is to get out. People go, "That was fuckin' killer," and they go tell their friends.

MU: That's the way to insure you stay in it for the long haul, when you build it that way.

JS: Well, yeah. That's the way we've been doing it since day one. Even overseas, we didn't start out big there. We had a lot of success with our first record, we had more with our second record. We just kinda fell back a little bit, put a little space between, we had another line up change, the album was dark - it wasn't very melodic, a lot of people didn't really like it.

MU: 'Burnt Offerings'?

JS: Yeah, over there.

MU: It is a great album! (laughter)

JS: It's like the worst selling one in our catalog.

MU: And what's the best selling one in your catalog?

JS: The new one is now.

MU: More than the 'Dark Saga'?

JS: Well, in the States, the new one is. In Japan, 'Stormrider' is. In Europe, the new one is now also. 'Stormrider' and 'Dark Saga' are right up there close, you know, it's just this one's got more push than anything else. It's all about what kind of work is being done, I mean, that's the biggest part.

MU: And you guys are puttin' out a radio single right now? Some covers, right?

JS: Yeah. We'll see how that works.

MU: I saw you do "Electric Funeral" in New York, very hot. And what I liked about it the most was that it was Iced Earth style.

JS: Yeah, yeah, totally. The recording's cool, you know.

MU: What do you think? Are radio stations going to play that?

JS: No, no, no. We're not even . . . That just ended up being added as a last minute thing. We did 'Shooting Star', and that's more of a classic rock song, one that I've always liked and been wanting to do for a long time and make it Iced Earth style also. It's a dark story, about a kid that gets famous and he really, basically, self-destructs and ends up dying after he's made it to this huge stardom, or whatever. So it's got that tragic kinda thing that Iced Earth always has, it tells a story. We just made the chords a little sadder, a little darker, made the choruses heavier and stuff. And mostly, what happens with that, that's a big song in the Midwest and maybe that will make the DJ's go, "Hmm, who are these guys?" and they'll listen to our originals. But the bottom line is, Century's doing this, finally they' re convinced we've got something to offer and we could be the next big thing and make some money from us. If we have no money behind us, we're gonna be out there and do it this way. There's 250 people one night, 50 people the next, 500 people the next one. Just keep doin' it. Get bigger each time.

MU: Well, it's great for us. Thank you very much. Thanks for playing tonight.

JS: Thanks for being here.

-- LINKS --





Interview: Eric German, Brant Wintersteen
Editor: Brant Wintersteen
Webmaster: WAR
Update Support: Laura German
 Back To Top
Buy Cialis MasterCard Online Canada order Cialis Sale Cialis Credit Cards Online Buy Cialis Canada Prices Online