ICED EARTH leader, Jon Shaffer, provided an update on drummer Richard Christy’s departure, problems with the press, and the latest word on DEMONS AND WIZARDS via the band’s official website:
“Again I must apologize for the delay in updating you all on the current events of [ICED EARTH], it’s seems there’s never enough hours in the day.
“The tour has been an astounding success thus far with most of the shows being sold out, many in record time for ICED EARTH. The legion of our passionate and incredibly loyal fans is growing as always and we are extremely grateful.
“The most significant bit of news to report is that Richard Christy will no longer be with the band after the LA show. He has decided to pursue his comedy career by being a permanent fixture on The Howard Stern Show. Though Richard’s timing on informing the band of this was somewhat less than professional, as he informed us of his intentions in the middle of the tour instead of before it started, we do wish him well and all the best for his future. He feels he will be better suited for the comedy world than the music world based on some recent experiences, and he’s probably right, Richard is a very funny and unique guy.
“Replacing Richard will be Bobby Jarzombek of HALFORD and RIOT notoriety. Bobby is an excellent drummer and we will be rehearsing in Los Angeles before we start the extension of the U.S. dates.
“Another thing I would like to address is the BWBK ‘controversy.’ First let me say that at the time of writing this I have not seen anything on Brave Words site or any ‘official’ statement from them concerning the issue at hand. I don’t have a lot of access to the net on tour and when I do it’s for business purposes only, not to see what the obsessive gossipers are ranting about on any given chat room. In fact the only reason I’m addressing this is because it is relevant to my integrity and what this band stands for.
“The issue at hand is ‘integrity’ in journalism and the serious lack of it. Not only is the world of serious news tainted with bad journalism, the rock world is as well.
“One example is the way that Blabbermouth.com chose to take one paragraph out of context from an interview with Revolver Magazine. This paragraph in its original context told a very different story from the Blabbermouth report. It went from a funny story that [singer] Tim [Owens] was telling to get a laugh out of people, to a story that insinuated there were problems between him and I. Nothing is further from the truth. What good can this possibly serve? Are these people so pathetic and their lives so lame that they have to make up bullshit to feel relevant? Or is it simply about creating controversy to sell magazines or stories when there is none? And if that’s the case are they not talented enough writers’ to report stories that are true and interesting?
“The BWBK situation is different but reeks of the same problem. Our ‘boycott’ of the magazine has to do with the way they ‘improvised’ my conversation with the journalist for our feature story. There are people out there who blame the United States for all the bad things in the world just the way the Nazi’s blamed the Jews for everything. The individual I did the interview with was one of those people. My problem is that the way the interview reads has nothing to do with the way the conversation went. Example: The first question out of this ‘journalist’s’ mouth was ‘Don’t you think the attacks of 9-11 were warranted?’ It was not the big paragraph of text that the ‘journalist’ wrote in the article where he is stating that due to some of the U.S. foreign policies there are those around the world that feel we deserved to be attacked. That was not the way the question was asked. It was ‘Don’t you feel the attacks of 9-11 were warranted?’ The questions got worse from there and any fair minded person that would hear the conversation in its true form, I believe, would be offended as well.
“I challenged the journalist during our conversation to print the conversation the way it was or that he’d be the one who would have to live with a dishonest conscience and face the consequences. I see the choice that’s been made. Why am I surprised? People with these radical views, no matter the ideology, are rarely honest with themselves let alone anyone else.
“This ‘boycott’ has nothing to do with the fact that we disagree about certain issues, I believe deeply in free speech, intelligent debate and intelligent dissent. It has nothing to do with the fact that most of the BWBK staff chose to base their opinions of The Glorious Burden on politics rather than the music and the history that inspired it. It doesn’t even matter that they tried to patronize us with their little cartoons of Tim and I in Revolutionary War uniforms, which was very cool artwork by the way, kudos to the artist. No.. this comes down to taking a stand against shitty journalism. We’ve been dealing with this kind of thing for years, like all bands do, but this time the seriousness of the underlying issue warranted a more drastic response. Magazines and bands have a business relationship. In order to have a prosperous relationship there should be honesty and integrity involved to maintain such a relationship. All they would have had to do was print the conversation the way it was, and everything would be fine..they made their choice, we made ours…
“We wish BWBK no ill will, we just prefer not to do business with them anymore.
“As for the European tour, it looks as though we will be doing our headline tour in November/December this year. Again, I sincerely apologize to the European fans for the postponement of the tour. I promise it will be worth the wait and we will give you a hell of a show when we get there. You’re the best fans anyone could ask for and we love you!!!
“DEMONS & WIZARDS is coming along slowly but surely. Due to our intense work schedules it’s taken longer than we wanted but it will also be worth the wait. We have about half of the albums basic arrangements done and it is awesome! This is really going to be something special. We hope it will be out in spring of 2005 if things go as planned.
“That’s all for now people. We look forward to the rest of the shows and the big festivals we’re headlining in Europe. ICED EARTH will be touring a lot in the next year and a half and we have some great things planned for you.
“As always, thank you for being the best, most loyal and loudest fans any band could ask for!
“Strength & Honor! Jon”