Jon Schaffer
Musician Info
BornMarch 15, 1968
Franklin, Indiana
GenreHeavy metal, power metal, thrash metal, progressive metal
Notable InstrumentsGuitar, bass, vocals, keyboards, mandolin, drum machine
LabelsCentury Media, SPV
Associated actsIced Earth, Demons and Wizards, Sons of Liberty

Jon Ryan Schaffer[1] (born March 15, 1968 in Franklin, Indiana[1]) is an American heavy metal musician. He is best known as the guitarist and sole 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 lifeEdit

Jon 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, Jon attended a Kiss concert with his father.[2][3] Since then, Jon has said that this was the moment when he realized what he wanted to do for a living.[2]

Jon 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 Jon's throat, because the pastor felt threatened due to Jon's refusal to submit, after he couldn't answer Jon's questions about evolution versus creationism.[4] According to Jon, 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 12, Jon moved to Tampa, Florida.[5] Shortly before he left, one of Jon's childhood friends died in a motorcycle accident, which made Jon even more determined to move to Florida and start a band.[5] While in Tampa, Jon 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 hot mop roofer.[3]


Iced EarthEdit

Main article: Iced Earth

In 1984, Jon 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] Jon 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, Jon 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]


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 WizardsEdit

Main article: Demons and Wizards

Demons and Wizards is a side project Jon Schaffer put together with Blind Guardian frontman Hansi Kürsch. Jon 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's only a matter of their schedules lining up when they're going to start work on a third album.[19]

Sons of LibertyEdit

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 workEdit

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 lifeEdit

In 1996, while performing in Berlin, Schaffer injured his neck for which he had surgery in 2000.[26] In the early 2000s, he had surgery again, this time for lower-back problems.[26] In 2005, Schaffer's daughter was born,[27] whom he credits for giving him "perspective", that he "never had before".[28]

Besides playing music, Schaffer enjoys studying history and current events, as well as "standing against, and exposing, tyranny".[3] He also enjoys riding motorcycles, scuba diving, white water rafting and exercising.[3] 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.[3]


File:Jon Schaffer 2013.jpg


  • Gibson Les Pauls (Has several different ones, such as Customs, Standards, Studios, and Goldtops)
  • Gibson Korina Explorer (With Gadsden flag and "Liberty or Death" graphics)
  • Gibson SG and V (sparingly used)
  • Gibson Les Paul Studio Baritone (used on songs from Framing Armageddon and Crucible of Man)
  • BC Rich guitars (Warlock, Ignitor, and Bich; Used in the 90's)


  • Larry Jon Schaffer signature Preamp
  • Larry Dino939
  • Marshall JCM900 (power amp for Larry preamp)
  • Marshall 1960B 4x12 Cabinets

In the studio:

  • Engl Powerball
  • Soldano SLO 100
  • Bogner Uberschall


  • WCR Icebucker, Godwood, Crossroads, and American Steele pickups
  • Lindy Fralin True 60 pickups (Only used in the Explorer)
  • Bareknuckle Riff Raff, Black Dog, Rebel Yell, and Holy Diver pickups (No longer used)
  • Gibson PAF pickups (used in Les Pauls that originally had them installed)
  • RS Guitar Works potentiometers (in all guitars)
  • EMG pickups (Only used in his BC Rich guitars)
  • D'Addario EJ22 strings
  • Custom Clayton Acetal Polymer Rounded Triangle picks with Iced Earth Graphics (1.0mm now, 0.8mm in the past)


With Iced EarthEdit

With Demons and WizardsEdit

With Sons of LibertyEdit

Guest appearancesEdit

  • 2012: Let Us All Unite by Anarchadia (on the track "True World Order")


  1. 1.0 1.1 Demons and Wizards Bio. Retrieved on 2012-02-15.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Jon Schaffer interviewed by FaceCulture – Part 1.. FaceCulture. Retrieved on 2012-01-15.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 Iced Earth's Bio | The Official Iced Earth Website. Retrieved on 2011-11-18.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Jon Schaffer interviewed by FaceCulture – Part 2.. FaceCulture. Retrieved on 2012-01-15.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Jon Schaffer interviewed by FaceCulture – Part 3.. FaceCulture. Retrieved on 2012-01-15.
  6. Jon Schaffer answers questions from Iranian fans.. YouTube. Retrieved on 2011-02-09.
  7. Iced Earth. Retrieved on 2011-11-18.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Night of the Stormrider. Retrieved on 2011-11-18.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Matt Barlow's bio.. Spirit of Metal. Retrieved on 2011-11-21.
  10. Something Wicked This Way Comes. Retrieved on 2011-11-20.
  11. Jon Schaffer interviewed by FaceCulture – Part 5.. FaceCulture. Retrieved on 2012-01-19.
  12. Horror Show. Retrieved on 2011-11-21.
  13. Tim "Ripper" Owens interviewed by Metal Rules.. Metal Rules. Retrieved on 2012-02-02.
  14. Matt Barlow rejoins Iced Earth.. Retrieved on 2012-02-02.
  15. Iced Earth Vocalist Matt Barlow Retires From The Band, Releases Emotional Statement | The Official Iced Earth Website. (March 3, 2011). Retrieved on 2012-02-02.
  16. Iced Earth Announces World Tour | The Official Iced Earth Website. Retrieved on 2012-02-02.
  17. Demons and Wizards at Encyclopaedia Metallum.. Encyclopaedia Metallum. Retrieved on 2012-02-02.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Demons and Wizards albums. Retrieved on 2012-02-02.
  19. Iced Earth Webisode 5. Retrieved on 2012-02-02.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Jon Schaffer interviewed by Eddie Trunk part 1.. Retrieved on 2012-02-03.
  21. Jon Schaffer interviewed by Eddie Trunk part 2.. Retrieved on 2012-02-03.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Sons of Libetry releases Spirit of the Times.. Retrieved on 2012-02-03.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Jon Schaffer interview on Rock Eyez.. Retrieved on 2012-02-15.
  24. Jon Schaffer guesting in Silver Circle.. Retrieved on 2012-07-26.
  25. Jon Schaffer guesting on Anarchadia's album.. Retrieved on 2012-11-26.
  26. 26.0 26.1 Jon Schaffer interviewed by on Track Magazine.. Retrieved on 2012-02-15.
  27. Jon Schaffer update 2005.. Retrieved on 2012-02-15.
  28. Jon Schaffer interviewed by FaceCulture – Part 4.. FaceCulture. Retrieved on 2012-02-15.

External linksEdit

Template:Iced Earth Template:Demons & Wizards

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.