Ex-ICED EARTH Singer MATT BARLOW Says He Has Spoken To JON SCHAFFER: 'He's Okay'

January 25, 2022

Former ICED EARTH frontman Matt Barlow says that Jon Schaffer is doing "okay," more than one year after he was arrested for his role in the U.S. Capitol riot.

The 50-year-old singer, who is married to Schaffer's sister, touched upon his current relationship with ICED EARTH's founder, songwriter, guitarist and producer while doing press for his ASHES OF ARES project. Asked by Greece's "TV War" if he has talked to Jon in the 12 months since Schaffer was taken into federal custody, Matt said: "I have spoken to Jon, but we don't talk about that kind of stuff. He's okay. I mean, he's my brother-in-law."

ICED EARTH played its final show with Barlow at the 2011 edition of the Wacken Open Air festival in Wacken, Germany.

Barlow announced his departure from ICED EARTH in March 2011. In a heartfelt statement, he cited his commitment to his family and the need for ICED EARTH to tour more as the reasons for his retirement; however, he committed to performing with ICED EARTH on all 2011 European festival dates, including Wacken Open Air.

A little over a year ago, Barlow reunited with Schaffer to celebrate the holiday season with an EP called "Winter Nights". Released under the SCHAFFER/BARLOW PROJECT banner, the effort contained the duo's unique spin on five Christmas classics and two ICED EARTH songs.

Last April, Schaffer pleaded guilty to his role in the January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol riot. As part of the plea deal, Jon entered into a cooperation agreement with the government.

Following the initial reports that Schaffer was involved in the riot, his ICED EARTH bandmates distanced themselves from his actions. Singer Stu Block and bassist Luke Appleton later posted separate statements on social media announcing their resignations. BLIND GUARDIAN frontman Hansi K├╝rsch also quit DEMONS & WIZARDS, his long-running project with Schaffer. The allegations also apparently affected Schaffer's relationship with his longtime record label Century Media, which had released albums from both ICED EARTH and DEMONS & WIZARDS. As of mid-January 2021, the Century Media artist roster page did not list either band.

ASHES OF ARES, which also features former ICED EARTH member Freddie Vidales, released its third studio album, "Emperors And Fools", on January 21 via ROAR! Rock Of Angels. The LP ends with the eleven-minute-long epic "Monster's Lament" which includes the long-imagined joining of forces between Barlow and another former ICED EARTH singer, Tim "Ripper" Owens.

"Emperors And Fools" was produced by ASHES OF ARES, and mixed and mastered by Byron Filson at Villain Recording in Phoenix, Arizona. The cover artwork was created by Kamil Pietruczynik.

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