ICED EARTH singer Stu Block and bassist Luke Appleton have announced their departure from the band.
Earlier today (Monday, February 15), Stu, the Canadian-born vocalist who has fronted ICED EARTH since 2011, issued the following statement via his social media: "Hey All, Well, there are times and events when you have to take stock and re evaluate your life, work, and trajectory for the future. That being said I have informed Jon [Schaffer, ICED EARTH guitarist and leader] and his current management that I must announce my resignation from ICED EARTH with immediate effect.
"Before I made any personal decision I needed the last few weeks to process the situation as well as respect others in our camp processing the situation. I thank you all very much for respecting this. It's the best decision in many ways for my personal/ professional growth going forward. Time to move on, heal and prosper.
"Much love and respect to you all. Don't fret! Stay tuned for some exciting things to come! Time to embark upon a new chapter. Be good to each other."
Appleton, who joined the band in 2012 and played on the "Plagues Of Babylon" and "Incorruptible" albums, issued a separate statement saying: "In response to recent events & circumstances, I have notified ICED EARTH's management and Jon that I will be resigning as the ICED EARTH bassist with immediate effect.
"I would like to thank everyone who has sent me their support and love during this difficult time. Thank you!!!"
Block and Appleton's resignations from ICED EARTH come a month after Schaffer was arrested for his role in last month's riot at the U.S. Capitol. The 52-year-old musician, who resides in in Edinburgh, Indiana, is facing six federal criminal charges after he was accused of spraying a police officer with a pepper-based bear repellant during the January 6 insurrection.
Schaffer waived his preliminary hearing as well as his rights to an identity hearing and production of a warrant in late January in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, court documents state. He will soon be transported by a United States marshal to Washington, D.C. where government lawyers and Schaffer's legal team have mutually agreed to handle all proceedings.
Schaffer is entitled to a hearing on the issue of pretrial detention upon his arrival in D.C., court documents said.
Last month, government lawyers asked the judge to not offer Schaffer a bond when he goes in front of U.S. magistrate.
Schaffer must prove to the federal magistrate that he is not a threat to himself or the public before being released on bail. Others who have been charged for insurrection at the Capitol have been given bail but ordered to surrender their firearms, avoid contact with other alleged Capitol rioters and stay away from all state capitol buildings. Some other alleged rioters have been prohibited from using social media and participating in any political rallies.
Schaffer was photographed wearing an "Oath Keepers Lifetime Member" cap during the insurrection. The Oath Keepers describe themselves as an association of former law enforcement and military personnel dedicated to "support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic." But the Anti-Defamation League describes it as "a large but loosely organized collection of right-wing anti-government extremists who are part of the militia movement, which believes that the federal government has been coopted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights."
Schaffer has been held in the Marion County Jail since surrendering to police on January 17. He made his first court appearance the following day.
Authorities say Schaffer was photographed and seen on surveillance video carrying a pepper-based bear repellant and arguing with Capitol Police officers inside the Capitol.
Just hours after the insurrection, ICED EARTH fans recognized Schaffer in a photo released by federal investigators in which he could be seen at the front of a mob, wearing black leather fingerless tactical gloves and pointing his finger while yelling at someone out of the frame.
Schaffer is believed to be one of at least 400 people who are being investigated by FBI officials over their roles in the insurrection.
More than 230 criminal cases have been filed so far. Charges include unauthorized access, theft, damage to government property and assault on law enforcement officers.
While Schaffer has not yet said anything publicly about his involvement in the riot, his ICED EARTH bandmates previously put out a statement on Instagram and Facebook opposing the insurrection.
"We absolutely DO NOT condone nor do we support riots or the acts of violence that the rioters were involved in on January 6th at the US Capitol building," they wrote. "We hope that all those involved that day are brought to justice to be investigated and answer for their actions."
Well, there are times and events when you have to take stock and re evaluate your life, work, and trajectory...