On May 14, Groovey of Groovey.TV conducted an interview with ICED EARTH guitarist/mainman Jon Schaffer at Summit Music Hall in Denver, Colorado. You can now watch the chat below.
Asked what he plans to do during ICED EARTH's break following the band's appearance at the Wacken Open Air festival in August, Schaffer said: "I have to have neck surgery. It's the second cervical fusion. I had the first one 14 years ago. And, ironically, we did Wacken, like, three and a half weeks after that, and I was in a neck brace and shit. But this time, there is no chance for me to do it and heal up through the summer because of what it takes. So, I mean, basically, early September, I'm going under the blade again and I'm gonna get this fixed. 'Cause it's rapidly gotten worse. I would say since the recording of [ICED EARTH's new album] 'Plagues Of Babylon' is when it really started to get bad. It's been bothering me for a long time, but now it's getting to the point where it's actually affecting my hands and my shoulders and it's really not good. A little break would be good, because it's not just the performing of ICED EARTH, it's the whole thing. It's a 24-7 job, so it's just gonna be good to be able to take a few weeks and not hear the words 'ICED EARTH' for awhile or anything and do some stuff with my daughter and have some good quality time. So that alone will recharge the batteries, let alone getting the neck situation fixed up."
"Plagues Of Babylon" sold around 6,300 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 49 on The Billboard 200 chart.
The band's previous CD, "Dystopia", opened with around 6,100 units back in October 2011 to enter the chart at No. 67.
ICED EARTH's 2008 effort, "The Crucible of Man (Something Wicked Part II)", registered a first-week tally of 6,700 to debut at No. 79.
"Plagues Of Babylon" was recorded at Principal Studios (KREATOR, IN EXTREMO, GRAVE DIGGER) in Senden, Germany and was mixed at NHow Studios in Berlin, Germany. Guest vocals on "Highwayman" were laid down by VOLBEAT frontman Michael Poulsen and SYMPHONY X/ADRENALINE MOB singer Russell Allen. Guest vocals on "Plagues Of Babylon", "Among The Living Dead", "Democide", "Resistance" and "If I Could See You" are by BLIND GUARDIAN vocalist Hansi Kürsch. The cover and additional artwork was created by Eliran Kantor (TESTAMENT, ATHEIST, HATEBREED).
Jon Dette (SLAYER, TESTAMENT, ANTHRAX) is sitting behind the drums for ICED EARTH's current tour, taking over for Raphael Saini, who filled in during the summer 2013 festivals, the recording of ICED EARTH's new album, and the club leg of the VOLBEAT 2013 tour.
Dette made his live debut with ICED EARTH on November 6, 2013 at O2 World in Berlin, Germany.
ICED EARTH last year parted ways with drummer Brent Smedley for "personal family reasons."