ICED EARTH - Boogie With Stu Page 3
by Martin Popoff

"Stu is a positive force in my life, in general, which is a really good thing," reflects Jon. "He's a guy who was really happy to be here, and appreciates all of it, and it's awesome. To me, it's a really good thing. Stu, actually, in a funny way, brings a lot of balance to me, you know what I mean? Because I'm a heavy guy. You know, I'm the guy who deals with all the shit, and I've got all this weight and stuff, and Stu comes in, and he realizes that and he's just always in a good mood. He's always upbeat, and it's nice to have that. It just brings balance; it's really cool. And writing... we have a really great writing chemistry."

And there's the rub. Ripper... love the guy, but you didn't get the sense he was engaged. Matt is like family, but he's got family and police work to do. Stu on the other hand, he's co-lyricist and repeatedly even sole lyricist all over this astringent, percussive (in other words, gloriously typical) Iced Earth pageant of power to the people.

"The cool thing about Dystopia is that it deals with real-world issues," says Jon of the lyrical bent-out-of-shape of the new record. "And it's kind of in a way that's veiled. So it isn't like a direct roundhouse kick to the skull like Sons Of Liberty is. It's obvious what that is about, and its goals. This album has, I guess a way of hopefully reaching more people simply because, for one, it's Iced Earth, number two, it's done it in a way that, without being too obvious, hopefully will inspire people to think. You can't make somebody think, but I hope on some level it will do that."

And will Schaffer continue with Sons Of Liberty? I mean, one look at his commitment to the politics of the Constitution, and it wouldn't seem out of step if that band took over this one. "I probably will for the rest my life, because it's a big deal," says John. "It's like my passion, my activist coming out. So I'm sure I will always do Sons Of Liberty stuff, whenever I have time."

ICED EARTH - Boogie With Stu Page 4