ICED EARTH - A Gathering Of Ghouls Page 6
By Martin Popoff

"It's been slower than we would have liked," says Jon reflecting back wistfully, "but we're free now. But we have to get on a big tour. This headlining shit is really hard. I hope that by getting a new record company we'll find some bands that have strength in that area, Maiden, Megadeth. People always ask me what the scene is like in the States. And I say it's hard and it sucks, but I have to tell you, between the United States and Canada, there are a million metalheads. The thing is, how do we reach them? How do they find out who Iced Earth is? When you're looking at our genre, power metal or whatever, there basically aren't too many bands that are special. I like Blind Guardian and actually Helloween, to me, they are one of these bands that all these other bands are trying to copy; I don't put them in that cheese category. I definitely have more respect for them, even though, you see, what pissed me off about Helloween was when I was a teenager, I saw an ad that said, whatever the record was, 'featuring the 13 minute epic that Iron Maiden wishes they could have written.' And I was like 'f**k you guys, man!' and from that point it was like, you know, 'you just insulted the band I was f**king the most loyal to." And I held onto that for years. I would never buy one of their records (laughs)."

So while you're out there buying Helloween records to make up for the lack thereof in Jon's personal collection, look for a huge five or six CD box set to come from Iced Earth, featuring the band's first demo, the initial three albums remixed and with new comic-oriented graphics, a live video (or DVD, if Jon can talk Century Media into it), and a full tribute album of Iced Earth playing classics that influenced Jon as a kid, initially through his sister, who was the metalhead in the band. "It's funny," remembers Jon, "for my sister, metal was a passing phase, and with me, metal became my f**king life."