Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer photographed storming the US Capitol building during pro-Trump riot

Jon Schaffer was among the mob that stormed the US Capitol
(Image credit: Juan Aguado/Redferns / ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

Iced Earth electric guitar player and founder Jon Schaffer was pictured among the mob of Donald Trump supporters who stormed the US Capitol in Washington DC yesterday, January 6.

In a photo from Roberto Schmidt of the AFP agency, Schaffer can be seen among a group of rioters who pushed past police to enter the Capitol building. At the time, lawmakers were convened in a joint session of congress to count Electoral College votes and certify President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

Four people died during the protests.

Back in November, Schaffer was interviewed by the German newspaper Die Welt while taking part in another Trump protest in the US capital city.

“They will go down. They’re messing with the wrong people, believe me,” he told the paper, adding, “If someone uses violence against us, we will react accordingly. We don’t want that, but we are ready.”

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During a Facebook live chat in September 2020 Schaffer expressed his distrust of the US government, stating he was neither “a left-or-right guy.”

“I'm an American – that's my country, that's where I live,” he said. “I don't trust my government. I don't give a shit if it's an 'R' or a 'D' next to the name of the person. I try to understand the bigger picture. I've done a lot of reading and a lot of studying. I'm a man of my convictions, and I don't say stuff that I don't truly believe.”

He continued, "You can't put your hope into one president or one person, or a mayor or a governor or whatever. You've gotta be out there and actively put pressure on these people, let 'em know you're paying attention. If you're not paying attention, they're gonna rob you and steal everything. Your freedom, too. Not just your money. They're gonna steal your fucking freedom. 'Cause they're a bunch of sick control freaks."

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Numerous rock and metal musicians, meanwhile, took to social media to denounce the riots. KISS’s Paul Stanley wrote:

“These are TERRORISTS. This is armed insurrection. The flames were fanned today & over time by the president & specific senators who CANNOT be allowed now to distance from or denounce what they have directly caused. Know their names. THIS is the result of their deception. Shame.”

Lamb of God’s Mark Morton tweeted: “When BLM protestors were marching on the Confederate monuments here in Richmond, they were getting beaten with batons and tear-gassed. These dudes are literally being allowed to CLIMB the Capitol building lol.”

Other artists, including Tom Morello, Machine Head’s Robb Flynn, Testament’s Alex Skolnick, Mike Portnoy , Fear Factory's Dino Cazares, and more, also voiced their condemnation of the mob’s actions.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.