Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer to be held without bail for role in US Capitol insurrection

Jon Schaffer stormed the Capitol
(Image credit: ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

Iced Earth founder and electric guitar player Jon Schaffer will be held without bail until his trial for his role in the US Capitol riot on January 6.

A federal judge gave the ruling during a March 19 bail hearing.

The guitarist is facing six charges for his involvement in the insurrection, which included engaging in an act of physical violence in a Capitol building after allegedly assaulting a Capitol officer with bear spray. 

Schaffer appeared in photos taken inside the Capitol, and in a video could be heard saying, “If somebody wants to bring violence, I think there’s a lot of us here that are ready for it.”

Schaffer’s attorneys have argued that he did not act violently, claiming he had “left the Capitol after approximately 60 seconds and returned home to Indiana”. 

Wrote attorney Marc Victor in a court motion, “Mr. Schaffer is 53 years old. He has no criminal convictions. He does not have a substance abuse or mental health issue. He has no history of violence and was not violent on January 6, 2021. He entered the Capitol with pepper spray. He did not threaten anyone with or discharge the spray.”

Schaffer’s lawyers also claimed his comments had been taken out of context and that their client had used “bad judgement” and wished he had a “do-over.”

After Schaffer’s involvement was first reported, several members of Iced Earth quit the long-running Florida metal act, with vocalist Stu Block and bassist Luke Appleton announcing their departures in separate Facebook statements.

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On March 21, Canadian hard-rocker Danko Jones condemned both Schaffer and his bandmates in a tweet with a link to an NME article about the hearing.

"Jon Schaffer used bad judgement because he's a white nationalist piece of dog dung. His band mates cheered him on because ICED EARTH are a terrible band. His request for a 'do-over' proves his pathetic weakness. He's the dictionary definition of a bell-end."

In a follow-up tweet he added, "Only those that cosplay at being Alpha want 'do-overs'. Jon Schaffer and @_IcedEarth are a FAKE band."

Jones’ statement about Schaffer’s band mates were in response to Block’s initial, and now-deleted Facebook post about the insurrection, in which he wrote, "Oh it's happening! History in the making. Sending love to my friends in the US and all over the world!" 

Block later apologized for the post, and soon after announced his departure from the band.

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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.