We met with Jon on the very first day of the Bloodstock Open Air festival, after Iced Earth had performed an excellent show in front of a massive audience. By the time he sat down with us, however, he had spent hours doing interviews focused on Iced Earth, with several questions repeating themselves over and over. We gave him the choice of talking about Iced Earth or focusing on his other project, Sons of Liberty, of which not enough is known. He said, “Sons of Liberty. It’s much more important”.

Clearly, for Jon, the message was all that mattered. 1) I agree with some things, I disagree with others. Conspiracy theories are addictive, so if you believe one of them (and maybe you’re right doing it) it’s just too tempting to believe ALL of them. Then, before you know it, vaccines cause autism, fluoride in the water makes you gay, 9/11 was an inside job and the Apollo 11 never reached the moon (and then you’d be insanely wrong…and borderline insane).

 —

Metal Blast: “Sons of Liberty” was also the name of an organization in Colonial America that combated the abuses of the Crown. Do you see that this is the situation right now, that America needs to be protected from an enemy?
Jon:
Yes, of course I do. But I think that the enemy is running the country, that’s the difference. Back then it was a foreign enemy – I mean, obviously they had their minions in control of government in a lot of places… but today is a very different situation.
The United States is run by the criminals on Wall Street, the criminal banks, which are the owners of the Federal Reserve system. It’s a big banking cartel, it’s not one system, it’s not federal and there are no reserves, it’s Goldman Sachs, it’s Deutsche Bank, it’s a lot of European oligarchs and royals that have interbred and own the system. They’ve controlled America for a long time and they still give us the illusion that we’re free and that we’re independent, but we’re not. They have a very disturbing agenda for the future of humanity and I think that it is clear, if you really pay attention and read their writings.
To the average person, when I talk about this, I come off as a raving lunatic because they just sit around, watch TV and obsess over football and other stupid shit. But dude, there are big things happening out there in the world… I mean, they’ve been happening for a long time, it’s not new.
I was a victim of propaganda for many years in my life; everybody is capable of waking up… it’s just about at what point it really hits you that we’re in serious trouble, and then about what your spirit tells you to do… mine told me to start Sons of Liberty.

MB: You did something that I consider very admirable, namely to say “I was wrong”. You’ve talked about how, during a visit to Central America, you watched the documentary Zeitgeist and broke down, realizing that you had been wrong about a lot of things.
You probably remember that, now infamous, interview with Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles in which the kid doing the interview talked against the War in Iraq and “the Bush Regime”, which you considered offensive. Were you wrong?

Jon:
Definitely, there’s no question. I was… and he was right, in many ways he was right. I think that the problem is that people don’t understand that my love affair with America goes back to the Republic, the beginning, and to the idea of America. The problem is that the propaganda in the country is so strong that if you follow the newspapers and the mainstream media they make you believe that still counts, and it’s easy to get trapped in that, because you don’t want to believe that the people in power are the worst people imaginable; you don’t want think that your government is made up of a bunch of gangster criminals, so that’s the thing.
I’m always man enough to admit when I’m wrong, I just didn’t believe it, I didn’t want to believe it. I really believed the story of 9/11 when it happened, I didn’t see any evidence contrary to that… I’ve always believed in the founding principles of America, and I just wasn’t using my head, I was trapped in the old days. I’ve always been trapped in the 18th and 19th century… the American revolution and the Civil War, and always from a military standpoint, the battles, etc.
I had studied some of the civil parts of the Revolutionary War and what it was really about, but when it came to the Civil War, it was all about the military maneuvers, I was fascinated by them, but I didn’t really know what the social reasons were, so learning about what’s really happening and having my awakening was a huge thing in my life, and that’s really what lead to the rejuvenation of Iced Earth.
I was so burned out with Iced Earth and dealing with so much shit in the last decade that it was a love/hate relationship and it was mostly hate. We had so many problems… management problems, I had health problems, the label was going bankrupt… all the stuff that was happening at that time was brutal. Most bands wouldn’t even be here today considering that, let alone what went through in the early days, so it’s always been an uphill battle, but for me to reconnect with who I am as a human being and my love for Iced Earth is a big deal, it really is.

MB: While this change in your point of view lead to the creation of Sons of Liberty, would it be safe to say that it also affected Iced Earth? Earlier today I was listening to “V”, from Dystopia, and I couldn’t help getting the sort of message that Sons of Liberty is all about.
Jon:
[Smiling] Yeah… I can’t not embrace it… I just feel that with Iced Earth I have to do it in a more veiled way, because I don’t want the press to turn it around. The press didn’t understand Sons of Liberty when it came out, they thought it was some right-wing extremism or some shit like that, so they didn’t pay attention. But now they’re paying attention, which is funny, since it acquires credibility as time goes on.
I don’t want that to happen with Iced Earth, because it’s not about politics, it’s about freedom, about prosperity for everyone, sound money and exposing the system for what it is.

MB: I think that one of the problems that people with your convictions face is that the media presents them in an unfair way. For instance, in the case of Ron Paul (a politician that, when it comes to foreign politics and civil liberties, I really admire) he was always shown as “Well, here’s Ron Paul, but he’s going to lose”. Well, if you keep presenting him as a “sure loser”, before the competition even begins… probably!
Jon:
People always say that, and the media is controlled by the bad guys, trust me. The media whores that you see on the screen, they’re teleprompter-reading asswipes, they’re completely uninformed. The people in the control room are informed, that’s why it’s called the “control room”, and they have an agenda, and it’s a system that has infected every part of our society, every part in the West.
Ron Paul is the man, he is the only guy that understands what’s happening in American politics, but he can’t save it, the people are the only ones that can save it. You have to save it on a community level, on a local level. The Federal Government is criminal, it’s out of control… just fuck it, let it collapse itself. The people in America should just step away from it, make their communities strong, root out corruption in their local community. If you’re a good man, you go and run for office on the Town Council, you take control of their power centers, you try to do it,

“The enemy is running the country”

MB: The problem is that people tend to think in terms of “I’m just one person, so what can I possibly do?”, forgetting the fact that every big change and every revolution is just a sum of individuals.
Jon:
The bad thing is that Television is the most dangerous weapon of all. Yes, it is a weapon, I don’t care what anybody says, it controls people, it controls their thoughts; it’s a mind control system, and if you sit down and you watch it you put yourself into a state of mind where you’re not really thinking objectively, you’re just agreeing with whatever is there.
Human beings are easily susceptible and, believe me, the Pentagon knows this and the manipulators, they know how to fuck with the people. They know what it takes.

MB: Although people may absorb everything they see on TV, not making rational judgments or assessments between everything there, the problem is that a similar phenomenon occurs with conspiracy theories, since once you find out that the Government lied about something you’re too eager to believe that everything is a lie, and you might end up among those who say the moon landing never happened. You’re probably familiar with Jesse Ventura, right?
Jon:
Yeah, sure.

MB: Well, he had this show called “Conspiracy Theory”, where some of the things seemed rational enough, and other were nothing but completely irrational and downright crazy speculation. Do you find that, because of this phenomenon, when you try to present your views you end being grouped with nutjobs?
Jon:
I don’t buy everything that Jesse Ventura, Alex Jones or anybody says, I focus on the stuff that I can prove, and that’s the financial system, the finance oligarchs and the royal bloodlines of Europe and their fucking schemes, what they’ve been up to and how they’ve been interbred with each other (I think they get crazier and crazier with every generation).
I mean, if you want to talk about aliens don’t talk to me, because I can’t prove it. Do I think it’s impossible? Hell no, I think it’s very possible, but I can’t prove it; however, I can definitely prove that my government is completely criminal and completely out of control, and that it works for these global corporations that don’t pay any taxes in the US, even if they name themselves as American Corporations, because they’re not. You can name yourself United States Corporation, but if you’re out there in the fucking Caribbean not paying any taxes in America, then you’re not American, you’re out there destroying the world for your own benefit, and this criminal government goes along with it… And so does the Government in the UK, in many parts of Germany and all over the West, it’s a global system, it’s the New World Order, a corporate takeover.

“Most bands wouldn’t be here today, considering what we’ve been through”

MB: Back in that Brave Words interview you opposed the idea that the US was an Empire, something that, to a certain extent, has now been stated by Ron Paul. Do you think that the US (which in the words of Pat Buchanan was “A Republic, not an Empire”) has become an Empire?
Jon:
Yes; well, it’s the Anglo-American Empire, it’s the British-American Empire. I believe in the Republic, but it’s falling apart because people don’t believe it’s happening, just like me a few years back. Although now we have started to see the difference, they were able to keep the illusion up for a such long time that we were The Empire and that there was a de jure Republic and a de jure Constitution, but it’s gone.
And it’s been like this since the end of the Civil War, and that’s what is fucked up, if you really look into it. At the end of the Civil War [the Republic] was over; once the Reconstruction happened, the United States ceased to exist, it became a Corporation, and Lincoln, who is hailed as the person who freed the slaves, was a fucking tyrant.

MB: There’s something quite admirable in the United States, that I recognize despite having an almost endless list of criticisms, which is the ability of its people to stand up and oppose the Government, something that in Europe you don’t see as much, since there seems to be a bigger submission to the State.
Jon:
I don’t know… I see a lot of European countries that are resisting this shit. France is one of them. I think Europeans, a lot of Europeans, are also awake and pissed. I’m not going to get into tribalism because that’s the wrong way to do things. The American people are waking up, but so are the Europeans, the South Americans, the Chinese… there’s people all over this planet that are waking up and getting pissed off and that are sick of this shit and see through it.

MB: You mentioned the Civil War. A band called “Combichrist” was criticized for using a Confederate flag on a t-shirt during a photo shoot. You use it as a bandana. Why do you do it and what does it represent for you?
Jon:
First of all, everything that’s been taught about the Confederacy is a lie, it had nothing to do with slavery, it had to do with standing against the Empire. I don’t really care what people think: I’m going to wear it because I understand.
Now, was that situation controlled at the top by bad people? Possibly. But the sentiment of the people at the time, where they knew what the United States was going to turn into, was that they saw where they were headed and stood against the Yankees, i.e. the banks, the factories and the big corporations. They fought with everything they had, and that’s why I wear the Rebel Flag.

MB: The Civil War does have an important meaning for you. I mean, “The Glorious Burden” even includes this massive work “Gettysburg”, as a result of your study of the war.
Jon:
Yes, but I have a different understanding of it now, because I’ve studied the Reconstruction and the legal side of it, that’s the difference. It’s one thing to study the military side and some of the civil sides, but another is to understand the legal side, what the Reconstruction meant to the United States, what the 14th Amendment meant. All the shit that we’re taught is part of the propaganda, it’s a whole different scam. The end of the Republic came the minute the Civil War ended and the Yankees won.
Slavery was a system, and it was a terrible system, but Thomas Jefferson included in the first draft of the Declaration of Independence a section to end slavery, he wanted to end it. The rest of the colonies took this part out because they knew that they would never get a unanimous vote against the King to end slavery,  because their economies relied on it. It was a brutal and terrible system, I do not agree with it, but the Civil War didn’t have anything to do with it, that’s the propaganda. It’s not about racism, it’s not about slavery, that’s bullshit, it’s about freedom, it’s about freedom from Federal Government control.

“Everything that has been taught about the Confederacy is a lie”

MB: Do you think that by saying this the media will label you as either a fascist or a racist?
Jon:
They can kiss my ass, I don’t care. I’m a free man. I’m an old pirate, I live by my own rules, and anybody that tries to label me can suck it, because they don’t know who I am, and if they did they wouldn’t say that. I don’t really care.
The good thing is that there’s a lot of people that really understand and they have the time and the commitment to do the research to try to understand who I am. The media is controlled in a lot of ways and in a lot of instances. I’m not going to live my life in fear of what people think, I’m a man of my convictions. They can fuck off.

MB: Was this “awakening” very hard for you in terms of social repercussions? Did you alienate yourself because of it?
Jon:
Well… you know, it scared some people, but whatever. I don’t live my life that way. One of the biggest traps, and one of the biggest weapons against humanity is for us to worry about what other people think. It’s huge, think about it: The average person is like “oh, I don’t want to offend anybody”, it’s stupid. The thing is, you’re not going to offend people, people are going to respect you if you speak your mind. If we talk about the “herd” that might be different but, on an individual level, if you speak to somebody with conviction and belief, and you’re willing to listen to their opinions, then you have a discussion, real human things going on, and you can come to solutions about problems. These control mechanisms benefit the government on wedge-issues. It’s divide and conquer, it’s something that has been going on for centuries, and it’s bullshit.
One of the biggest weapons that the system has put into the human mind is that we should be afraid of voicing our opinions, and being afraid of what other people think. Fuck other people, just live and other people will respect you.

MB: The problem is that the issue is not whether you’re offensive, it’s about whether or not you’re right…
Jon:
Brother, I’m with you on that [shakes my hand]. It doesn’t matter if it offends anybody.
You can’t discuss religion and politics? Really? We should be discussing that all the time, not who won the latest football game, that’s for fucking retards.

[the tour manager looks at me and Jon. It’s time to wrap it up]

MB: Well Jon, we have to end this here; I appreciate it that you took the time to do this.
Jon:
Not a problem. It’s good to meet an awakened brother.

 

Special thanks to: Jon Schaffer, Sarah L. and Dario D. (both from Century Media)

References   [ + ]

1. I agree with some things, I disagree with others. Conspiracy theories are addictive, so if you believe one of them (and maybe you’re right doing it) it’s just too tempting to believe ALL of them. Then, before you know it, vaccines cause autism, fluoride in the water makes you gay, 9/11 was an inside job and the Apollo 11 never reached the moon (and then you’d be insanely wrong…and borderline insane).
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Considered by his mother as the brightest and prettiest boy, J's interest in metal started in his early teens, listening to bands like Iron Maiden and Metallica (coupled with an embarrassing period in which Marilyn Manson "totally represents me, man") eventually moving into the realm of power, industrial and death metal. When he's not working at Metal Blast he can be found finishing his doctoral dissertation, practicing Krav Maga, working as an attorney and coming up with excuses as to why he has to miss work after going to a concert. He also dabbles as a concert photographer, you can see his sub-par work on his instagram.