|Born on: 15.03.1968
Jon Ryan Schaffer (born March 15, 1968 in Franklin, Indiana) is a heavy metal guitarist and songwriter. He is the founder of the heavy metal band Iced Earth. He was nominated for the title "Riff Lord" at the 2008 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards.
At the age of 14 Jon got his first guitar and began writing music. At the age of 16 he dropped out of Northrop High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana and moved out of his parents' home to Tampa, Florida, in order to start up a band and play music. In 1985 Schaffer founded the power/thrash metal band Purgatory, which quickly changed its name to become Iced Earth. He is now the only remaining member of the first line-up and has suffered from neck injuries, some of which resulted in surgery, that still plague him today. In 2005 Jon and his wife, Wendi, became parents with the birth of their first daughter.
He is also brother-in-law of Iced Earth ex-singer Matt Barlow, as Matt is married to Jon's sister.
Schaffer has also recorded and toured with Demons & Wizards, his side project with Blind Guardian vocalist Hansi Kürsch.
Schaffer also sings lead on the Iced Earth songs "Stormrider" from Night Of The Stormrider and on "God Of Thunder", a cover of the Kiss song, on Tribute To The Gods. He also shares lead vocals with Matt Barlow on "A Gift Or A Curse?" from The Crucible Of Man and "Winter Nights" from Days Of Purgatory, and on "Desert Rain" from Night Of The Stormrider with John Greely in a call-and-answer style. In various other songs, he has been known for being given brief sections to sing unaccompanied, easily distinguishable with his low growls. However, he nonetheless has served as the band's main live backing vocalist for the band's entire career, doing all backing parts from his original growls to the melodic opera sections of songs.
In December 2009, Schaffer released his politically themed solo project Sons Of Liberty's album Brush-Fires Of The Mind in which Schaffer sings lead in addition to playing all guitars. Not to be confused with the Philadelphia, PA based patriotic punk band Sons Of Liberty which was formed in 2001, released 2 full length albums and 3 EPs and still exists to this day. The Philadelphia S.O.L.'s 2nd LP / CD Join Or Die (Dim Records, 2007) features the Benjamin Franklin drawn rattlesnake picture and they were the first to use that artwork with the Sons Of Liberty name.
Jon Schaffer's primary musical influences were Iron Maiden, Kiss, Judas Priest, Metallica, Blue Öyster Cult, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, and AC/DC. His non-musical hobbies include motorcycles and Schaffer is also an avid American Civil War enthusiast, with particular interest in the Battle of Gettysburg, which inspired his longest song to date, the 32 minute opus, "Gettysburg (1863)" from the 2004 Iced Earth album, The Glorious Burden, a concept album about various historical topics. Lyrically, Jon is inspired by fantasy, science fiction and horror stories (his Something Wicked Saga is a series of two and a half science-fiction concept albums), and is known to be an avid collector of Star Wars merchandise.
His favorite album is Iron Maiden's The Number Of The Beast, and Iced Earth covered two songs from the album on their cover album Tribute To The Gods.
In September 2007 he signed an official endorsement deal with Gibson Guitars.
Aside from performing music, Jon Schaffer owns a historical collectibles store called "Spirit Of '76 Collectibles", formerly located in Columbus, Indiana. The showroom is now closed in favor of online sales only. Jon has also stated that he started a comic featuring his character, Set Abominae, who is featured in some of Iced Earth's albums, including Something Wicked This Way Comes, Dark Genesis, Horror Show, Tribute To The Gods, and Alive In Athens. On September 11, 2007, Iced Earth released the first part of a double concept album based on the Set Abominae character and story, entitled Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Part 1), which was followed by The Crucible Of Man (Something Wicked Part 2) in September 2008.