Bassist Luke Appleton Quits Iced Earth
Following this morning’s news that vocalist Stu Block (ex-Into Eternity) has quit Iced Earth, now bassist Luke Appleton has announced his departure from the band as well.
Appleton, like Block, does not make specific reference to the fact that Iced Earth guitarist/songwriter/mastermind Jon Schaffer has been arrested for participating in last month’s seditious riot at the Capitol, referring instead only to “recent events and circumstances” as the cause for his departure.
Says Appleton in a statement:
“In response to recent events & circumstances, I have notified Iced Earth’s management and Jon that I will be resigning as the Iced Earth bassist with immediate effect.
“I would like to thank everyone who has sent me their support and love during this difficult time. Thank you!!!
This leaves guitarist Jake Dreyer and drummer Brent Smedley as the remaining members of Iced Earth, at least for now. Dreyer’s other band, Witherfall, will release a new, Schaffer-produced album, Curse of Autumn, next month.
When word of Schaffer’s involvement in the Capitol riots first spread, his bandmates in Iced Earth issued a collective statement distancing themselves from the violence, but stopping short of publicly disagreeing with his political views.
Appleton and Block are just the latest musicians to cut ties with Schaffer, after Hansi Kürsch, who quit Demons & Wizards earlier this month.
Following his arrest, The New York Times reported that authorities believed Schaffer to be a member of the Oath Keepers, an organized, far-right militia group known as the Oath Keepers who planned the invasion of the building in advance. Schaffer was wearing an Oath Keepers hat in a widely circulated photo taken inside the Capitol and has expressed similar views in several interviews over the years.
Days later, however, the Indiana chapter of the Oath Keepers released a statement in which they asserted that Schaffer is not a member of their organization.
After Schaffer turned himself in, the FBI Indianapolis Field Office indicated he faces 6 charges, including spraying Capitol police with ‘bear spray.’ ”
Schaffer was also charged with “unlawful entry into restricted buildings or grounds,” which carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison that could rise to a maximum of 10 years if injuries or weapons were involved.
The full list of charges is as follows:
- “Knowingly Entering or Remaining in any Restricted Building or Grounds Without Lawful Authority”
- “Disrupting the Orderly Conduct of Government Business”
- “Knowingly Engages in an Act of Physical Violence Against any Person or Property in any Restricted Building or Grounds”
- “Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building”
- “Engage in an Act of Physical Violence in a Capitol Building”
- “Parade, Demonstrate, or Picket in a Capitol Building”
A number of folks who donated to the Kickstarter campaign for an upcoming Iced Earth book publicly renounced their fandom and demanded refunds, posting angry comments on the book’s crowdfunding page. Others, however, continue to support Schaffer.
The guitarist has been quite open about his far-right political views for years, openly discussing his mistrust of government (with a special emphasis on the federal reserve), asserting his belief that Trump’s loss in the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election was tipped by illegal immigrants, speaking out in favor of arming teachers to prevent school shootings, and claiming that COVID-19 is a hoax.