Singer Stu Block Quits Iced Earth
Update, 1:14 p.m.: Bassist Luke Appleton has also now quit the band. Read about his departure here.
Stu Block (ex-Into Eternity) has quit Iced Earth.
The singer made the announcement in a social media post this morning (February 15). Although he never explicitly cites Iced Earth guitarist/songwriter/mastermind Jon Schaffer’s arrest for participating in January’s seditious riot at the Capitol as the reason for his departure, he does obliquely refer to “the situation” and “times and events when you have to take stock and re evaluate [sic] your life, work, and trajectory for the future.”
Block’s full statement reads:
“Well, there are times and events when you have to take stock and re evaluate your life, work, and trajectory for the future. That being said I have informed Jon [Schaffer] and his current management that I must announce my resignation from Iced Earth with immediate effect.
“Before I made any personal decision I needed the last few weeks to process the situation as well as respect others in our camp processing the situation. I thank you all very much for respecting this. It’s the best decision in many ways for my personal/ professional growth going forward. Time to move on, heal and prosper.
“Much love and respect to you all. Don’t fret! Stay tuned for some exciting things to come! Time to embark upon a new chapter. Be good to each other.
Block previously came under fire for indicating his support for the mob until they turned violent, and later deleting comments and banning fans who questioned his views on the riot.
Block is the second singer to cut ties with Schaffer following the guitarist’s arrest, following Hansi Kürsch, who quit Demons & Wizards earlier this month. Both that band and Iced Earth no longer appear on the current or former artist pages of Schaffer’s longtime label, Century Media. The label has yet to issue a formal statement as to whether or not they’ve dropped the two acts.
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.
Schaffer was arrested in Columbus, IN on January 17. As of Friday, January 29, Schaffer was being held in Marion County Jail in Indianapolis, IN, awaiting extradition to Washington, D.C.
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.