German metallers BLIND GUARDIAN — whose frontman, Hansi Kürsch, shares a long-running project with ICED EARTH‘s Jon Schaffer, DEMONS & WIZARDS — have released the following statement regarding the violence and destruction of property at the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday (January 6):
“We are deeply shocked and our thoughts are with the relatives of the deceased. We expressly distance ourselves from any kind of violence irrespective if applied against institutions or persons. The incidents will be thoroughly investigated and the responsibles will be brought to justice. We ask for your understanding that in view of the hourly news situation we will not make any further comments at present.”
As previously reported, Schaffer is among dozens of people wanted by the FBI for storming Capitol Hill. The FBI‘s Washington Field Office early Friday morning released 40 photos of people who are suspected of unlawful entry during a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol carried out on Wednesday during the final Congressional vote recording for the 2020 general election. Among them is a picture of Schaffer taken by Roberto Schmidt of AFP. In the photo, Schaffer can be seen at the front of a mob, sporting a hat from Oath Keepers, an anti-government militia group, and pointing his finger while yelling at someone out of the frame.
DEMONS & WIZARDS released its third studio album, “III”, in February 2020 via Century Media Records. The LP marked the band’s first collection of new material in 15 years.
In a 2019 interview with The Greene Room Magazine, Hansi stated about how DEMONS & WIZARDS was formed: “It started with a friendship. [Jon and I] met each other for the first time in 1991 when we toured together with ICED EARTH and BLIND GUARDIAN, and an immediate friendship came to happen because we were alike — in many ways, spiritual brothers from the beginning. And that goes for the two of us, but also for the two bands in general. We had a blast, and ever since, we established a very close friendship. We were not even talking about making music together. By whatsoever reason, more or less seven years later, Jon came to visit me, and we had a hangover morning he started playing guitar. I started humming to it, and we thought, ‘Well, that might be the creepy melody to work on. Let’s go to the BLIND GUARDIAN rehearsal room and try to do something with it.’ Then we called it a song within a short amount of time; it was maybe three, four hours. That song was ‘My Last Sunrise’ which ended up on the very first album. When doing this song, we just recognized that there’s not only a friendship, but a strong spiritual, creative chemistry between the two of us. We said, ‘We may want to use that later on for whatever reason or purpose.’ We thought about it for a while, and then we said, ‘Well, let’s use that creativity and do an album.’ Then we started working on DEMONS & WIZARDS.”
Schaffer talked about his collaboration with Kürsch in a 2020 interview with Myglobalmind. He said: “This is an exercise in brotherhood first and foremost. Hansi and I were very dear friends before we realized that we could write songs together. Writing together actually happened by accident. When it happened, the next question was, what are we going to do with it? The first song we wrote was ‘My Last Sunrise’ and it was the last song on the first DEMONS album. Initially, we talked about BLIND GUARDIAN and ICED EARTH, each doing a version, but at some point, I just said to Hansi, ‘Let’s just do our own thing and write a bunch more together.’ It has always been about having fun and spending time together, but we do hold the pressure to ourselves in delivering something we are happy with. Nine times out of ten, the fans will be right on board. It’s all about satisfying yourself as an artist first; then we let the dice roll.”
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