Jake Dreyer appears to be the third member of Iced Earth to quit the band today, following singer Stu Block and bassist Luke Appleton.
Although Dreyer has made no official announcement regarding his status with the group, TMZ says the guitarist told them he hasn’t been in Iced Earth since 2018, and “now he’s focused solely on playing with his own band, Witherfall.” Dreyer reportedly added that “he enjoyed his time with Iced Earth,” but “it’s unfortunate how this tragedy unfolded” (“this tragedy,” of course, being Iced Earth guitarist/songwriter/leader Jon Schaffer being involved in the seditious riot at the Capitol last month).
Additionally, fans have noted that Iced Earth is no longer listed as one of Dreyer’s projects on his Instagram page.
Assuming Dreyer has left Iced Earth, that leaves just Schaffer and drummer Brent Smedley.
Dreyer joined Iced Earth in 2016 and appears on their most recent album, 2017’s Incorruptible. Witherfall’s new album, Curse of Autumn — which was produced by Schaffer — is due for release on March 5 via Century Media.
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, Block, and Dreyer are just the latest musicians to cut ties with Schaffer, after Hansi Kürsch, who quit Demons & Wizards earlier this month.
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.