Currently on tour in Europe, U.S. metallers Iced Earth have recently talked about the re-recording of their early albums. In a recent interview, guitarist and band leader Jon Schaffer discussed this idea. The band is going to be re-recording the early catalog because Schaffer doesn’t own the master rights and there’s no income coming from that. If they redo those records, then everybody in the band will be able to get a royalty in the future.
Regarding the re-recording of some early albums with the band’s current lineup, Jon said:
“As a fan, do I want Iron Maiden to go back and mess around with “The Number Of The Beast” or Metallica to change “Ride The Lightning” or Sabbath to change “Black Sabbath”? No, I don’t, because I love ’em the way they are. But we’re gonna dig back in to the catalogue and we’re gonna do some re-recording and we’re gonna do it with the muscle and the talent that’s in the band now. And that’s not a dig at anybody, because I’ve worked with amazing people through my whole career, and everybody’s contributed. Even if somebody hasn’t necessarily written songs, they’re contributing, of course, ’cause they’re performing. And those are two separate things. Sometimes the line gets blurred in the artist’s mind of the difference between performing and the difference between writing, but there is a big difference. And everybody has done the best that they can through the entire catalogue, and it’s great — there’s been contributions from all. So I’m not one to sit back and say that I wrote everything and I do everything, even though people have accused me of that kind of attitude; that’s not the case. Am I the chief songwriter? Absolutely. Am I the driving force of this band? Absolutely. And anybody that’s worked around it knows that. And if they say anything different, then they’re just lying. So it is what it is.
For whatever reason, this band… I’ve been married to it since the concept was brewing in my mind when it was… Well, it started off as The Rose, which for a very short-lived time, and then it became Purgatory, and then it was Iced Earth ultimately. And I’ve been completely married to it, completely committed to it since its inception.
On Schaffer not owning the master rights to Iced Earth’s early recordings:
The thing is, man, I will never own the masters for (early Iced Earth albums released through) Century Media unless, all of a sudden, they develop a conscience and say, “Jon should own his masters.” (Laughs) And believe me, Sony Records did not buy Century Media to start giving artists their rights back. So it’s pretty unlikely. And, you know, it’s business, and dude, hey, I signed, we all signed it — the original five guys from the first album, we all signed a very horrible contract. I just finished it. I went and pushed through to the bitter end.