ACCEPT: In Conversation With Wolf Hoffmann

Photo courtesy of acceptworldwide.com

Photo courtesy of acceptworldwide.com

By Allan Grusie

We’ve all seen the Phoenix Effect before in the world of classic rock bands. Bands rise from slumber, put together an album, sometimes good, sometimes bad, hit the road, … the end.

Then, there is the story of Accept. Seldom has the rock scene witnessed what has happened with this legendary band. Totally by coincidence, 2010 found the core of the band connecting with former TT Quick singer Mark Tornillo, releasing the magnificent Blood Of The Nations (hands down, my album of the year for 2010) followed by a successful tour. In 2011, they are on the road again, proving to fans that this is indeed a revitalized Accept, with purpose. I caught up with guitarist, and founding member, Wolf Hoffmann prior to their sold out Toronto show.

So, bring our readers up to date with how the reformation of Accept came to be.

“Well, it is really one of those funny stories in life which started as a big coincidence,” says Hoffman. “The short version is that, about a year and a half ago we met Mark Tornillo and loved the way he sang. It wasn’t planned out at all. We were not auditioning for a singer or anything. We just happened to meet during a jam session. Peter (Baltes) and I were spending a day just jamming some old riffs. Somebody suggested we call Mark and have him sing along with some old songs. We realized he has a killer voice which was suited perfectly to our old material. The idea to reform was born in that moment. Within about a minute and I half Peter and I just looked at each other and we knew we had to do something.”

The promotional blitz leading up to the release of Blood Of The Nations was second to none. From the initial press teasers, the video for Teutonic Terror, right to the release of the album and subsequent tour was professional and dare I say, Genius!

“Well, really the credit for all the goes to Gaby (Hoffmann, who manages the band too!). She looks after all those aspects. In a way, it was a risk, because we had nothing at the time. No songs, but we just knew that this would work. On the idea of the video, a good friend from Los Angeles, Dave Blass had mentioned a long time ago that if we ever needed to film a video he would do it. So, he arranged us to shoot at a tank graveyard, and the video turned out great.”

What were your expectations going in this time around?

“I really didn’t have any expectations. I just wanted to make the best album I could and show the world that we can do it. People were making comments online saying things like, ‘it’s not going to work, it’s gonna suck, don’t even bother, etc’, so we kind of had this attitude that we will have to try twice as hard to prove that we could do it. So, I knew everybody would take the record under a microscope, and really dissect it to find any weak point, either because Udo is not in the band or just to say I told you so. We knew internally that the guys who wrote the songs are in the band still. People assumed, incorrectly, that the singer writes the songs. I mean, I had people even argue that point with me. So, even with a different singer, we felt that there is no reason that it shouldn’t work, since we wrote the songs anyway.”

On why the difference with Mark on vocals compared with David Reece on the Beat The Heat album.

“The idea behind Beat The Heat was that we were trying to take the band in a totally different direction. The fans were not really ready for that and we never had the right chemistry. With Mark, we have the perfect chemistry and know exactly what we want to do with Accept. It was just meant to happen.”

The first tour for the new Accept was a big success, surprising many, including some cities that did not take a chance on them first time around. This time the tour is expanded including many places that Accept has not played in for nearly 20 years!

“We really want to re-establish the band for the fans. Canada is a perfect example. We haven’t been here in over 20 years. The initial step is always the same, show our faces, deliver a quality show, and getting everybody excited about the band.”

By the way, they did that and more at the Toronto show, playing new songs and classics, delivering great attitude & obvious enjoyment. The audience picked up on this positive energy, with the guys earning the respect of all who attended!

“A lot of people miss this old school of metal, as there are not too many of us left,” says Hoffmann. “Scorpions and Judas Priest are doing their last tours, and we’re just getting warmed up. We love to do this, and if ever there was a time, let’s do it now. This is our passion and what we live for.”

The comeback of Accept is an undeniable success, which begs the obvious question, What’s Next? Without hesitation Wolf offers up these comments.

“Album number two will start to happen in the second half of 2011. I mean, here I am again, announcing that the album will happen and we don’t have a shred of music written. (sounds familiar!) As soon as this tour is over in July, we will have to force ourselves to quite touring. Otherwise we’ll never get an album out (laughs). I can’t write on the road, so we need to shut this machinery down, lock ourselves into a room for weeks on end, and then the magic happens. After the album, we’ll be on the road again next year.”

We can hardly wait! Until then be sure to catch Accept on tour, and if you haven’t done so, grab the new album.

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.