ACCEPT Guitarist On Response To Reunion CD: A Lot Of Early Naysayers Have Apologized To Us

Peter Atkinson of KNAC.COM recently conducted an interview with guitarist Wolf Hoffmann of reformed heavy metal legends ACCEPT. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

KNAC.COM: Obviously some of your longtime, hardcore fans are still very into in the band?

Hoffmann: I wasn't quite ready personally for how seriously people were going to take it. This whole ACCEPT thing means so much and so many things to so many people, it's amazing how passionate they feel about it. When you read those things online some times, my gosh they kind of fight over this thing as if it was life or death (laughs). "Which record was the best? No, you're an idiot, it was this one."

KNAC.COM: Did you hear a lot of stuff like, "Who is this Mark [Tornillo, vocals] guy? How dare they carry on without Udo [Dirkschneider]?"

Hoffmann: Oh yeah, there was a bunch of that. I would say 99 percent of what we heard early on was "this is never going to work." Everybody said "it didn't work before. They tried it with another singer one other time and it failed miserably." And I was telling myself, just because someone's been married before doesn't mean they shouldn't try again. Maybe the match wasn't right the first time around, but to draw the conclusion that it's never gonna work is a bit far-fetched. But I guess all these naysayers have fallen by the wayside, and a lot of these people have even apologized to us. Publicly, some journalists have made statements on their web sites, "I was so wrong and please forgive me." I guess the proof is in the pudding in the end, when the record is good, it's good.

KNAC.COM: Udo made his feelings known when you did that last batch of reunion shows with him that he wasn't interested in making new music with ACCEPT. But given his long history with the band, did you ever feel the need to get his blessing to move forward with this?

Hoffmann: No, no, no. As you mentioned, we wanted him to be the singer before but of course, he turned us down. So at that point if someone says they are not into it and doesn't want to, we obviously don't need his blessing to move forward. What are we supposed to do? We are musicians and we are in ACCEPT and, heck, if he doesn't want to be the singer, we'll find somebody else. And funny thing is, we didn't really look for anybody, but we did find someone that one day and everything came together so well, so we figured "now or never, this is our chance. We can do anything we want." So that's what we did. To get Udo's blessing, that ain't gonna happen, because he let us know a while ago that he didn't want to be part of it.

KNAC.COM: I know Udo was one of the people early on who said he didn't think the new lineup was gonna work, but he's been pretty quiet about the situation since then?

Hoffmann: And he should be. You cannot decide to not go to a party and then be pissed off if the party is a success without you.

KNAC.COM: You mentioned some of the backlash you got from the song snippet you posted. Have you run into any other bumps in the road along the way?

Hoffmann: No, nothing really. It's really been triumphant so far, honestly. Our first show ever was in New York City, which was quite daring to begin with because it was the debut with our new singer and we knew the eyes of the world would be upon us because it would be on YouTube the next morning, so if we would have screwed up everyone would have known it right away. Nowadays you can't hide (laughs). You can't do any secret gigs anymore in Siberia and get your stuff in order, you have to be ready from day one. So we did and it worked phenomenal. We had a couple shows in Germany opening for AC/DC in front of 80,000 people, that was quite amazing too. Everybody had been super supportive and the fans love it. And that in itself is quite a thing to achieve, with a new singer and all that. It's going so much better than anyone could have hoped for and we're super-pleased.

KNAC.COM: In a live situation, was Mark able to click with you guys right away, or did it take some getting used to after working with Udo for all those years?

Hoffmann: Yeah, totally. We just fall into our place and do our thing. Peter [Baltes, bass] and I have been playing together for like 35 years, we're just joined at the hip. So we fall right back into what we've always been doing onstage and Mark just finds his place and is right there with us. Obviously the longer we stay together the more we're gonna grow together, even onstage, but it's really been super-smooth. And Mark is a professional, he really pulled off the old material like you wouldn't believe, he really nailed it, which is what impresses people the most. You can always tell there are people coming to the shows who at first are skeptics, just like some people were skeptical at first about the whole idea, and they've kinda made up their minds that it's not going to be any good, but they go anyhow to just see it and it doesn't take long to realize how wrong they are. Honestly, after two or three songs everyone's right there with us, fists in the air and they kind of forget the whole Udo thing and "the whole thing is never gonna work" and they just enjoy the music and they get carried away and they love it.

KNAC.COM: The album you did with David Reece, was that a case of trying to do too much all at once that was too different, or just not having the right guy?

Hoffmann: Really, all of that together, and the wrong production, there were a lot of things. That was weird times then. I would say if you look at any band with a long career that's still around, you'll find they made some mediocre albums along the way. We just happened to make an album where we were trying something that didn't work. For crying out loud, that doesn't mean you can't ever learn from it and do better the next time around. It was a time also in the '90s where bands were looking at "where is this whole thing going to go?" Metal was kinda dead for a while, it was really not selling and nobody really wanted to hear it and everybody was looking to Seattle and all the grunge that was all the rage. And at the time all these bands that now are going strong, like IRON MAIDEN or the SCORPIONS or JUDAS PRIEST, they were all struggling and looking for new ways to keep their fans. That's just normal and you live through it and you learn from it and everybody's back on track now.

Read the entire interview from KNAC.COM.

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