Metal Asylum recently conducted an interview with guitarist Wolf Hoffmann of reformed heavy metal legends ACCEPT. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Asylum: When ACCEPT reformed in the '90s, the songs on "Objection Overruled", "Death Row" and "Predator" were either hit or miss. Can you explain what was happening at that time and what lead to those albums being inconsistent?
Wolf: We were searching (like a lot of bands), it was a weird time for heavy metal, as you know, and we didn't know what was happening in metal music, if we should adapt slightly, we really didn't know what to do. All throughout the '90s we knew we couldn't keep doing the same old same old because the audiences were dwindling more and more with each album and tour. We tried to expand our style a little bit, and maybe in retrospect they are not great albums... Well, on the whole, they do have some good songs, I think, but nothing that is really strong. There are several songs I'd love to still play today, like "Slaves To Metal", and we may do that soon, but overall those albums were not considered classic ACCEPT.
Metal Asylum: Why were you the only guitar player on those three albums ("Objection Overruled", "Death Row", "Predator")?
Wolf: Because everyone was kind of tired of working on that second guitar player. I mean, I usually get the bad rap [laughs], like I didn't want anybody else, but the truth is really we were always in the studio with the three of us… Peter [Baltes, bass], myself and Stefan Kaufmann [drums] — that is, until he left and was no longer part of the writing team. The core was always drums, bass, and one guitar, and then the second guitarist usually came in for the album and tour, or just the tour. That was always a difficult spot in our band, and then you had to teach the new guy the whole set and how to play the parts right. Everyone just got sick of it, so it was easier just to have one guitar and we had a ball doing it. But, really, if you're really honest, you know that ACCEPT is a two-guitar band, so when we reformed this time we went back to what ACCEPT is really known for.
Metal Asylum: The new songs on "Blood of The Nations" have a fresh and invigorated sound. Was this a result of the break from the band being together, or by the addition of having Mark [Tornillo] singing?
Wolf: Both. And the addition of Andy Sneap as producer because having him on board was all the difference. Mark really is a terrific singer and he brings something to the table Udo [Dirkschneider] didn't have. But having both those guys on the creative team helped to pull these songs in the right direction. Andy picked through the rough material and told us what he'd like to hear more of, things that made our sound our own because he grew up listening to ACCEPT. He was sort of like another member of the band, not just a producer. Of course, he is a world-class producer. He made us look at ourselves and reconnect with the things that made records like "Restless And Wild" and "Balls To The Walls" classics. He also went on and on about "sound German," but I didn't realize there was such a thing in music. [laughs]
Metal Asylum: Who wrote the music and who wrote the lyrics on "Blood of The Nations"?
Wolf: Peter and I wrote all the songs accept for one which was Herman (Frank, guitar), and then Mark wrote all the lyrics. In the past it was always it was always ACCEPT manager Gaby Hauke [a.k.a. Deaffy], who wrote all the lyrics (as most people know by now), but now that we have an American singer it was time he wrote the lyrics.
Metal Asylum: How has the reaction been from the fans and critics to Mark being the new singer in ACCEPT?
Wolf: Oh, man, phenomenally good everywhere, it was triumphant. We've been bracing for anything — he could be the greatest guy to us, but until you actually go out and play live you never know. Luckily for us, it has been great.
Metal Asylum: Are you playing the same setlist every night and if not which songs are getting rotated?
Wolf: Now that we are gonna start this American run in the fall we are doing about 4-5 songs from "Blood Of The Nations" and gonna rotate those to see what works best. And then from our past we are throwing in some obscure songs like "Demon's Night", "Run If You Can", whatever...songs we rarely played in the past because Mark likes to mix up the setlist and not play the same thing every night. Udo was always leery of that. Like the fans have been asking for "Demons Night".
Metal Asylum: What are the plans for ACCEPT for the rest of the year into 2011?
Wolf: A lot of touring. The album has been released already in Germany and it's doing very well so there is a lot of excitement in the air. Let's see how far we can take this. The most important thing is we are having fun and ACCEPT is back where we belong. I think we want to take this as far as we can. We are already thinking about and writing for the next record. We've all missed doing ACCEPT and we realized we missed doing this. Of course we are not 20 years old anymore and not ready to do just anything to be successful, we're not that desperate. [laughs] We are looking to do what makes sense and that's fun. I've been a photographer for many years and that is satisfying to an extent, but it's nothing like standing on a stage in front of thousands of screaming fans singing your songs. There's nothing like it.
Read the entire interview at Metal Asylum.