Phil Freeman of MSN's metal music section Headbang recently conducted an interview with guitarist Wolf Hoffmann of reformed heavy metal legends ACCEPT. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.Headbang: So, the new record. People expect a certain vocal style from ACCEPT — how much did Mark [Tornillo] have to change in order to fit into the mold created by Udo [Dirkschneider]? Wolf: Not at all. I mean, when we met him he just opened his mouth and started singing, and that's the way he sings. And we were blown away by how much it reminds you of Udo, but at the same time how much of his own character he brings to it, too. He doesn't sound like he's imitating or whatever; that's the way he sounds, and we felt it was a perfect fit.
Headbang: He's not some 19-year-old, either, which is good; he's been around a while. Wolf: Absolutely. He's an experienced singer, like you said. He's done it all, which helps. I don't think a 22-year-old kid would be possible for us. Even theoretically, if he was a kid but sounded like Mark or something, I don't think we would have considered it, honestly, because that's just not who we are, and it needs to all fit.
Headbang: Are you still in touch with Udo, are you guys friends? Have you heard what, if anything, he thinks about the new record? Wolf: Basically now we have no relationship whatsoever. Invariably we run into each other sometimes, but we're not enemies, don't dislike each other, we just have separate lives, I'd say.
Headbang: So you didn't send him a copy of the record or anything like that? Wolf: Ask for his blessing?
Headbang: No, no, but just filling him in, like, "Here's what we're doing." Wolf: He knows, he knows exactly what's going on. It's all good, we just have basically separate lives, and I wish him all the best. I think he should continue to do his own stuff, 'cause that's what he chooses to do. Because we asked him initially if he wanted to be part of this, 'cause obviously he was the main singer for ACCEPT for all these years, even though he's been out of the band a lot of times when people didn't even realize that, so obviously we wanted him back. And he turned us down, so at this point we're moving forward and doing our thing and we wish him all the best with his.
Headbang: The last time you split with him it only lasted one album — why did that happen, and what brought him back for "Objection Overruled" and the 1990s albums? Wolf: He left the band to do his own solo career and we wanted to at the same time move ACCEPT in a slightly different direction with a guy called David Reece, for this record "Eat the Heat". That in retrospect didn't work — there's a million reasons why that didn't work, but the fact is it didn't work between David Reece and the rest of the band, [so] we just tried it again with Udo and did three more records with him in the '90s and the longer hiatus started in '96.
Headbang: Some of the songs on this album really fit with your classic sound, but others are very different — how much are you concerned with preserving links to the past, and how much with moving forward? Wolf: We weren't really trying to move anywhere with this album. We were just trying to give the fans pretty much a typical old-school ACCEPT metal record like it could have been written in the '80s. We just wanted to have a continuation of the good old days with a modern sound. Most people who've heard the record would probably agree that it's exactly what they want to hear from us, and we still love to give it to them. So we didn't really try to reinvent the wheel or anything, we just wanted to do like we'd always done back then and come up with fresh ideas. More of it, basically.
"Metal Heart" (live in Madrid):