Conversation with ACCEPT guitarist Wolf Hoffman
ACCEPT guitarist Wolf Hoffman gave an interview for Ferrum.lt before the concert of ACCEPT in Lithuania.
Hello, how are you Wolf? Our audience is waiting for ACCEPT single show in Baltic States with impatience. How are you feeling when coming to Lithuania first time? What do you know about our heavy metal stage?
How are you? You know, I have to admit – I do not know much about your musical tradition. I assume that your audience is wild and we can not wait to see them the first time ever! I hope we have the chance to give autograph and take pictures with our new fans and the ones we might already have…
I’m fine thanks. And just waiting for your visit! Well, we see a number of metal bands reunions during last decade. What was the main reason of your bands’ return?
There was no REASON… only unbelievable and strange circumstances and let me include in this your question #3, ok?
Sure. If you expected full reunion, i.e. including your famous former singer?
Interested parties tried to bring us back after the 2005 – than planned as a one time festival tour – because it has been so very successful. However, we all had to learn already in 2005 those 15 years apart and Udo having a career of his own with U.D.O. over 20 years - has not brought us closer together. We always lived in different worlds. ACCEPT musicians are very civilized and we have been under strong control of Gaby who does not believe that people cannot solve their problems peacefully. Udo told the truth when he stated, that THERE IS NO CHEMISTRY BETWEEN ME AND ACCEPT and SONGWRITING – which has been always a complete different ball game when we had our third composer – Stefan Kaufmann with us - WOULD BE A CATASTROPHE – again, we can only agree 110%. When Udo made those statements – even we did not know if and how we could write songs again after such a long time. He spoke – understandably – of a huge risk for him. And right so. Therefore it is totally stunning, why anybody in the world would wish him back with us.
However – we do understand that a fan, who loved ACCEPT with Udo is missing that. But, it would help us all, if one would remember, that we decided to part ways in 1987. We – ACCEPT songwriters’ team – Peter, Stefan and I - wrote a complete album for Udo. Gaby came up with this idea – to make Udo the BOSS - he needed to be, she gave him the name U.D.O., we gave him the album ANIMAL HOUSE and amicably made the deal that he is continuing as U.D.O. and we as ACCEPT. If you look at the history of both bands you can see quite a few parallels – we all had problems with new musicians… However – I believe that this is not unusual for creative artists and especially for musicians… THEY CAN’T LIVE WITH EACH OTHER… BUT THEY ALSO CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT EACH OTHER… Udo has a fine band and I am not worried at all that he will keep all his fans and win new ones… with or without us coming back on stage.
Neither Mark Tornillo nor ACCEPT as we are today with Peter Baltes, Herman Frank and Stefan Schwarzmann could imagine that 12 month later – after Udo decided to stay with his band – that we are giving interviews or even have an album produced! There is a lot of confusion out there and unfortunately Udo is not helping to smooth the waves, by saying things like he was stunned, that we could put a LINE-UP TOGETHER IN 2 WEEKS… he forgot maybe that Peter, Herman and Stefan have been – the ACCEPT line up for instance recently… in 2005? And we did not audition for a singer, we have not been looking for one as ACCEPT without Udo seemed a done deal. We run into Mark… long story… during a jam session and neither him nor us have been dreaming or hoping or looking for something beyond a jam session. But let me tell you after 30 sec with him – THAT CHANGED! And when we told Gaby about it – again like countless times – it was she who made it happen! Everything what came after that seemed a miracle to us.
Ok, you have new member in ACCEPT family, to say like Mark Tornillo is the incoming recruit. Were you listening to many vocals prior to the last decision about the frontman? Do you guess Mark is the best person that fully fits to your bands’ conception and sounding?
As I mentioned… no we did not audition for a singer, because we have not been looking for one. We have not and will not look for the best person… whatever that means. He is a guy who makes us feel safe, who is someone we could have known all our life and he inspires us!!!
Did Mark accept to stay with ACCEPT for a longer time or he just has business with TT QUICK?
Mark is thinking like we do… It was the way we came together which makes us all believe that there is more to him than just a short encounter. Mark has been an ACCEPT fan and particular an Udo fan – can you believe that! – and he is trying to honor ACCEPTs originality and is keeping his identity. We came together as 5 individual artists, each of us having a career of our own. And it might be a strange concept for some but we do it out of passion and we did the best we can at this stage in our life. Let’s hope that the fans will catch that and will have fun with our new album!
It sounds so optimistically! Anyway, what could you say to those pessimists who are sure ACCEPT are weaker without typical voice of Udo? And is it possible he will join you in the future?
Well… I guess we should not worry about hypothetical assumptions. Let the fans decide! A career of a band is not only about the singer – it is a combination about songwriting and personalities on and off stage. It all has to be there at the same time. And there are many other factors why a band is going to be successful. You question about Udo coming back to ACCEPT… why would anybody consider this. When you ask something like that, think about the U.D.O. fans who have been dedicated to him for over 20 years – how would you feel, when you always have to fear that your hero is abandoning his band? How do the U.D.O. musicians have to feel? What else can Udo do to assure them, he will stay with them, than saying it over and over again? Only people who are not in a band can ask such a question… no offense intended… but – NO – UDO HAS TO STAY WHERE HE IS HAPPY! We live in different worlds and have not been talking 1 year before 2005 and have not been talking after that… except once. How can I convince the world, that every one of us is happy in his own skin and very satisfied where we are? We hope that Udo will eventually understand this himself, and that we are looking forward to be seeing him and Stefan Kaufmann again one day… and they should be very proud of their success and where they are today!
Your band has a lot of top tracks, for example “I’m a Rebel”, “Breaker”, “Metal Heart”, “Fast as a Shark”, “Balls to the Wall”, “Russian Roulette” etc. Do you expect material from new album should break popularity of old glorious compositions?
Actually ACCEPT has made history and we should all be very honored by that. There is no popularity contest. I am always wondering why Udo is again and again claiming that THIS TIME it is more ACCEPT than ACCEPT… I hope it is more U.D.O. than ACCEPT and none of us should look back, we have to deliver the best we have. History will decide if our music continues to be of value and importance. We have created history already… as you might know we are mentioned as the fathers of speed metal… and heavy metal in general. So, what do we have to proof? What does Udo has to proof? Only one thing: let the music do the talking!!!
Let it talk! How were you feeling when returning to studio after it seems, the whole “age”? Are you absolutely satisfied with the new blood of “Blood of Nations”?
If you mean, how it felt to record again after 15 years? Like yesterday… And – yes, we are very happy with BLOOD OF THE NATIONS. As an artist - at least that is how I feel – you will always think deep down inside… mhmmm… why did I do this and not that. But you would never be able to finish an album if there would not be a time limit.
Definitely, 15 years could seem like the “age”, at least for your fans. OK, your roots are from Germany and this is a country of origin of many great metal acts. Are you mates and partners with members of other bands, particularly those counting three decades of activity like your formation? How could you evaluate modern German metal stage?
No, we are not very much in modern fashion of European (and German) metal stage… It is not that I am ignorant – I have just lived another life, where especially European bands – new ones – are not familiar to me. I am old school and I’m still in JUDAS PRIEST, Ozzy, IRON MAIDEN, METALLICA etc. although we are not close mates with members of those bands as well.
ACCEPT remained loyal to traditional heavy metal. Nowadays majority of other various styles became very popular, including new interest of fans to thrash metal where Germany also provides “constellation” of good bands. What’s your opinion about other metal styles and what kind of that are the closest to your taste?
Again, I can not say much to that. But as in all music genres variations are the blood of the trade. Any music, performed with dedication and passion will touch the audience – it is not so much the style than the performance. I can be swept away from listening to a street band. If they got the groove… I am in.
Well, now I see you are really not ignorant. Let’s return to the point of your forthcoming show in our country. ACCEPT is going to lead one local metal band in Vilnius. If you hear what it is about? If so, what do you think about those young guys?
We are very excited, I guess our promoters did the right choice and we will also ask them to send us a link to their web site. We have heard they have already a buzz going! Good for them! We will be happy to see them on stage.
By the way, I was informed by organizers of this gig that will be the same band which won Lithuanian “Wacken Metal Battle” contest, so guys are going to “Wacken Open Air 2010”. And I succeeded to see ACCEPT in that huge metal festival few years ago. What do you think about this event?
Wacken has matured to one of the greatest and biggest Metal Festivals in the world. We were honored to headline there in 2005. Holger Hubner, THE MAN of Wacken is Gabys’ very dear friend. Success of him and of Thomas Jensen is unprecedented and all I can say is – WACKEN IS A LIFE STYLE… a community and as far I can tell – a cultural manifest of Music Fans who want to have the greatest fun each summer.
Finally, tell please something to your Lithuanian fans. In a name of ACCEPT, in a number of 13 as this last question is marked…
I hope that everybody understands – we are very nervous and like in our youth… we are excited like never before and can’t wait to see you. We will play our butts off.
Feeling almost like on you debut, isn’t it (joke)? Well, thank you for interesting talk. Good luck, and see you in 11 May!
Thank you very much, Birute! Hope to see you too!