The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

INTERVIEW - ACCEPT GUITARIST WOLF HOFFMAN

 

By Shane Pinnegar

 

 

In 1983 there were few albums as relentlessly metal as Accept's "Restless andd Wild". Their first true classic, the album featured the insanely heavy 'Fast as a Shark', and was followed by a succession of great albums - "Balls To The Wall", "Metal Heart" and "Russian Roulette", each one featuring a little more of a classical music influence in Wolf Hoffmann's amazing and incendiary lead guitar playing.

 

Eventually Udo Dirkschnieder resigned from his post as vocalist, and the band recruited American David Reece, but they never again made a classic album, despite some reformation gigs...

 

 

...Until 2010, and "Blood of the Nations". A mighty beast of an album, The Rockpit's Metal Billy said "Welcome back is all we can say - with new vocalist Mark Tornillo ( TT Quick ) adding grunt to the excellent riffing of Wolf Hoffman and the signature Accept chanted backing vocals with stand out tracks 'Beat the Bastards Down' , 'Teutonic Terror' & 'Blood of the Nations ' just to name a few in a very solid return 14 years since the band's last release. With Tornillo's throaty Brian Johnson-like vocals Accept are like a metal version of ACDC in a very good way - a must have for all metal / hard rock fans."

 

["Blood of the Nations" was voted by The Rockpit's regular contributors in our Top 30 albums of the year - check it out here including Wolf's response to this accolade!]

 

When I get the chance to talk to Wolf, I find he is as excited as I am, but for different reasons!

SHANE: G’day Wolf, thanks for taking the time to talk to The Rockpit

 

WOLF: You are so welcomed!!! I am so very excited to be talking to someone from Australia!

SHANE: “Blood Of The Nations” is a great album and a real return to the glory days of the Accept sound – you must be very proud of it?

 

WOLF: We are besides ourselves. Never in a million years could have anybody imagined what is happening to us right now!

SHANE: Can you tell us a little about the process of reforming the band and recording the album?

 

WOLF: I can't tell the story without making a confession: I never really believed in miracles - NOW - I DO! As known, we took an open-end hiatus in July 1996. Peter [Baltes, bass], Gaby [Hoffmann, Wolf's wife and manager of Accept] and I decided that it is time to look back and say, where else could we have gone to under the circumstance. At that time we believed we did what we could [for Accept]. Our songs became larger than we did, we left some historic footprints in the music business and we were still curious - [but] what else can be done! There was not much more to say at that point. We turned to life and did that well. We had our families and I enjoyed a second career as a photographer and Gaby fell in love with her farm.

Peter and I are together since I was 16 - very close - always have been. We frequently had some sessions... just for fun. At the last one we had - Peter was singing 'Balls to the Wall' and - man - even if he is a fantastic vocalist - 'Balls...' he just can't do. So we joked around and someone in the studio recommended a guy he knew. This dude would come around sometimes for a beer or two. He, like most Rockers, knew at least 'Balls to the Wall' and he should even know more than that as he has covered ACCEPT, when he had a band ...a long time ago. Sure, why not - let's have some fun. Miracle # 1 - Mark Tornillo shows up, telling us, he is awful sorry, but he can't sing as he is fighting a bronchitis. Well after a heck of a time talking and drinking a beer or two, he takes off his shirt and wants to sing! Yeah, let's do it ... After 30 seconds Peter and I look at each other - "Do you think, what I think?" He's the best thing since sliced bread... for us! No one could have predicted that, no one could know, that Mark Tornillo changed our lives including his THAT MOMENT!!! A few phone calls later - ACCEPT IS BACK!

 

MIRACLE # 2: Late 90's a friend of mine suggests that we start an ARCHIVE for everything ACCEPT we have. And did we have something ...but all neatly stored in huge trunks in the Horse Barn. When we agreed to give it all to him, he came and I will never forget, we opened the trunk and walked right down memory lane - a lot's of do-you-remember- this and oh's and ah's ... until we came to a very old poster. Our friend shrieked and said this is historic and you have to sign it for a friend of mine, who is your biggest friend ever. He wants to be a producer and would die if I'm sending this to him. Well... I did and that's what I wrote - "To ANDY SNEAP...THE PRODUCER I NEVER WORKED WITH!"

More than a decade later - Andy Sneap is flying from England to Nashville to see us. "If Acccept will ever do another album - I am the producer!" [he said]. I could only say yes and Andy became our very best friend. We did not look for a singer - and MARK TORNILLO SHOWS UP! We did not look for producer - and ANDY SNEAP SHOWS UP! It all happened TO us and not the other way around. Mark Tornillo unlocked us, inspired us and could follow us wherever we wanted to go as song writers and Andy Sneap did set us on the right track. We would be still writing songs, if Andy would not have stopped us and made us focus on what is ESSENTIAL ACCEPT in us. he knows more about Accept than we do...believe me! . I can only repeat myself - we did not dream of that, we did not hope for that and we did not go out and looked for that - it HAPPENED to us.

This is wild news - the universe bringing Accept back together for another album - as Wolf puts it, an ESSENTIAL ACCEPT album! I ask how is Mark fitting into the band, compared to Udo or David Reece?

 

 

WOLF: We have left the past behind us. nothing is like it was than. We live in another sequence of our lives and I have only that to say: We wrote history and everybody who has been part in Accept, an hour, a day, a week or years... should be proud of the accomplishments - and look forward!

14 years between albums is a long time – did everyone have a wealth of material to choose from, and if so can we expect another album relatively quickly?

 

WOLF: One journalist wrote about our live show "ACCEPT IS LIKE A CAGED ANIMAL..... FINALLY SET FREE!!" Nothing could describe our situation better than that. You bet - we can't wait to go back and get another album done. We need Andy and Andy Sneap is now one of the hottest producers of our times... and we need to stop touring for this and since May we have been on the move! 17 countries, from living room size clubs to headlining festivals, sharing a stage with AC/DC, chart entries in every country we played - inlcuding the highest entry in our entire career # 4 in Germany - AFTER 15 YEARS! We had not much time to breathe. January 8th we are leaving for another round - have no idea when this will slow down... But, I guess this is a good problem to have and we love every minute of it!

SHANE: Traditional metal has made a big comeback in recent years – how different, though, is the music business now compared to back in the eighties, with downloading, protools and so on?

 

WOLF: Certain things will never change and true talent, genuine talent with the necessary stamina - will always have a chance. The playing field is wider and for the fans it is easier to stay in touch with their band but more difficult to choose....as there are so many bands out there.

SHANE: Do you get a lot of the older fans coming to your shows now with their kids?

 

WOLF: There is a fan base out there we could not imagine - in smaller clubs we are closer and I guess that's where we get teary eyed, seeing people we know most of our lives. But, what is thrilling is - that the young ones are there as well and boy, do they rock!

SHANE: You’re also a professional photographer – I had a look at your website [www.wolfhoffman.com] and was really taken by how your pictures bring out the character and personality of your subjects.

 

WOLF: Thank you... I am very lucky to have that outlet as well. I love to create - no doubt about it.

SHANE: What style of photography do you enjoy the most personally?

 

WOLF: I started as an Ansel Adams pupil... and now, with all the modern tools we have - I love diversity. Huge shoots for the industry and the smaller ones, where it's the face for instance, which is the focus...

SHANE: You’ve been so influential as a band, pioneering that metal guitar sound with classical music influences – how did that style develop?

 

WOLF: You got me ... it is something what comes from inside. No matter what I play - it's always Wolf Hoffmann. I am unpretentious and totally calculable, I am what I am and since I am not someone who is freaking about technicalities - you get always what I feel NOW...THAT MOMENT!

SHANE: Do you have a sense of the influence you’ve had on the younger generations of guitarists - do you get the respect you think you deserve, both personally and as a band?

 

WOLF: I am hearing this often and no one can feel more honored about that than I am and Peter, Gaby and I are talking about this often - we got it all and YES we do feel respected and if we ever doubted, what we are to our fans - come and see our shows... it is mind boggling and very, very humbling!

SHANE: Is there ever the temptation with Accept to kick back and just tour based on past glories, or do you all still feel the need to fulfil your creative urges and keep making new music?

 

WOLF: Right now we are on fire. We are obsessed with being better every show. Peter and I ended up in a duel where we drive each other to an unknown high - if it would be for us, we could play all night.... Guess, what we learned about ourselves in the past 6 month is more than we knew about each other ever: That we feel better WITH music, than WITHOUT!

SHANE: What are the chances of seeing Accept down in Australia any time soon?

 

WOLF: We are ready and as far as I know.... there is something in the making! We are longing for Australia... BIG TIME!!!

SHANE: What do you hope the future holds for Accept?

 

WOLF: that our devotion and desire to be the best we can - never dies! We are what we are and we do not invent the wheel anew.... we just do what we love to do and what we might do pretty well: Rockin' the stages and writing songs!

SHANE: Is there one piece of music which you wish you could have had a hand in creating?

WOLF: Carmen - Georges Bizet

SHANE: Finally Wolf, for you, what is the meaning of life?

 

WOLF: To be able to look in to your face at the end of the day and say: I did the best I could and never forget that it is the fan who is making this all possible for us! If you follow our career, it should be obvious - we follow OUR principles and nothing else. We live and write music the way can and not the way others want us to. High morals, strong values and an open heart ...is doing it for us!

SHANE: Thanks so much for your time and good luck with the new album & the future!

 

WOLF: Thank you for your time and please come and see us..... hopefully soon!

 

 

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