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
ACCEPT WOLF HOFFMANN INTERVIEW 2014

HARD ROCK INTERVIEWS 2014 - ACCEPT GUITARIST WOLF HOFFMANN

ACCEPT'S WOLF HOFFMANN

TALKS TO THE ROCKPIT

IF YOU HAVEN'T HEARD THE STUNNING NEW ALBUM 'BLIND RAGE' YET THEN YOU NEED TO - IT JUST MIGHT BE ACCEPT'S BEST... WE CAUGHT UP WITH WOLF TO TALK ABOUT THAT, COUNTRY MUSIC, RITCHIE BLACKMORE AND THE IMPENDING FIRST EVER AUSTRALIAN TOUR!

CHECK OUT OUR REVIEW OF 'BLIND RAGE' HERE

Accept back in the day was always a band I enjoyed but since reforming in 2009 they are a band not to be missed - if you want the very best of Metal then it's heading downunder later this year. And if you want to hear what could well be your Metal album of the year then we suggest that you check out 'Blind Rage' - it could just be Accept's best!

Mark: Hi, Wolf thanks for speaking to us today. We love the new album, can’t stop playing it, “Blind Rage” is the perfect title for the music that’s on there. How pleased are you with the new album, now it’s been out a few days? The reception I’ve seen has been great!


Wolf: Yeah, it’s been a while, it was actually recorded some time ago, I still haven’t heard it myself in quite some time! Every time I hear it now, I am very pleased with it, and we are getting fantastic reviews all over the world, and everyone seems to really love it! I think it’s been the best reaction yet, out of all the three new ones, to be honest.


Mark: It must be amazing to be in your position, to be in a band that’s come back from a hiatus, with a new singer, and for the album to be going down so well?


Wolf: Yeah, Man, it’s the story of a lifetime! Who’d have ever thought, I mean, we didn’t! We didn’t know what we were really up against, or what we would be faced with, we just went for it, and left everything up to the fans, and just gave it our best shot, and it’s going amazingly well. I have to say a lot of people call it the comeback of the century, best ever, and I don’t know! It’s certainly very cool!!


Mark: it’s certainly up there!! You’ve got a heavy touring schedule coming up, you’ve got a short jaunt in the US, followed by Europe in September, followed by Japan, and then you finally get to Australia! Which is going to be amazing?


Wolf: How about that, finally, after so many years, a 30 year career, and we’ve never been to Australia! Better late than never!!


Mark: That’s right, and you couldn’t be coming at a better time, as far as we’re concerned. You’ll be here in the early summer, and I’m sure the gigs will be packed out.


Wolf: I think the tickets are going really well, everybody’s quite pleased, so it should be fun then. I understand these are just sort of smaller clubs, never the less; it’s going to be one hell of a show!


Mark: It will, and as you said you have 30 years to make up for, so I guess you may put on a different kind of show to the one you normally put on?


Wolf: We’ll definitely play some more historic stuff, maybe, we’ll see! We’ve just done a show in Wacken, in Germany, where we played a bunch of these old songs, from “Restless and Wild” that we normally don’t play, but that was a lot of fun!


Mark: That was a massive crowd there, I believe, about 100,000.


Wolf: Yeah, it was, and speaking of massive crowds, we played another show in Poland for 700,000 people!!


Mark: That was the Woodstock festival, was it?


Wolf: Yeah, but who’s ever heard of a crowd like that?!! I haven’t ever!

Mark: That’s crazy; it’s almost as many people as live in Australia!! (yes, please don't write in about that one Mark was of course exaggerating!) Does the feeling you get, playing live, change over the years? Or is it still everything it always was, for you?


Wolf: It’s about the same really, going out on tour is just packing up your gear, and driving to a different city every day, never getting enough sleep, struggle to get good food, and so the basic challenges of touring are pretty much the same as they always were. Everything around it has totally changed, the way we make records, and the way we sell records, and market them, has changed dramatically.


Mark: I was thinking this morning when I was waiting for your call that its 35 years since that first album came out! It’s been an incredible journey, with some fantastic albums to get you there. What have been your personal highlights, are there things that have stuck out more than others, or is it just the fact that you’re back and bigger than ever!?


Wolf: Well, that is really the highlight of my career, the whole comeback these last few years, with Mark, has been nothing short of a miracle! We really struggled around the 90’s; we had a great run in the eighties, to me, we almost took it for granted, maybe, because we were so young, and things were progressing nicely, we just thought that was the way it was going to be. It wasn’t until later, and things changed so much, the whole Seattle, Grunge, shit happened, and nobody wanted to hear metal anymore, you look back with nostalgia to the eighties and think, ooh, I guess it was quite good back then! But, now that we’ve been away from the music scene for a while, actually, for a long time, and we come back like this, we are certainly in the peak right now, we are now in the golden age of Accept, and our music career.

Mark: The thing I like about bands like Accept, is that there aren’t just us old guys out there, there are lots of younger people getting in to “real metal” as I call it! When we spoke last time, you’d just released “Blood of the Nations” and you said there are some songs you can be working on forever, and sometimes a riff or a song will just come to you, were there any moments like that on the new album?


Wolf: Yeah, there was one song that was really quick, “Dark Side of my Heart” that was almost written in a few minutes, it just happened, and it never changed after that. Then there was other songs like “Wanna Be Free” that changed, and changed, and massaged until we finally thought it was perfect. There was a whole spectrum of songs, some went through seven or eight revisions, looking back at my hard drives, I can go back through the sessions, and see some major changes, like the whole arrangement, or the chorus or the key, there were lots of changes.


Mark: It’s a fantastic album; I think it’s certainly if not my favourite Accept album, certainly my favourite with Mark on board.


Wolf: Imagine that! I mean, isn’t that amazing, I hear that from more and more fans, where they say this new era of Accept is better than anything they liked from the eighties. That to me, is like the ultimate thing that you could have ever hoped to achieve in a reunion, or comeback like that. Normally you’d be happy if you wrote anything that could compete, remotely, with what you have done earlier! In our case, I think we’re actually starting to surpass our history, with the old stuff.


Mark: It’s always interesting when a band changes its vocalist, there will always be a backlash because of that, but really the strength of the material has taken you through that. I think everyone’s got used to Mark now, and I certainly love his voice.


Wolf: To me, it’s always been, even back in the day, it’s always been as long as I can remember, about the songs, but people don’t always realise that. A lot of times they put a lot of weight on the singer, they automatically presume he writes all the songs, and does everything, just because he’s the face of the band. In our case it’s always been Peter and myself writing all these songs, and now we’ve got another guy singing them, so at least there’s a certain consistency from a song writing aspect.


Mark: Has that process changed over the years? Has it always been you and Peter putting the songs together, and then getting Mark involved?


Wolf: Yeah, the two of us always demo everything out, until it’s pretty much finished, to be honest. Very rarely, or never, ever do we give somebody a riff and say here, sing something on it!! It’s always, this is the song, this is what it’s called, this is the idea for it, here’s the demo vocals so go ahead and do your version of it, and then we’ll see which one is better. So, it’s usually a proper song before it leaves our hands. Which is great, because Mark can just do the demo vocal, and do his version of it, and maybe do something slightly different, and then we’ll discuss it and see what’s better. At least we have something to compare it to.


Mark: Sounds so easy, doesn’t it?


Wolf: Well, in theory, yes, but in reality it’s not as easy as it sounds!

Mark: I think the mark of a good album is when you sit down and can’t pick your favourite track, because there are just so many great songs on there. Are there any particular tracks on there that you’re looking forward to playing live?


Wolf: Yeah, I think something like “Dying Breed” is going to turn in to some sort of metal anthem! I hope, once we start playing that more and more live, but at the end of the day, we’re just going to pick a few and see which ones work best. I think people will want to hear “Final Journey”, “Dark Side of my Heart” I already mentioned will be a good one live. I wonder how those slower songs are going to work, “Fall of the Empire”, we’ll have to see because it’s such a slow tempo, that can be a little problematic. They feel like they’re not going anywhere when you’re full of adrenalin on stage, we’ll see, that song is the equivalent of a ballad on that album.


Mark: Andy Sneap, did a great job on the production of the album, he really manages to capture the sound.


Wolf: Yeah, we have no reason to look at anybody else, we’re totally happy with him, he gives us the sound we’re happy with, so what’s not to like? He’s a super nice guy to work with, so he’s got all the elements we would want from a producer to be honest. We wanted someone who was a team player and that’s what Andy is.


Mark: You’ve been basing yourself out of Nashville for a while now; do you get out and see a lot of music in your “down time”? Or is it something you’re not really interested in?


Wolf: Not really that interested in, usually the only time I ever go out here is when we have visitors, and I’ll show them around a little bit. We go in to a few of the bars and clubs here, there are some incredibly good musicians here, and there are players here, who from a technical aspect would blow everybody out of the water! So that’s always fun to see, and how good they really are!


Mark: We’re not likely to see a country song on the next album then??


Wolf: No!! I hate that shit, to be honest!!


Mark: It must be hard to avoid it over there? But that’s great, that was the answer I was hoping for!!


Wolf: What’s cool about Nashville, is it’s full of music everywhere, all my friends are musicians, engineers, road crew people, bus companies, all that stuff is right here in town, so it’s very cool, if you need anything its right here. It’s perfect for us to live here, and work here.


Mark: One of the things that has always interested me is that you’ve always managed, and you’ve done it on this album as well, to get a little stab of classical music. I just wondered as a guitarist, who’s been your most enduring influence over the years?


Wolf: I don’t really look at anybody else, any more, to be honest. It’s more in your earlier years when you are more influenced. I think I arrived at my style quite some time ago, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to get better at it, I’m just not looking for inspiration that much. If I had to pick a couple of guitarists nowadays that I really admire, it would be Uli Jon Roth, still after all these years, and of the newer guys, probably Joe Bonamassa, I think is a phenomenal player. Earlier on, one of my heroes was always Ritchie Blackmore, but he isn’t really doing much anymore, apart from that horrible, evil stuff, which I don’t think is very good at all!!


Mark: I don’t understand it either, I must admit!! Each to his own, I guess, as long as he’s happy!


Wolf: Yeah, exactly, he’s a fucking hero, he can do whatever, he deserves it, and he’s paid his dues!!

Mark: One of our internet questions was what was it that started you off in the first place, was there a defining moment where you knew you had to be in a rock band?


Wolf: You mean way back when obviously?!! When I was a kid there was a certain aspect of rebellion, I wanted to be not like my parents, I found music to be an escape out of the very well behaved, but boring middle class upbringing that I had. To me that was exciting, and music was the vehicle to do just that, I wanted to be not mainstream, I didn’t want a regular job, I didn’t want to become a lawyer or a dentist or any of that shit, I just wanted to travel the world and be a musician one day! That was my big dream early on.


Mark: And did you ever expect it to last this long?


Wolf: Hell, no!! I thought one day this is going to be over and I’m going to have to get a real job!!


Mark: That is so cool! Thank you for taking the time to speak to us, Wolf; it’s been an absolute pleasure, take care.


Wolf: Thank you, my friend; I hope to see you in Australia, in a couple of months. Bye bye.


Mark: I’ll see you in Sydney in November! Cheers.

 

 

Wolf Hoffmann spoke to Mark Diggins August 2014

 

 

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