Journalist Janne Vuorela conducted an interview with guitarist Wolf Hoffmann of veteran German/American metallers ACCEPT prior to the band’s January 17 concert at Huxleys Neue Welt in Berlin, Germany. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On how ACCEPT chooses songs for their concert setlists this late into their career:
Wolf: “I think we play more new songs than you might expect. Some bands just pick one or two new songs off their current album then focus on all the old stuff. In our case, we’ll play five new songs tonight and a lot of the material from the last four albums with [vocalist] Mark Tornillo. So, the ‘new era,’ if I can call it that and about 40 or 50 percent of older stuff. It’s really a pretty good balance from what people have told me. They will be pleased.”
On the differences in playing live from when ACCEPT started out in the mid-’70s compared to today:
Wolf: “The music business has changed dramatically. Everything around how we make records, how we sell records, if we sell records at all, that whole thing has changed completely. But, really the live part of the whole thing has not really changed that much. We have different equipment and all that, but really, the basic principle is still you got a venue full of people, you get out there, you play them your songs, you bring the lights and you bring the sound. It really hasn’t changed that much. It’s shockingly similar to what we did 40 years ago. I came to the band in ’76, so it’s still a damn long time. But, really, that part hasn’t changed that much.”
On how he would describe the band’s 2017 studio album “The Rise Of Chaos”:
Wolf: “It’s probably another classic ACCEPT album. I don’t think it’s any different from the previous three that we’ve done and it wasn’t supposed to be any different. It was supposed to be better than ever. A lot of times when we go into the studio, that’s our goal: We want to make songs that feel familiar but are new. They should be totally in the tradition of what we’ve been doing all these years. They should feel and sound like it was something that we could have written all these years ago but never did. That sounds like a very simple concept, by the way, but it’s not that easy to really pull off. That’s why sometimes you have to throw a lot of songs away and start again. Songwriting doesn’t get easier with the more albums you’ve done. A lot of people would probably say the same after you’ve done so many albums, released so many songs, you have to challenge yourself to come up with something that you can still follow-up with all that stuff. It doesn’t get easier with time, but I think we pulled it off quite well.”
On the length of ACCEPT‘s career, including the band’s first incarnation as BAND X, which formed in 1968:
Wolf: “I personally came to the band in 1976, which I said. The early beginnings of ACCEPT are shrouded in mystery a little bit. According to who you ask, you get all sorts of different answers and nobody quite knows because there wasn’t an official entry in somebody’s logbook or anything, so who knows how long the band really has been under that name because it changed names. One day it was called ACCEPT and a few years later, maybe two or three years later, I came into the picture and shortly after, Peter [Baltes, bass]. All I know is that Peter and myself we’ve been continuously in this band all these years and never left. I go with 40 years for me. Anything else, I’m not responsible for. [Laughs]”
On having such a successful career for over 40 years:
Wolf: “I think it’s quite rare, but then again, it’s not that rare. There’s quite a few bands who stuck it out as long as we have or in some cases, even longer. Gosh, look at the SCORPIONS, they’ve been doing it for even longer than we have. As long as they’re going as strong as they are, we can’t complain or we can’t even think about stopping at any point, especially after we had this long break in between. I feel like it hasn’t really been that long, to be honest. To me, it feels like this last ten years have been nonstop back-to-back album and touring. I can’t believe it’s been 40 years that Peter and I first met and started making music together. It’s unbelievable. In retrospect, anything seems easy and short, then it’s gone. I don’t know…it’s weird. Looking back is always strange.”
On whether there are any facts about their classic 1983 “Balls To The Wall” album that no one knows:
Wolf: “I don’t think there’s anything nobody knows yet, but a little-known fact is the fact is I wasn’t legally allowed to even sign the record deal because I was actually in what you would call civil service in Germany. Instead of the military service, in those days, it was mandatory, a draft, so you had to do military, which I didn’t want to do because it meant I would have to cut my hair, which, believe it or not, was a big deal in those days. That was the last thing you wanted to do. So, I opted to do the civil service which meant working at a hospital for two years. I went during the day, I went to my hospital, worked there as sort of an assistant to do EG brainwaves, so it was kind of an okay job, but it wasn’t really like emptying bedpans or anything nasty like that. It was okay, it was a good job. But, still, I had to be there every day and at night, I was recording ‘Balls To The Wall’ and do all my guitars when the other guys were already drinking and at the bar. They recorded their parts during the day and I recorded my parts at night, but I wasn’t allowed to tell anybody because we were signing our big-ass worldwide record deal with CBS/Sony in those days. Of course, they wouldn’t sign a band with a guitarist who’s not available for touring and all this kind of stuff, but luckily it was only a few more months until that thing ran out and everything worked out in the end. It was hush-hush. It was cool.”
“The Rise Of Chaos” was released last August via Nuclear Blast. The cover artwork for the disc was created by the Hungarian artist Gyula Havancsák.