MARK TAYLOR'S INTERVIEW WITH WOLF HOFFMANN FROM ACCEPT
Hardly any other band has influenced the Heavy Metal genre as much as Accept. The history of Accept is even more unique: there are no drug scandals, no alcohol problems, no sexcapades, nothing for the boulevard press to write about – their personal history is as clean as the water from the mountains.
The music stands alone and for itself. An Accept concert is a storm of Heavy Metal that lasts for hours, the real force of Rock’n’Roll, where the art of the music is the only thing that counts.
MetalTalk’s Mark Taylor caught up with founding lead guitarist Wolf Hoffmann prior to the band’s return to the UK for an exclusive gig in December.
Hi Wolf, Accept are returning to the Forum, London on December 7th, almost a year to the date you last performed there. This time UK fans will see two new faces in the line up with guitarist Uwe Lulis and drummer Christopher Williams. How have they settled in Accept and what have they brought to the band?
Hi, Mark – nice to meet you!!! As you might know, Accept have had a pretty solid formula for nearly 40 years. For us it is important that they understand the dynamics and the fabric of Accept. We always understood us as more than just musicians who are performing together. We are kind of a way of life, where Peter and I don’t have a big difference between our expectations towards ourselves. It does not begin on stage and it does not end there.
We have been aware very early on that if we are not going the right way, that no matter what – as long as the visuals are fine - everything is fine – it might become harder to keep it all together for a long time. This is a different philosophy which, over the decades became our way of life on and off stage. If it is not about the musicians and more about the art of the song, the art of performing and living AND your strife for excellence – the performers are as individuals not as important as the whole presentation.
Peter and I have been the constant and reliable combination since we were 6 years old. We have a bond and an understanding that we share something larger than our short comings and our insecurities in life... As long as the new guys understand that – we will be fine!
Uwe is an interesting story as he has been my guitar tec for some years and it was by accident that he came into the picture as a guitar player, and a perfect one for me. Christopher is a young dude, very talented... he lives in Nashville – where European Metal is totally unknown and for him it is a great adventure and we will have to see where that goes. So far we are energized and have a lot of fun and the fans love them!
For the London show you have special guests Hell supporting who feature the producer of your last three albums Andy Sneap on guitar. You have toured together before, but have you managed to see Hell perform yet? They put on a spectacular visualising show.
Of course and we support Andy Sneap and his band where ever we can. He is much more than just a producer. It is his openness, his understanding of how we work, how we think and where we want to go that makes him special for me. I never had a producer previously where I felt so understood. In the beginning I thought we would like to work with various producers and I still think that can be interesting.
But – everybody knows, how easy it is to stay with someone who makes it so easy for you to like him. Andy is the next generation of Musician/Producer who experience CHANGE not as a threat but the opposite – change is a legitimate part of the journey. This is completely my understanding of creativity. Many people confuse change with absence of loyalty or relationship. I always believed that this is short sighted. I strongly believe that this and his talent as a producer is a huge part in our brotherhood.
The 'Blind Rage' world tour finally ends next year in April for the 'Full Metal Mountain' Festival in Austria in which Accept are headlining. What have been the highlights for you over the past two years on the 'Blind Rage' world tour?
It might sound strange, but the highlight of our existence is burning full force since May 8th 2010, when we entered the stage the very first time in New York after a nearly 15 year absence. Peter and I are in a constant AWE. Did that really happen to us? Performing in front of several 100 000s or in a club – the fans can get us to an unbelievable high and that moment is that highlight of our life. And don’t ask how we feel, when something does not catch on. Devastated... yes, we had these moments too – very, very rare...but every musician who cares about himself and his fans knows the feeling...
The last show of our Blind Rage Tour will be special, as our Accept LIFE has been presenting us with even more surprises than before. Very meaningful and we are happy to share that with the people who made that possible – they know who they are!
Accept perform live all over the world. Are there any new territories where you haven't been that you wish for Accept to explore?
Parts of Asia and Africa for sure. But, we also learned, we are not on a tourist trip to just say we have been there. This is nice, but not so important as for us to go there first, where our long time fans are asking us to come and honestly – you can only tour so much. Right now, we are full of energy and yes – touring will go on and we will see new places.
Since the reformation of Accept in 2009 with Mark Tornillo on vocals, no one could have predicted the success you would have. Three albums in five years and 'Blind Rage' hitting the Number 1 spot in the German national charts. Where were you when you heard the news of 'Blind Rage' topping the charts and what did you do to celebrate?
We got the news on tour and as always – since 2010 we did not believe it... our FIRST # 1 in our Life! We had no words and honestly, I guess it humbled us more than anything! You know it is not OUR #1...it is first of all the hard work of the one who is standing behind us for more than 35 years! It is the work of all the many people who are working for Accept and – the FANS.
Nothing would exist without them. My first thought was – how can we return the favours, how can we make ourselves worth the love and trust of our fans! I know how – by being better, stronger and more critical towards US. We got encouraged to take all the time we need to do just that. And it is already starting! THAT will be a challenge! But, we are looking forward to that!
You've recently been selling some personal gear on the auction site eBay, mostly amps and pedals you've used over your musical career. What made you decide to depart with such belongings ?
It is simpler than you think – there is a limit what you can store and it is time to let go of a few things.
Have you collected Accept memorabilia over the years, like tour passes, tickets, posters, limited edition records etc? Are we likely to see you depart with such memories on eBay in the future?
Some of that, perhaps...
Once the 'Blind Rage' world tour is finished, what are the future plans for both Accept and for yourself? I hear you're working on another classical album.
Accept is our number one business and yes, my love for classical music is known and I am always working on that. I just love to dive into this world, but with the touring and recording I’ve had a hard time finishing something that I want to present. Give me a few more months and I can surprise you... let’s say it this way – I am very excited... Guess, what THAT means
Thank you for your time Wolf. Really looking forward to the show at the Forum, London on December 7th in what promises to be yet another magical night.
I thank YOU for having me! There UK is somewhere where we have not been to enough - not in the past and not in the present. We would like to change that and I have to say, the last show at the Forum was fantastic for us.
The reason we are stopping by is that we want to leave the best impression we can – because WE WANT TO TOUR IN YOUR GREAT COUNTRY in the near future! Hope, to see you there!