BW&BK Interview: ACCEPT – Lessons From The Old School: Class Is Now In Session

By Carl Begai

This interview is testament to the fact that no matter how cutting edge present day technology may be, it’ll never replace old school principles.

Booked for a phone interview in the midst of a European tour, Accept guitarist Wolf Hoffmann dutifully took on the task during a travel day, only to be confronted with a mobile signal that refused to cooperate as the band’s tour bus hurtled down one of Germany’s highways. Thus, two dropped calls later and Hoffmann questioning the wisdom of interviews being scheduled while the band is in transit, he opted not to call back a third time, leaving BW&BK with half an interview and a half-baked story. Fast forward 24 hours to an unplanned and completely unexpected phone call from Hoffmann, settled in his pre-show (and stationary) hotel room, who had chosen to step up of his own free will and finish the job rather than write us off as a digital-age hiccup.

Not that Accept desperately needs the coverage. Hoffmann is certainly happy to have it, but the buzz surrounding the band’s new album, Stalingrad, is as loud and in-you-face as the justified hype their rousing 2010 comeback, Blood Of The Nations.

“I guess we’re just firing on all cylinders at the moment,” muses Hoffmann. “We were away for quite some time, so maybe that recharged out batteries enough to give us the energy to keep going like this, but sometimes I ask myself how we’ve managed to do it again. I don’t know. We just go out and do it.”

Stalingrad marks Accept’s second outing with vocalist Mark Tornillo, who replaced original singer Udo Dirkschneider behind the mic for the reunion when the U.D.O. frontman made it brutally clear he wasn’t interested. Months of touring behind classic and new Blood Of The Nations material quite naturally tightened the bonds of this new Accept incarnation, suggesting the band was much more focused going in to do Stalingrad.

“It wasn’t dramatically different,” Hoffmann says of the creative process. “The only difference was that we were, as you said, a little more in tune with what we were going for. When we made Blood Of The Nations we were fishing a little bit; where does Accept belong in 2010? We weren’t sure if we should go the totally old school way or of we should try to incorporate some newer elements in out sound. But, because everything worked out so well with Blood Of The Nations we kind of decided not to change a winning formula. We just tried to come up with new songs that were as good as the one on Blood Of The Nations. The ideas on Stalingrad are fresh along the same lines, and that was our goal.”

Of course, no Accept release would be complete without a few people waiting for the band to sewer out the way they did forever and a day ago with Eat The Heat and David Reece in 1989.

“Yeah, but people are always afraid,” Hoffmann scoffs. “Last time out they were afraid we couldn’t deliver at all, now they were afraid we couldn’t deliver again… (laughs). Somebody’s always skeptical initially, wondering about the album title and so on, but then they hear the album and everybody’s excited. The end result is always what matters.”

It has to feel good knowing they’ve silenced Accept’s detractors with Stalingrad, one would assume for good. Particularly when you consider Blood Of The Nations bitchslapped the hard core pre-release skeptics into awestruck fanboy worship.

“Oh yeah, man,” he laughs. “I don’t think you could have more skepticism than what we had when we first announced that we were going to reunite. We got hit pretty hard by the wave of naysayers and criticism. I actually had to tune out at one point because I couldn’t stand the comments anymore. I found it pathetic and sad that people would make up their minds about us before they’d even heard anything. I feel vindicated, sure, and we had quite a few people practically making public apologies to us, which was very cool (laughs).”

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