BraveWords Interview: ACCEPT – Screaming For A Wolf Bite

By Carl Begai

In 2010, German metal legends Accept ended a 14 year hiatus with Blood Of The Nations, an album that went over a storm in spite of the band doing the unthinkable (again) by replacing original vocalist Udo Dirkschneider. News that former T.T. Quick singer Mark Tornillo was fronting the band created a nasty buzz amongst Accept diehards, many of whom regarded the Eat The Heat record from 1989 a monumental bomb due to the addition of David Reece in place of Accept’s iconic original singer. Blood Of The Nations was anything but a failure, however, silencing the naysayers with band’s strongest record since 1993’s Objection Overruled and serving as a launchpad for a decade of metal mayhem. Too Mean To Die is Accept’s latest offering five albums in from their comeback, and it’s fair to say anyone who has stuck around since then or was weaned on the Restless And Wild, Balls To The Wall and Metal Heart albums will find it delivers the expected goods.

Asked if it registers that a decade has indeed passed since the Blood Of The Nations comeback, guitarist Wolf Hoffmann says “it sounds like a long time, but really, it goes by so quickly. But, sometimes I’m amazed at how much we’ve done in the last 10 years. Five albums, I made a solo album, we made a live album, we’ve toured all over the world. Yeah, we’ve done a lot (laughs).”

One of Accept’s last road trips before getting to work on Too Mean To Die was 2019’s Symphonic Terror Tour through Europe with the Orchestra Of Death. It was an important tour for several reasons and in truth was meant to be a Wolf Hoffmann solo tour. It simply grew to become an entirely different animal during the planning stages.

“That tour was really a lot of fun” says Hoffmann. “I have to say it’s one of the best tours I’ve ever done in my life from a musical and personal standpoint. It was very satisfying. And the funny thing is, yeah, it was supposed to be a Wolf Hoffmann tour; Accept snuck in as an afterthought. Originally I was going to go on tour with my solo project and an orchestra, but then it happened step-by-step that everyone said ‘Well, if you’re going to be on stage you’re going to play ‘Balls To The Wall’, right? You’re going to play ‘Metal Heart’, right?’ And you can’t really do that without a singer, which is how the Accept guys ended up getting involved. It was hard to communicate with the outside saying that it was an Accept show with an orchestra, because I was playing all these instrumentals during the show, but what are you gonna do? I just wanted to play stuff from my solo album (Headbanger’s Symphony) and we wanted to play some Accept stuff, so we did a 50-50 thing.”

“I thought it would be a good change of pace,” he adds, “which is why we had seating at the venues. We thought it would be more of a concert than a metal show where the fans run to the front of the stage and bang their heads. Some people still did that in certain countries at certain venues, but for the most part people just sat down and listened, which was the idea.”

The Symphonic Terror Tour enabled Accept to break in their new bassist, Martin Motnik, the permanent replacement for original four-stringer Peter Baltes. He officially left the band in November 2018, marking the end to his 42 year run with Accept.

“Yeah, and that was also the tour where Uwe (Lulis / guitars) couldn’t be a part of it so we used a stand-in, Phil Shouse. And after the tour we figured he’s so good, he gives so much and he’s a brilliant player, let’s just keep him in the band. Who says we can’t have three guitar players?”

Baltes’ departure came as a shock to Accept fans everywhere, perhaps less so for Hoffmann – the sole remaining original member of Accept – although he admits to being surprised by his long time bandmate simply up and leaving without any real explanation.

“We knew something was up, that something wasn’t quite right. I’ve seen Peter go through many phases in his life in the 40 years that I’ve known him. Sometimes he was very inspired and a great team player, other times he was withdrawn and quiet; he was certainly that towards the end. He wasn’t as involved anymore so it didn’t completely surprise us, but it surprised me that he announced it to the world on Facebook and there seemed to be no way back. He’d made up his mind. I wasn’t angry, we didn’t have a shouting match or anything like that. I was just sad. It was a sad day.”

Hoffmann hasn’t heard from Baltes since his departure. In fact, the only real sign of life in the aftermath was Baltes teaming up with Dirkschneider and former Accept guitarist Stefan Kaufmann for the “Where The Angels Fly” single, released in September 2020 under the Dirkschneider & The Old Gang moniker.

“It’s been quiet,” he says. “It’s weird, and that’s usually the case, which is something I’ve never understood. Anybody who has left the band, I never have any contact with them afterwards. It’s totally strange, isn’t it? If somebody leaves the ship it keeps going and they stay behind, and you lose track of people. That’s a sad thing.”

Read the complete interview here: