While ACCEPT first hit the mainstream rock audience of North America with 1983’s Balls To The Wall, the roots of the German band go back to the late 1960s. Members of ACCEPT played together in Band X and ultimately ACCEPT became a full-time group in 1976. The aforementioned Balls To The Wall was the guys’s fifth full-length album and, prior to that, the quintet helmed classics like “Fast As A Shark” and “Restless And Wild,” which had charted in the U.K., Netherlands and Sweden.
Internationally-charting albums continued for ACCEPT up through the act’s hiatus in 1997. Original lead singer Udo Dirkschneider joined the group for a reunion of the classic ACCEPT lineup in 2005, but exited long before the recording of 2010’s Blood Of The Nations release; Blood was the band’s first album to enter the U.S. Billboard 200 since 1989’s Eat The Heat. 2017 brought the 15th studio album, The Rise Of Chaos, as released via Nuclear Blast. The current lineup -- which includes vocalist Mark Tornillo, guitarists Wolf Hoffmann and Uwe Lulis, bassist Peter Baltes and drummer Christopher Williams -- has been intact and regularly touring since 2015.
In support of The Rise Of Chaos, I had the pleasure of conducting Q&A with Mr. Hoffmann via e-mail. In 2016, Hoffmann released his second solo album, Headbangers Symphony, as recorded in his adopted home of Nashville. More about ACCEPT can be found at www.acceptworldwide.com, while Hoffmann keeps up a site for his photography and other artistic pursuits at www.wolfhoffmann.com.
Dear Fans, ACCEPT will be on the road much of 2018.
Around how many songs were written for your new album, The Rise Of Chaos? Wolf Hoffmann: Quite a few, but Peter and I are working very different... We collect ideas and proceed only with the ones where we get very excited from the get go. Therefore, we do not have a ton of songs and choose from the finished ones. That is why we do not have leftovers!
Do you have a favorite song on the album? Hoffmann: That changes over the time. It really takes some time to decide that.
The Rise Of Chaos is yet another album recorded with Andy Sneap. Many bands like to work with a different producer each album, so what inspires you to keep working with Andy? Hoffmann: Yes, that is one way to go about. We prefer the luxury of knowing someone very well, who shares our view of things. Andy has become more than a producer to us. It is great to have him with us.
For you, is there anything that Accept has not yet accomplished but you are still working towards? Hoffmann: Being better this time than the last -- a never-ending struggle. We have many things we have yet to accomplish, but the way we go after it has fundamentally changed as we have changed. Our views have changed and our experiences have changed, and what our priorities have also changed! There is much in front of us to accomplish.
Are you still working as a photographer? Have you taken any photos related to The Rise Of Chaos? Hoffmann: I do, but less and less. ACCEPT and everything about it, keeps me breathless busy!
2016’s Headbangers Symphony was your second solo album. Do you have plans to make another solo album in the future? Hoffmann: Related to my answer before, this sure is something that is always on my mind and it is pretty much guaranteed that I will do another one. Let’s survive Wacken 2017 first, where I present that for the first time LIVE with a huge orchestra. Lots of answers will present themselves.
I believe you are a resident of Nashville. What inspired you to move there? What do you like most about Nashville? Hoffmann: My first residency in America was in Vermont, besides having a home in Germany. In 1992, we knew already that living in two worlds would not be possible forever as it can be complicated. It has been sheer incidental that we moved to Nashville for good. We never regretted it because it is probably the best music city in the world. Everybody is some kind of “connected” with the industry and by now it has grown into all kinds of genres of all kinds of musicians. We love it and there is no better place regarding talent and everything service. A musician’s paradise. Even Peter Baltes, my brother for the past 40 years, moved to Nashville a few years ago. And our drummer Christopher Williams lives here, and the musicians I used for Headbangers Symphony as well. Pretty fabulous!
Check out “The Rise Of Chaos” by ACCEPT.
When not busy with music, how do you like to spend your free time? Hoffmann: Honestly, it will always be photography. But since 2010, I’ve forgotten how to spell “FREE TIME.” Ask me again in a few years. We are on a roll, obviously…
Headbangers Symphony aside, what was your favorite album of 2016? Hoffmann: Hard to tell. To be honest, I never think that way. There is so much music around and so darn good ones. As I say, hard to tell.
Is there something you wish fans knew more about you? Hoffmann: I guess, they know pretty much about me and you get what you see. I am very down to earth and I am very much aware of life’s facts and I do not believe that artist’s -- famous or not -- are fundamentally-different than others. You live an authentic life or not. And the less authentic and TRUE a life is, the more complicated, unreal and irritating it gets. If you realize that life does not include FOREVER. Simplicity and authenticity, for me, is the rule.
Finally, Wolf, any last words for the kids? Hoffmann: Know who you are, be real and pursue your dream! But not as someone else… Consequently, one has to look hard and long who you are and what you want. Once that is covered, I believe, everything is possible.