Photo: Mark Tucker
You may not know the words of the impending verse—your dad or uncle might, but you should know them too: “Fast as a shark he’ll cut out of the dark. He’s a killer––he’ll rip out your heart. On a one-way track and you’re not coming back, ‘cause the killer’s on the attack!” Lyrics not ringing a bell yet? Okay, let’s get to the big, huge heavy metal anthem. If you don’t know this one, you shouldn’t call yourself a metalhead: “And then you’ll get your balls to the wall, man! Balls to the wall!” It just got heavy metal in here, because we’re talking about the mighty German wrecking crew, Accept, who crashed out a nice gleaming slab of metal last year with their album Blood of the Nations. SLUG had the chance to talk to principle member Wolf Hoffmann, creator of some serious metal guitar riffage, about all things Accept.
SLUG: There are certain words used whenever Accept is mentioned: legendary, classic, forbearers of metal … I could go on. What has been the hardest part of the band’s journey from the ‘80s through today?
Hoffmann: There is and was no hardest part. As an artist and especially in this band, you are just a bystander when it comes to what people label you. Today we understand what Accept has meant much more, and obviously we are very proud to have left footprints in music history, but the fans gave that history to us and by other musicians who honor us. We just wrote and performed the music.
SLUG: With Udo Dirkschneider, the original and most recognizable voice of Accept, absent from the current lineup, things obviously aren’t the same, but the fact is some bands go through many vocalists. What do you say to the folks who say that Accept isn’t Accept without Udo?
Hoffmann: First of all, Udo is hardly ever mentioned anymore and the fans have decided—I do not have more to say. I do not feel offended if someone loved [the previous] formation more than the one we have now, but the undeniable fact is [new vocalist] Mark Tornillo took the audiences worldwide by storm. We have left the past behind us—big time!
SLUG: Ideally, I would like to see Accept in a mighty, balls-out arena stage show, but the venue you are playing in Salt Lake City is a club. Is there a venue while touring within the last couple of years that has been absolutely awful, or is there a gig that stands out amongst the rest?
Hoffmann: There are absolutely awful places and there are wonderful venues. We decided to do it the hard way and go anywhere this time, but here is my take: Any hole is beautiful when the band and the fans are one. Who is thinking about the venue when the sweat is dripping from the ceiling and it [feels like] the show of the century? Of course, we prefer to play in palaces, but we’ve had that and the shows did not take off. [Bad shows] hardly happen today. Actually, I am stunned—we are taking down the roof everywhere! Right now, we are riding high. Come and see yourself! And tear us apart if we suck!!
SLUG: Lastly, I have the utmost respect for the current members of Accept and what you’ve accomplished because the odds for success were really stacked against you. How does it feel to be able to continue playing heavy metal? Hopefully there are no signs of quitting because I can take as many albums as you guys can happily to give the metal world!
Hoffmann: Thank you. As I said, we are on an all-time high and I can hardly believe it—it seems we are getting better and better with every show and the fans are getting crazier and happier as well! Everywhere! We just had a show in Moscow in the coldest winter—it was the hottest show! But one thing I want to say: We are determined to excite the fans —if the thrill is gone, we will be gone. We are all individuals who live a great and exciting life, and the fans who are giving us the honor of coming to see us and who are buying our music deserve to see people who are happy to perform for them. In Accept you will not find an unhappy musician, I guarantee you that. We made that pact and we will stick to it!
Check out Accept at Club Vegas on May 4 with heavy hitting Swedish power metal act, Sabaton, and locals Deny Your Faith, Sonic Prophecy and Epsilon Minus. Advance tickets are available for $25 through 24tix.com.