Wolf Hoffman, ACCEPT – Interview

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Accept are legends in the metal world and are hailed as one of the greatest heavy metal bands to ever exist. The band has been around since the late 60’s, is 14 albums old, been through a couple of hiatuses and a number of line-up changes but nothing has phased these German metallers and they consolidated their reputation this year with the release of their latest album ‘Blind Rage’. Wall of Sound had the opportunity to chat with none other than the brilliant Wolf Hoffman, guitarist of Accept and one of the founding members of the band.
On asking Wolf how things were progressing for the band with the new album his response was all pride and excitement! ” We are absolutely on a roll right now. And having our most successful album in our career – it is mind boggling and fantastic!  This  is the first time, that we entered the charts so high  in so many countries  AND especially  the Sales Charts @ # 1 in Germany and Finland, to where we are right now – selling out shows and doing endless  interviews!”
Blind Rage is an absolutely insane album with a massive sound that is typically Accept. Wolf shared his thoughts on what inspired the release and composition of this album. “Since 2010 I have an all time high. After a 15 year break  – where I did only one album, my big love is classical music, working on  my Interpretation of classic music – I pursued another career and became a photographer.  It seems to me, that unknowingly I might have been bottled up. Our accidentally encounter with Mark Tornillo set me free,no doubt about it. I always believed, that the creative  environment and the dynamics of unrestricted and unafraid songwriting – taking risks and most of all – challenging yourself, is what brings unexpected results! Especially my dynamics with Peter Baltes – we are joint  at the hips since we were 16 years old – and it is coming to  a full bloom right now. We don’t even have to look at each other to know, to feel and to play what is defining  the song we are working on.”
After working with them on the masterpieces like ‘Blood of the Nations’ and ‘Stalingrad’, Accept brought in the mastery  of the legendary Andy Sneap, who worked his magic  once again. “It was easier than ever to be working with him again – he knows when to step back and let us do what we want  and to step in, when we need him. We are evolving together and therefore my role has changed and so did his. We lose more and more insecurities with each other and that is a good thing for an artist. I can fly high and he makes sure, that we do not leave the ground So far it’s all worked well, really well between us!”
 Going further into the album, Wolf shared his thoughts on the composition of ‘Blind Rage’, namely the lyrics and how Mark played a crucial role in the whole thing. “Mark is  opening up  to the Accept sphere; he has a wonderful way with words! We had Deaffy (Accept’s manager and his wife for 25+ years)  as our long time lyricist. She  still is involved in everything – as everybody knows –  and here  you can see, she and Mark are growing towards each other! A fascinating process! We never met Mark before 2009/10 and did  practically knew nothing about him – not his age, not his career, not his life; nothing! We just knew, that he had a band called TTQICK…way back then! We melted on the spot, when he joined us for a fun jam session. There was no plan from either side to go anywhere with that when we started but wanting to conquer the world with him. That was the miracle that happened to us  and we are riding on that wave until today! The composition process never changed; it’s been the same since Peter and  I got together as teenagers. Except in the beginning there was our drummer Stefan Kaufmann and than later Deaffy – we were the ones and today it is Peter and me who are doing it all. But it would not be what it is without Mark’s voice and lyrics topping it off!”
 Wolf also gave me some insight into the meaning behind the awesome album cover – this is interesting! “What do you think? Does  Blind Rage make you think?  ? Or Not? We reflect the situation, that wherever we go – we see the results of decisions made in Blind Rage. That it is a serious state of the world with very serious consequences. To lighten it up but still make a point, Gaby worked with Daniel Goldsworthy from UK. He is a painter and he understood what she wanted to say. We pretty much see – where that will lead us to. Whether or not we are  identifying the problems and reacting. We need to stop the beast of impulsive reactions, which want’s to flatten everything.  But then, we are just musicians who want to rock the world, hence the fantasy image. That should explain it.”
Getting to the fun part of the interview, we talked guitars, specifically about Wolf’s signature guitar manufactured by German legends, Framus. What’s better than talking about guitars with the Master himself! So what was the main guitar you used on this record? “My one and only signature guitar the Flying Fortress is amazing. I am  a  difficult customer when it comes to guitars and I have kept my independence pretty much until I met Hans Peter Wilfer.  Every year in Nashville – were I have lived since the early 90’s – there’s a small NAMM show and every year friends of mine are part of the exhibition and –  a German get-together at our house  is mandatory. I will never forget the day we enjoyed at our pool and talked guitars and I said, ‘Funny – I never really got a guitar the way I wanted it‘.  And he (Wilfer) said ‘Well, I will build you one! Exactly how YOU want it!’  I guess –  it was more small talk than anything – but one day, when we  put Accept back together again – he said …it was time to tell him what I want. Long story short, from the day I got the guitar from him – I never let her out of my hands. My Flying Fortress  is MY signature guitar; I am in love with her and – very unusual  that is how I  recorded the album. For Live Gigs I have another one  – a red  Blind Rage which I am using as well and I have to say – I am loving it! But like all my other dreams which came true – this is it! You won’t see me without her!”

 The band has seen a number of line-up changes over the years since they first started out. Wolf shared his thoughts on whether this has had an impact on the overall dynamic and sound of the band. “Nothing has ever changed in the  way we write, record and perform. Peter and I are the essence of Accept’s music and now with a strong addition – MARK TORNILLO! I guess, when you are starting in a Band, it is ‘us against the world’ and it is easy to see, that once the boys become men – the dynamics are changing and the more successful you become the bigger the powers which pull everybody in different directions. There are many reasons why musicians  who  get “married” when they are practically  still children can not and will not  – in most cases – last. And –   in the beginning a musician has to search for his identity!  How that identity looks like, can hardly be predicted in the beginning!  Some find it earlier, some later and some never! And than – the boys grow up (some) and they get married and have families and than you are not talking to a single individual no more – you are talking to a family of individuals. I never understood – why people have such a hard time to understand that. Is it more important to ACT as  a  ” family” – Band and   therefore  put themselves in a cage or is it more important to free the artist of all that and let him go where he can reach his zenith, his  pinnacle, his identity! Nothing has necessarily anything to do with character! IT’S JUST LIFE and we all want to reach the top! When we came back in 2010 – we could not even imagine what would happen, so Peter and I were looking for musicians we knew, musicians who came when we need them, but stay independent and free to do what they want. It worked for us and we are happy to see that this freedom has worked for us. We are what we say – supporting everybody who has ASPIRATIONS! I believe that is the only way in our age to stay happy and true to yourself.”

 

 This is going to be Accept’s very first time touring Australia in their, over 30 decades of existence! Wolf had this to say as well as a message to their fans before the German metallers hit our country in November! – “Mostly it is a question of timing – you are not exactly around the corner …. when we stopped in 1996 not many bands toured in your great country!  Today – we have the ideal routing –  that is why and  – of course the wonderful people who are booking us there and Nuclear Blast our record label, they all helped. As for our fans, we cant wait to see you! Let’s make this an unforgettable  tour – our first in Australia! Together with you – we will bring the house down!”

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