Interview with Wolf Hoffmann
By: Zaid Mousa - 2015-03-06
If any band had to be dubbed as the flag-bearer of the German Heavy Metal scene, they would be undoubtely ACCEPT. This band, which has been since the late 70s releasing high quality albums, has influenced hundreds of bands worldwide and after so much time, they are still enjoying lots of success wherever they play. Our reporter Zaid Mousa had a nice chat with the band's guitarist and founder Wolf Hoffmann, talking about many topics about the band's past, present and future.
1. The legendary band accept doesn’t need any introduction, but let me ask you about the band name, since it’s has been changed from Band X, why Accept?
WOLF: I would say, yes there have been various forms of PRE – ACCEPT including musicians trying to make music, but I would say the first signs of something like a BAND started in '76 and a professional life of ACCEPT started in 1979/80 with all ducks in a row… record deal, management... we started our professional life as full time musicians.
BAND X and everything that was tried in this period…. including musicians who feel obligated to mention their “contribution” being in ACCEPT is nice and we feel honored…. but, let’s say it this way – not every genius showed signs of that, when he was born! I see a trend these days, that musicians want to outpace each other and trace their talent discovery to the tender age of 2.
That may very well be, but I guess it makes more sense to talk about a provable and serious start of a life as full time musician – when things start to get serious. But than – it is a matter of opinions. I do not want to judge if someday, someone will say – it started in the womb of their mothers…. Whom am I to know or judge for that matter.
2. It makes me wonder that you formed the band in 1968 but your first release was in 1979, what took you so long to release your first album?
WOLF: I guess I answered that! But - I wonder myself – what took so long until we had out first # 1 Album (BLIND RAGE) in our life, our greatest success after our return and still going… Why did that not happen, when we did our first album? Can someone please explain? Just kidding…
3. You came up in an era where Metal music was a new matter, why did you choose to be a Heavy Metal band, what did attract you to play this genre?
WOLF: You say it yourself – Heavy Metal music was not discovered then and sure not defined as a category. I would not even say we CHOSE anything. We were young, wild and very, very fascinated by E-Guitars and what can come out of that. Drums… the possibilities of shattering the windows was what drove us. First we thought LOUD is POWER and I am sure we were not the first one who thought that, it was much later that we discovered POWER is something else!
However, this unforgiving genre – was in Germany called “hard as steel” as this came out of the industrial area – like it did in UK and the same areas produced after us a generation who took our torch and ignited the Thrash, Speed... flames
4. When you started the band was it just for fun or did you take it seriously from the beginning and decided to make it as a career?
WOLF: See above… there is a difference between dids dreaming and than getting this dream into reality… when Peter and I joined the band and “evolved” into the driving forces – no matter what has been dreamt about before – the cards fell into the right direction. For a “career” you need so much more than ONLY some friends, who are banging their instruments.
5. Accept band had a lot of changes in its lineup. What is the reason behind that?
WOLF: Not more than other bands, if you check out band histories– it can take a life time until the right circumstances create the right environment. Talent, will, opportunity and life in general are constantly changing. Peter and I are together all OUR musical life and we belong to the very, very few writer and performer duos who are soon 40 years together and therefore nothing will ever change in ACCEPT – even if the participants have changed and may change.
6. How did you make the crossover to the mainstream market especially in a time like the 80's?
WOLF: ACCEPT never really crossed over – Metal just got more accepted by a broader audience and today…today you can say Heavy Metal and sure ACCEPT is there and accepted… that is great for us!
7. What were the major conflicts the band had with David Reece? And was it necessary to halt the band's activity?
WOLF: Many things, but we all moved on ….
8. Metal Heart album, and specifically Metal Heart track, (1999) that year according to what exactly?
WOLF: You have to ask DEAFFY …. but, interesting enough everything she wrote about in those years has come true or… remained the same! When you are young, you think anything longer than a year is an eternity… it was a randomly chosen year 1999… sounds great and the humbling thing is – a thought then became the reality of the world as we know it today.
9. The 80's and the 90's, how different were they to you? Was it growth and refinement? Or was it something entirely different?
WOLF: 80’s… Growth and refinement and youthful innocence to run through the fire… the 90’s have not really been happening for us… I would say for the METAL Community surely "Times of Confusion"!
10. Accept band is one of the legendary bands in the world, can you tell us how do you see Accept band and how do you feel about all this? Tell us your feelings about it.
WOLF: If a band is called “legendary” - a much misused word in the present times – it is a great honor bestowed on you. For me it mans only one thing – I do honor the accolades, but - I sure have to try to assure MYSELF that I am worthy, believe me! And therefore I am relentless towards myself, never giving up to be better THIS TIME than THE LAST TIME!
11. Let us talk about "Stalingrad" album, this album made me think a lot about it actually, you talked about the Russian city (Stalingard) where a lot of Russian and German people died in that city, please can you tell us about this, how did you decide to write about it, and why have you talked about it after many years.
WOLF: It stands for the ultimate catastrophe and we live in a time where we have less catastrophes worldwide than ever in human history and yet, they seem to us unimaginable and as distant as a movie and very shocking…for 5 minutes… and than we switch the TV Channel! It was more like a classic example: truth is what History accepts. We just wanted to give it another option to look at: what if, in the moment of death on the battle field, nothing is like history makes it – no last attempt to kill… only survival is in your breath… just a human being dying and all they want and need is be held by someone. We believe this is happening until today – but people don’t think about that - dying is a lonely business and a battlefield is the most lonely of all places to die! I wish the young people today would think about this a lot more.
12. Let's talk about "Blind Rage", I think this album has a spacious of stories beside the magnificent music in it, let us talk about songs from it which attracted me the most: "Fall of the Empire" and "Dying breed". Can you explain us some of what you were thinking about when you made these tracks?
WOLF: The lyrics help you with that. We – mostly have a very close connection between the feel of a song and the words who should explain that feeling. You know that Mark Tornillo has replaced DEAFFY as a lyricist and we believe, he is pretty clear in his expressions – compared to DEAFFY where she had difficult twists and walked on many bridges to cross over to get her ideas expressed...
13. I think "Blind Rage" got some Oriental music themes, can you tell us how did you manage to make it, and if there are any specific influences?
WOLF: All my life, I felt a strong connection to CLASSICAL MUSIC - where you find oriental influences in many places… there is something magical about it and it comes to me with ease.
14. Now a lot of international bands performed in the Middle East, what kind of future you can imagine for Metal Scene in the Middle East?
WOLF: You see… the world is opening up. I have no idea as I do know very little about the music scene in the Middle East. By definition it seems unimaginable to me - I do not know enough, but you do. Would be interesting to hear that.
15. Do you have any intention to give the Middle East a chance to see you live?
WOLF: Absolutely – but let me say something here: Wherever we go we are facing (hopefully) world citizens who are at that moment our ACCEPT Family. We are so often asked where the differences are – There are none! Some audiences may be wilder than others… but - I see their eyes and their love and total excitement and when we get that from them, we just want to give it back. We can never tell the difference, because for us - there is none.
16. Metal is expanding now with a lot of genres and tons of bands show up every day, tell us what do you think about it? And how you can describe to us the Metal scene in 80’s and nowadays?
WOLF: That is easy – we have million more bands and billions of people who can see and hear them… TODAY, everybody can get known in seconds – that is the difference. Other than that, as always you have to have talent and luck and enthusiasm.
17. Finally, Rock Fest, I have seen your recent post on Facebook regarding Rock Fest… Any surprises? And how do you feel about it, especially with such a great lineup of bands such as Judas Priests, Twisted Sister, W.A.S.P, Helloween, Saxon, Dream Theater and all other legendary bands?
WOLF: Very honored… we have been out with many of them like… Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, Saxon, etc. Great line up in a great country: SPAIN! To be there is so cool and we always enjoy Festivals. Can’t wait! See you there!