Jay Nanda of the San Antonio Metal Music Examiner recently conducted an interview with guitarist Wolf Hoffmann of reformed heavy metal legends ACCEPT. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: How would you categorize ACCEPT's return: comeback, rebirth, or rejuvenation?
Wolf: Well, a little bit of all of the above, really. It's definitely a new chapter because we're coming back with a new lineup, and it's a rebirth in a way. At the same time, Peter [Baltes, bass] and myself, we've been with ACCEPT for 35 years.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: I saw you and Mark [Tornillo, vocals] on "That Metal Show" explaining how you began working together. But for those who don't know, can you recount how it came about?
Wolf: Yeah, sure, no problem. It all started in May 2009. We basically just ran into Mark by pure accident. We were doing a jam session one day near Peter's hometown, and somebody suggested to invite Mark as a singer for a day for fun. We did, and when we heard him sing, it was incredible. A light bulb went off. Udo [Dirkschneider, former ACCEPT singer] was not available and may never be again, according to him. You know, some people may be ticked off that it's not the original guy, but what choice do we have? In some ways, he's reminiscent of Udo but has his own style.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: I was going to say that in listening to the new album, it seems you struck the right balance with Mark. He has history and his own sound, but he can also sound like Udo, particularly when reaching high notes. Would you agree with that?
Wolf: Absolutely. And overall, personality-wise, I gotta tell you, when you really think about all this stuff and analyzing it, he's the right age and the right type of guy. If we had met some 22-year-old kid with a similar voice, I don't know if that would have been the right thing.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: And this all came after you reached out to Udo first, right?
Wolf: Udo, we've been in negotiations with him for weeks, months, and he said he's not interested. We weren't actively looking for anyone new. We were just running off steam and ran into Mark. We didn't even hold any auditions.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: What are your impressions of "Blood of the Nations", and how was it getting back into the recording process after 15 years, particularly with a new singer?
Wolf: Yeah, well first of all, it was great to be back at it again. Peter and I have a lot of energy stored in us, and we had no trouble writing songs, that's for sure. We sat down and came out with ideas. It was great to work with Mark in the studio. It was the first time really that we could work with a singer in the studio that was open-minded to a lot of ideas rather than being set in a certain way. It was really refreshing. A lot different from Udo.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: Over the years, was there a competition or friendly rivalry in Germany with the SCORPIONS?
Wolf: You betcha (laughs). Well, I never really had it as a competition because they've always been way more successful as far as records and sales goes. But on an influential level, I think ACCEPT reached a remarkable level as well. "Restless and Wild" and "Balls to the Wall" influenced a lot of people, and it's still reaching a lot of people to this day. I think the album "Restless and Wild" was the stepping stone for us to get some attention worldwide, especially underground. But then the breakthrough was "Balls to the Wall", with the catchy phrase and the riff. It was an instant metal anthem and still is to this day. It's being used in movies and video games.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: Are you happy with the way Mark is sounding on the older songs?
Wolf: Oh, more than happy. I think it's better than ever. Well, you can't say it's better than the original, but he's doing the best job anybody could ever do on covering this older material.
Read the entire interview from San Antonio Metal Music Examiner.