In the spirit of LL Cool J, German thrash lords Accept reunited in 2009 after an almost thirteen-year hiatus following their breakup in 1997. Though the band’s origins date all the way back to 1968, it wasn’t until 1976 when guitarist Wolf Hoffmann and bassist Peter Baltes joined vocalist Udo Dirkschneider that Accept became the battering ram of thrash and power metal that would influence generations of metal to come. With former TT Quick vocalist Mark Tornillo replacing Dirkschneider, Accept embarked on what’s revealed itself to be a comeback for a band that’s less interested in riding the gravy train of past success and more hellbent on the creation of new riffs for an entirely new generation of listeners as well as older fans who’ve been there since the beginning. Their upcoming full-length, Blind Rage, will be Accept’s third since reforming and gives every indication that age and time mean precisely dick when it comes to the riff. I recently talked to Hoffmann about the band’s history and why he’s glad heavy metal is more relaxed and chill now.
Noisey: Blind Rage will be Accept’s fourteenth full-length, Wolf. Just looking at the band’s history and career, have you seen the way you guys approach making music change very much since that 1979 LP, or is it still a matter of drawing from that original creative catalyst for Accept?
Wolf Hoffmann: Yeah, good question. I’ve never really thought about that, to be honest. We just go about our business the best we can, and sometimes I wonder where it’s really coming from, all that creativity. Sometimes I don’t even wanna think about it. I’m just glad it’s still there, you know? Every time we go to make a new record, we sorta have to do the same procedure which is get serious, lock ourselves away into a room somewhere, and get to work. Other than that, we’ll never come up with any song. It’s not like we wake up one day, and they’re finished in our heads. I never have any middle-of-the-night inspiration that just sorta comes flying my way. It’s just something that you have to tell yourself: “Well, if we wanna have a new record out next spring or something, we better start writing stuff now,” because counting backwards we’ve gotta get it done by such-and-such date, and that’s when the pressure starts building and you think to yourself, “Oh shit, we better start working on some ideas here.” [Laughs] It always happens. I don’t know how. Usually if you just try hard enough, something will take shape and then the songs start appearing before your eyes before you know it.
That simplicity is something that’s benefited you guys for years now, and that longevity is something that’s a bit of a rarity in any genre, much less heavy music. What was it that initially brought you guys together in the beginning, and in your mind what’s kept that drive to create and continue intact?
When Peter and I got to know each other which is by now 35 plus years ago, we were just pretty much kids, teenagers in the same village or hometown. We just loved making music, and that same love is still there. When he and I get together for these songwriting sessions, that mutual understanding and that love for jamming, that’s still the same, and that’s never gone away. I don’t think that ever will go away. As long as that is there, we can keep this going. As soon as you say to yourself or feel maybe where it becomes a routine or a chore or “Oh god, we have to,” and it’s no longer fun, then I think it’ll all go downhill from there. That to say it’s a magic time in the studio with the songwriting process when you start with just a basic riff, and at the end of the day you look back and you’ve created a song that maybe will stand the test of time. It’s just a miracle. But also, one should never forget at the end of the day it’s also a lot of work. You have to put in the hours. It just doesn’t come by itself. It just doesn’t work that way, and that’s something that you can easily forget sometimes. It just takes time and practice and hopefully after you’ve done it for so long, you get better at it. And really the magic or the miracle is can you differentiate between a crappy idea and a good idea early on, because so many of us get sucked into believing it’s just magic automatically, but it’s not. Only a small percentage of what we write will ever see the light of day. The rest just has to be tossed aside for good reason.