A Pioneer Retires — Thank You, Gaby!
A Letter from Fred and Øystein
We have a special announcement. After decades of dedication and hard work for the band, their manager, designer and lyricist Gaby Hoffmann is officially retiring. First of all, don’t worry, my friends — Gaby is fine, as is the band, who will continue to play and record. Gaby is a bit tired after many years of intense activity, and she needs some rest and time for herself. It’s not a farewell. Her heart will still be with us, but she won’t engage in professional activities anymore.
Let’s take this occasion to celebrate her incredible achievements during her career and thank her for everything she has done over the years for the band and for us, the fans. Of course, most of the fans know of her involvement in the band’s undertakings. What many do not realize is how instrumental she has been in the success of the band on many levels, even if she often chose to stay in the shadows. Many people focus on what happens on stage or what’s in the records without always realizing the gigantic amount of work required behind the scenes to make sure performances and albums get done. Sure, we owe it to the band’s exceptional talent and work, but we also owe it to her incredible efforts. Gaby, an incredibly private person, always coached Accept’s career from behind the scenes, but she was never more than a heartbeat away. Her professional work has made her one of the few female managers to be accepted and respected in the scene. She opened the gates of the world for this young German band along with the help and support of her partners in the music business worldwide.
She has such a strength of character and a force of determination. For example, in 2009, when Accept decided to return, there were many labels that could have signed them. But Gaby only wanted one: Nuclear Blast and nobody else. It is fair to say that it was not easy as they actually did not say “yes” right away. But she never gave up and she eventually got it. They gave Accept their first # 1 album and the band became one of the most respected bands’ resurrections in metal history! It was her determination that got them the deal. She does not take “no” for an answer. That’s how Gaby is.
She’s also responsible for many aspects of the trademarks of the band in terms of image, design and album cover. For example, she singled out the iconic double “Flying V” burning guitar image that would become a distinct trademark of the band. It has been used by a photographer in Germany. It had such an impact on the band’s visual identity, and it attracted attention by making them look different from other groups. She deliberately worked out this visual identity and choreography — it’s not something that popped up out of nowhere. Gaby conceptualized it. The Flying Vs and stage choreography were unique.
As we know, she was also involved in the band’s activities as a lyricist under the pen name Deaffy, whose identity would be a mystery and conversation point for a long time. Decades later, in the later 1990s after the band’s separation, she revealed her identity. She kept it secret because she simply wanted the band to get all the attention — not her.
Her involvement as a lyricist definitely changed the band’s direction in that domain. They took a more serious and conscious approach to lyrics that dared to discuss delicate and controversial themes: ethics, human rights, war, discrimination, slavery, environmental issues, sexuality, religion, capital punishment, responsibility, addiction,… She addressed topics in a very unusual way for a heavy metal band. Her touch helped distinguish Accept from other bands who used senseless lyrics. Her contributions introduced a more serious tone and sometimes a more poetic touch to Accept’s character. With Gaby and Accept, heavy metal was more than a brainless action soundtrack — it had depth and reflection. The strong emotions carried by the music had a focus; lyrics dealing with such serious subjects gave the music so much more scope. The lyrics sometimes had controversial overtones, and controversy is always good for promotion. It was a wise move. Her involvement on the lyrical side had countless positive effects.
On the relational level, she had innumerable interactions with the fans. She’s such a nice person. She and the other band members always cared about us. In the ‘80s, the French press, for example, praised her for ensuring that ticket prices were not too expensive. Also even when they were tired, they always had time for us and gave us all sorts of attention. We certainly remember that, and we value the time you gave to us — that sort of thing is not a given in the business. On a personal level, we all have plenty of stories about her and the band; having the chance to hang out with them was nothing less than awesome. Listening to her discuss for hours the history of the band with her humorous stories has been such an incredible privilege.
For all these reasons, we are forever grateful for her devotion and dedication throughout the years. We wish her all the best for the future. All we can say is that we love you, Gaby. Take care of yourself, and enjoy life with your family and friends now that you are no longer under the stress of your tireless work. May every moment of your life be fulfilling and full of joy.
Fred (France) and Øystein (Norway)