WOLF HOFFMANN On Keeping ACCEPT Going: 'I Want To Continue On The Beautiful Run We're On'

April 9, 2024

By David E. Gehlke

The 2018 departure of bassist Peter Baltes left guitarist Wolf Hoffmann as the last original member of ACCEPT. And with former vocalist Udo Dirkschneider since recruiting Baltes to join his U.D.O. namesake outfit, the debate regarding who the "true" ACCEPT is has been turned up a couple of notches. However, such chatter holds little meaning for Hoffmann, who, along with vocalist Mark Tornillo, has effectively steered ACCEPT since their 2009 reformation. ACCEPT's post-Udo era has been consistent, if not workmanlike, with the general consensus that 2010's "Blood Of The Nations" is the best of the bunch, with the rest having their moments, which holds true for the band's latest, "Humanoid".

ACCEPT continues to churn out albums and tour the globe with no end in sight, which is perhaps Hoffmann's point for soldiering on. The band succumbed to grunge in the mid-'90s, had a quick reboot with Dirkschneider in 2005 and was ready to enter the metal retirement bin before Tornillo came aboard, but as the guitarist would tell BLABBERMOUTH.NET, ACCEPT is his life and he's genuinely grateful for the second chance, which is all the more reason to keep going.

Blabbermouth: ACCEPT's lineup has gradually been updated over the last few years with new guys. What do you get out of having newer bandmates who are younger than you?

Wolf: "Energy! It's always good to get guys who are really motivated and eager to make their mark and travel the world. It's always great to get new guys in the band. You can sort of feel the energy—it's amazing, obviously."

Blabbermouth: Do you also find it helpful that you don't have a shared history with a lot of these guys? It's almost like you're starting with a blank slate in some cases.

Wolf: "Yeah, but Mark and Christopher [Williams, drums] have been with us for over ten years. Is that much of a difference whether someone has been in the band for ten or 20 years? Not really. Unless you go all the way and say, 'We started this whole thing as teenagers.' Then there's a different connection because it would be a 'hometown' connection from way back when. Other than that, after a while, you grow together. You get to know each other quite well. It's a camaraderie; it's a bit of a family. I think we're motivated and we get along great. We found the secret—we don't hang out all the time, especially on the road. We need our own personal space. I think that is the secret to us getting along really well. If I imagine we would be traveling together in the same car every day, sharing every meal and that kind of stuff, it might get old. Squabbles might start sooner, but the fact is that during the day, we go our separate ways. Everyone goes to their hotel and watches Netflix and calls their family. When it's time to play the show, it's like, 'Hey, man! How are you doing? It's good to see you.' Then we're really excited to do our thing together."

Blabbermouth: To your point, you were living out of each other's pockets in the '70s and some parts of the '80s. You had no choice, given the touring conditions.

Wolf: "I remember the days when we were 16 and met every day. We rehearsed almost every day. We did a lot of stuff together for the band. We saw each other nonstop. But we had this shared dream of becoming professional musicians. That really bonded us together. We were just teenagers in Germany, all with the same dream, and we thought it was us against the world. [Laughs] We wanted to make our mark in the world. We realized that the kind of music we made in the beginning was so outside of the mainstream. It was almost like we were the outsiders on purpose. There was a bit of rebellion against adulthood and what our parents liked. It really bonded us together in a different way. Now, we're professional musicians. We're all experienced and a bit older. It's a completely different vibe now."

Blabbermouth: You had a good quote recently where you said ACCEPT didn't even know it was playing heavy metal. Maybe some "youthful ignorance" had to help?

Wolf: "We had no idea what would come around the corner. We didn't have any long-term plans. Everything was still in its infancy. Nobody had any ten-year plans, five-year plans or even two-year plans. We said, 'Okay. We're going to make this record and we'll see what happens. We'll play these shows and who knows what will happen after that.' We always wanted to see the world. We wanted to break out of Germany and all that, but we didn't have any idea how to do any of that and how long it would even last. You have to understand that when I started in ACCEPT, the [ROLLING] STONES weren't even 30. [Laughs] There was nobody that you could look up to in their 50s or 60s who was doing rock or metal. Everybody thought, 'This is a young man's game. Someday, in the future, we'll have to do something else.' I never thought I'd be in my 60s making metal. It was unimaginable."

Blabbermouth: We touched upon the new guys in ACCEPT, but do you still see yourself as the gatekeeper of the band when it comes to songwriting? If so, did the other guys contribute to the new album?

Wolf: "Yes, I steer the ship musically and otherwise. Absolutely. But, every time we have a new season of album-making coming up, I invite everybody, 'Hey, guys. It's time to write some songs. What do you have? Go home, do your homework. Put your numbers in the hat.' Some guys never write anything. Some guys will write sometimes. Every album is slightly different. On this album, Uwe [Lulis, guitar] contributed a bunch of ideas, and Martin [Motnik, bass] came up with some lyrics, but the majority of the music was mine, not by my own choice. I'm the one who writes the most. I guess the others don't write that much."

Blabbermouth: Is that okay with you? Do you mind shouldering the load at this stage?

Wolf: "I see it as my job. I do it, but I wish there had been more input from the others. But I don't want to blame everyone. Not everyone is a songwriter. We have great players in the band. It's not everybody's thing."

Blabbermouth: Dave Mustaine [MEGADETH] has said something similar: Someone may be a great musician, but that doesn't make them a songwriter.

Wolf: "That's totally true."

Blabbermouth: I have some doubts about your statement that you can't play anyone else's songs. Is that true?

Wolf: "I can't! I cannot play 'Hey Joe' [Jimi Hendrix]. I can't play anything. I can only play my own stuff and I'll tell you why: Every American musician I know has been in cover bands at one point or another. That was not the case in Germany. When we grew up, ACCEPT was the first band that I ever joined. I joined when I was 16. I never played in any other band. You also didn't have that 'scene' of cover bands in Germany. You didn't. It didn't exist. Every other band that I knew and was friends with, they all played their own songs. I take that back: Very early on, when ACCEPT didn't have enough material, there were a few STONES songs and one from QUEEN we did. At one point, I knew those songs, but I couldn't play them now. No way."

Blabbermouth: Since [ACCEPT manager/lyricist, Hoffmann's ex-wife] Gaby retired, how much of the lyric writing responsibility has Mark assumed?

Wolf: "Mark stepped up quite a bit. Even on the new album, I asked him if he had any written lyrics before the music was written. I really enjoy it nowadays when I have a finished set of lyrics and I can write the music according to the lyrics. We did that on a couple of tracks: 'Man Up' and 'Straight Up Jack'. Those are one hundred percent Mark's lyrical content. To me, that is a lot of fun."

Blabbermouth: Did you work the other way in the past? As in, you'd give Gaby some music and have her come up with the lyrics?

Wolf: "Yeah. Very often, there was a loose idea, or we'd have a few lines in the pre-chorus. We still work that way. I don't want to think too hard about lyrics. I'm not a good lyricist, but at the same time, I need inspiration. I need to know what the song is all about. Is it a happy theme? Are we expressing anger? Is it a sad song? What are we doing here? That influences the music. It gives you a marching order of where you need to go."

Blabbermouth: The song "Ravages Of Time" is sort of autobiographical. Do you feel old? Are you okay with admitting it?

Wolf: "That's the whole thing. I had this little melody that started the song, then I thought, 'This would make a nice melancholic song. What could I write about?' I was thinking: I've been doing this for close to 50 years. I started it when I was 16, but I still feel like I'm 16. I still feel like I'm 16 when I'm onstage. I'm still having the same amount of fun, but at the same time, here I am, 64 years old and sometimes you can't help but think, 'Time is ticking. How much longer can I possibly be doing this?' It's just a bit of an honest reflection of where we are in life. In the past, I might not have been doing honest reflections on life, but these days, we can do it, and fans appreciate it. It's the truth. That always makes for a good story or song."

Blabbermouth: Are you of the mindset that ACCEPT will continue until the wheels fall off?

Wolf: "I think so. Why would you retire from something you like? You usually retire from something you don't like. If you can still do it and people want to hear and see you, why would you retire? Where's the fun in that? To me, music is my everything. ACCEPT has been my life. I can't imagine retirement unless something terrible happens."

Blabbermouth: Would you say you were "forced" to put the band on hold in the '90s? That's also when you took up photography.

Wolf: "Yeah. In a way, I kind of had my early retirement. [Laughs] I know what it feels like to do something else. Doing photography was great. It never felt like it was a job because it was creative, and I got to be artistic, but it never had the same impact or adrenaline rush that you get from being onstage, like when you start a riff, and people recognize your song. Nothing can replace those moments onstage. There's nothing in life that I found even comes close. I have been away from it enough to realize what I have. That's why I'm so happy and humbled to be able to do it. I cherish it. I will tell you what: Nowadays, I value my life and music and what it all means so much more than in the '80s. Back then, we took it for granted. Like I said, you never know what you have until it's gone. I'm very aware of how lucky I am and how lucky we are to be able to do what we love and do it successfully. Not everybody has that. It's hard to find."

Blabbermouth: Did you have those thoughts while being a photographer, like, "Well, this is it. This is what I'll be doing for the rest of my life"?

Wolf: "Yeah, I did. I thought music was over. I thought heavy metal was over. Nobody was interested in ACCEPT anymore. I thought we had a fantastic run in the '80s. The '90s were kind of not so good. Then I thought, 'Alright. Maybe it's time for something else.' Then it all changed about 15 years ago when we met Mark. Since then, I don't ever want to let it go. I want to continue on the beautiful run we're on. We've made six quite consistent albums. There's no end in sight."

Find more on Accept
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).