WOLF HOFFMANN: Why ACCEPT Has Gone Through So Many Lineup Changes
November 20, 2022
In a new interview with the "Sally Steele Rocks! Show", ACCEPT guitarist Wolf Hoffmann was asked why there have been so many personnel changes in the band over the years. "I'm the big bad wolf. I kick people out just when I feel like it," he quipped (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "Well, actually, to be halfway serious for a second, it's just the way it goes sometimes. We started off as teenagers in a sort of garage-type band. And people grow up and they get married, they have different interests, and before you know it, one guy leaves the band and a replacement comes, and then the replacement leaves after a while. It's just the way it goes; it's a natural progression. I wish it wasn't that way. People develop different interests and life changes, so people leave. I'm the only guy who's never left. I'm like the last man standing."
Hoffmann is the sole remaining original member of ACCEPT, which he formed in 1976 in the town of Solingen, Germany with singer Udo Dirkschneider and bassist Peter Baltes.
ACCEPT's latest studio album, "Too Mean To Die", was released in January 2021 via Nuclear Blast. The LP was the group's first without Baltes, who exited ACCEPT in November 2018. He has since been replaced by Martin Motnik. ACCEPT's lineup has also been expanded with the addition of a third guitarist, Philip Shouse, who originally filled in for Uwe Lulis during 2019's "Symphonic Terror" tour, before being asked to join the band permanently.
Six months ago, Hoffmann was asked by Greece's Rock Overdose magazine about Dirkschneider's comment that the band's current lineup is "not ACCEPT" anymore because Wolf is the only remaining original member left. The guitarist responded: "Yeah, yeah. Of course. I know. What else is new? Of course he's gonna say that. What else is he gonna talk about? See, that's the thing — if you constantly talk about something that happened 30 years ago, what does that tell you about your own career? That's all I have to say about that. I always think the proof is in the pudding — make some great music and the rest will sort itself out. And that's all we're trying to do. We're not trying to compete with anybody. We don't have to prove ourselves. We are ACCEPT and we make great albums. That's all I know."
In April, Udo said in an interview with Australia's "Scars And Guitars" podcast that he has had no contact with Wolf in recent years. "And I don't wanna have any contact with him," he added. "I'm really good friends now again with [former ACCEPT bassist] Peter Baltes; he did all the bass guitars on [my new] cover album ['My Way'], for example. I still have a good relationship with [ex-ACCEPT drummer] Stefan Kaufmann. Over the years, he was the guitar player in U.D.O. [and] he was producing U.D.O. and stuff like that. And the only guy I don't wanna talk to — let's say it this way — is Wolf. There's a lot of reasons why. I wish him all the best. [He's] a great guitar player anyway, but for me to work with him again — never."
Last December, Udo told Simfonia Metàl·lica that losing the rights to the ACCEPT name was the biggest mistake he made in his professional career. "This is the only thing I'm really not happy with," he said. "I was creating the name ACCEPT. And then, when we came — let's say in '80, '81, we had to sign a lot of documents. And sometimes you're not really looking on this. And then, in the end, when they fired me [from] my own band, I found a paper [saying] all the rights [to the ACCEPT name] go to Wolf Hoffmann. And that's really a big point, a bad point for me. The name is normally on me and not on Wolf Hoffmann."
He continued: "This was a big mistake — not really to look what you're signing. But anyway, this is history — [it happened] a long time ago. And I think in the end now, in a way I don't care. But sometimes [I think] I did a big mistake. But anyway, it happened."
Last year, Udo ruled out the possibility of a reunion with ACCEPT, telling TNT Radio Rock: "I don't wanna say anything bad. Wolf is a great guitar player. He's a great guy — I know that. But one thing, and that's why never ever can happen again a reunion or stuff like that, is he was stealing my name. A long time ago, in '81, when we had to sign some papers. I was really young, and, 'Yeah, okay,' I signed my contracts. There was some paper in between [all the others], and he [got] the rights [to the ACCEPT name]. But it was not Wolf [who orchestrated it]; I think it was now his wife. She was the manager of ACCEPT, and she was clever to put the [ACCEPT] name on Wolf Hoffmann. And this is the thing that makes me still angry — he was really stealing the name. I mean, I was making ACCEPT in '68.
"In the end, as a person, [he's] definitely a great guitar player, a great guy," Udo added. "It's history. I think I'm quite successful with U.D.O. If I want, I can do anytime a tour under [the name] DIRKSCHNEIDER and play ACCEPT songs. If I really say, 'Okay, I wanna do this again,' no problems at all. But the rest, in a way, is history.
"For example, I was working with Peter Baltes and Stefan Kaufmann together on the single 'Where The Angels Fly', and everybody was, like, 'Oh, what is this? This is more ACCEPT than ACCEPT is doing now at the moment.'"
In January 2021, Hoffmann was asked by SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" if he was surprised to see Baltes working with Dirkschneider on new music. He responded: "Yeah, I probably shouldn't say much about that. Again, I can only speculate what that was all about. At the end of the day, we do our thing, and everybody has to know for themselves what they wanna do. Yeah, let me not say as much about that as I can, please."
Back in 2015, Hoffmann dismissed Dirkschneider's comment that the band's then-lineup — which included Baltes and Tornillo — performed live "without any emotion." "It's just hilarious at this point," Wolf said. "It's just a big joke in our lives. And we just go on about our lives, and we do our thing, and we just… We let these things go by and laugh about it. He's actually sort of our press agent, in a way. He keeps us [in the news]."
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