Accept‘s Wolf Hoffman was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio program. As the last remaining founding member of the German metal institution, Hoffman’s role is to ensure the band’s legacy remains intact and true to the sound fans have come to expect after four decades of existence.
With Too Mean to Die, the 16th album from Accept and fifth with singer Mark Tornillo, the band weathered some unusual circumstances wrought by the coronavirus pandemic. Working in a studio in Nashville, Tenn., the band had to, in part, work with a producer who guided them remotely as he was unable to gain entry into the U.S. at the time over public health measures.
Read the full interview below.
The new album is the first one without bassist Peter Baltes. What changes most about the dynamic of a band when a long-standing member is no longer involved?
It’s like anything. You’ve got a long term relationship, you know somebody really well and all of a sudden you’ve got some new guys to deal with.
As sad as it is when somebody that you have spent so much time with over the years leaves — it’s super sad — but at the same time, somebody will take the place. Normally those new guys are super excited and they’re glad to be there.
They bring some fresh energy into the whole band as well, so, as sad as the bad side is, there’s also the good side of new blood.
This record features three guitarists. Creatively, what do you enjoy most about having that additional musical capability?
It allows us to do different parts onstage that we couldn’t normally do. Every album usually has multiple guitar tracks — way more than just two — so there are overdubs, twin solos, and all that kind of stuff.
We now can represent much better onstage. That’s actually sort of a luxury to have yet another guitar player onstage and I’m totally looking forward to it. We’ve already done some shows that way and it really adds another color and dimension to the whole thing.
The pandemic has affected all aspects of recording and performing music. What’s the biggest adjustment you had to make while writing and recording Too Mean To Die?
Any time I’m writing I’m in [a sort of] quarantine anyhow, [laughs] so that didn’t change a whole lot.
I’m usually sitting there all by myself with a drum machine and most of the writing actually happened before the coronavirus [pandemic] ever took place. But then in the middle of recording, we had the unusual situation that our producer could not come into the U.S., so we had to work alone in our studio in Nashville and record everything without him.
But he was present online, so he could hear every take and he could make suggestions. He was kind of remote producing, which is a new experience, but that was only for kind of the last four or five songs. The rest of it was already in the can at that point.
Accept, “The Undertaker” Music Video
Accept started in Germany then built an international audience. How does creative expression become more refined as a result of having a global worldview of different people and cultures?
We are from Germany and we kind of have that tradition still with us, even though we now we have three Americans in the band and three Germans.
We’re kind of half and half at this point. But I think if you’ve got a long history and a long legacy like we do, we follow that tradition and it still sounds kind of German even though I don’t even live in Germany anymore [laughs]. I think it kind of stays with you wherever you go.
At this point, I’m the only original member and I see myself almost as the gatekeeper to keep that style in check. Everybody who is in this band now is very mindful of who Accept are and how they should sound, so big discussions are not necessary.
But if in doubt, I’m usually the one who says, “Well, let’s do it this way or that way.” And that kind of guarantees the continuation of our legacy, I guess.
Accept are a band with a long history. Over the last several years, the band is making, arguably, its best music. What do you attribute that to when it’s not uncommon for bands to lose a step or two from their earlier heyday?
Sometimes I wonder — I don’t really know why it is, I’m just happy that it is.
We’re still having a blast. We’re still like making records. We’re still touring. We try to write meaningful songs, just like we did back in the day when trying to not rest on our laurels. We could have said, “We don’t really need to write new songs because we might as well play the old stuff during the shows and nobody wants to hear new material,” but I don’t think that’s the right approach.
We should try to write relevant new material all the time. In a weird way, these last five albums that we’ve done, to many fans, are more consistent and better than any of the stuff we’ve done, which is quite an achievement given how long we’ve been doing this.
Wolf really great to have you on the show. Thank you so much. And wishing you the best of luck in 2021.
Well, thank you very much. It was great talking with you. Everybody will enjoy the new album. Until we can tour again and see everybody in person, please stay safe and stay metal and healthy.
Thanks to Wolf Hoffman for the interview. Follow Accept on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify and pre-order their ‘Too Mean to Die’ album here (as Amazon affiliates we earn on qualifying purchases). Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio show here.