INTERVIEW BY MARKO SYRJALA
Pictures by Marko Syrjala and www.acceptarchive.com. Transcription by Blake Wolfe
There’s no doubt that Accept is a legend and one of the major influences on the development of many bands in today’s metal scene. Accept was originally formed in the early seventies by vocalist Udo Dirkscheinder. Some years later, the stable lineup was completed with bassist Peter Baltes and guitarist Wolf Hoffmann among other musicians who were soon replaced with guitarist Jorg Fisher and drummer Stefan Kaufmann. This classic lineup recorded such metal classics as BREAKER, RESTLESS AND WILD, METAL HEART, and RUSSIAN ROULETTE before they split up with Udo and Jorg in 1988. In 1989 Accept released another album, EAT THE HEAT, with American singer David Reece, but after some unsuccessful touring and a split with Stefan Kaufmann, the band soon disbanded, and nothing was heard of Accept for the next few years. The praised reunion album OBJECTION OVERRULED came out in 1992, and Accept was back in action with a classic lineup of Baltes, Kaufmann, Dirkscneider, and Hoffmann, but without Fisher this time. The new album did relatively well in Europe and Japan, and over the next few years, Accept continued touring and released two more albums, DEATH ROW, and PREDATOR, before they disbanded again in 1997. Udo then continued working with his solo band U.D.O., and Stefan Kaufmann joined him. Peter Baltes then actually gave up playing, and so did Wolf Hoffmann, excluding one classical-style solo album, which he released in 2000. But now it’s the year 2005 and the band is back. During their visit to Scandinavia, I sat down with Hoffmann, and we talked about the reasons behind this “third coming,” what happened in the past, and what might happen in the future?
Read and learn!
ACCEPT REUNION 2005
METAL-RULES: Well, after several years’ absence, you are now back with Accept. Why?
WOLF: Yeah, but remember, we don’t do a “real” reunion “laughs.”
METAL-RULES: I know. That’s what Peter told me about yesterday. Tell us how it came about and why it happened now?
WOLF: Well, it came out, it started about two years ago with some people from the Rock Hard magazine, Gotz Kuhnemund, the editor-in-chief there, or whatever he is, the main guy at Rock Hard magazine. He kind of was in contact with Gaby, my wife, and the manager, the long-time manager for Accept. They were kind of dreaming about the old days, and twenty years, a twenty-year reunion, a twentieth anniversary came up for Rock Hard magazine. So a twentieth anniversary came up, and they said, “How great would it be at this festival that we had an Accept (interrupted) if at that occasion there was like, maybe, Accept would play again, and “How great would it be?” So they were talking, and that’s kind of what got the whole ball rolling, and we got some offers from other people, like from festival promoters saying “Well, we would surely…”, you know.
METAL-RULES: I’d imagine that maybe some people from the Wacken Festival tried to have you on their 25th anniversary ’cause of last year, am I right?
WOLF: Yeah, they did. Everybody wanted us to be on there, and we contacted Udo, and he turned us down. He said, “No, I can’t do it because I’ve got my own career, and U.D.O. is more important,” even though he is only playing clubs in front of several hundred people some times. He said, “No, I don’t want no part of it,” and I said, “Udo, man, here look at that – you can play in front of 30,000 people, and this is Accept, and lots of money, lots of audiences – “No, don’t wanna do it?.” So we said, “Okay, whatever.” So we tried again this year, and he was ready this year. So thank god, and here we are. So we started rehearsing early on, in the first of the year in January, and we wanted to have? Originally, Udo’s suggestion was to take all his crew and all his people and his drummer. We tried his drummer and liked him, but then Stefan Schwarzman became available, from Helloween, because he just left the band, and we took him on because we thought, “Heck, he’s the original Accept drummer.” Hence, we were almost original as we can at this time. At least all the members have been in Accept at one time, so it’s as original as it can be these days.
METAL-RULES: Did you try to get Stefan Kauffman to play the second guitar at any point?
WOLF: Yeah, but he had no interest, first of all, and then we figured Stefan was an original Accept guy, but he was never an Accept guitar player. At least Herman Frank was an original guitar player in Accept in the ’80s during BALLS TO THE WALL.
METAL-RULES: How did he (Herman) react when you asked him?
WOLF: He was excited about it, very excited. Yeah, he said “yes” right away. Before we asked him, we tried to find original guitarist Jorg Fischer for a little bit, but we don’t know where he is. No contact whatsoever. We have no idea?
METAL-RULES: I know he hasn’t played at all in 15 years or something?
WOLF: Have you heard of him?
METAL-RULES: What I know is that he had some band in the States, something in the early ’90s, and that’s the last thing I’ve heard about him.
WOLF: Yeah, same here. We tried to contact people who knew him, but we don’t know where he is, and I don’t think he plays guitar anymore. At least Herman is a working musician, and he’s in bands, and he produces bands. He’s involved in all kinds of projects. He’s producing bands all the time and playing guitar all the time, so he’s right in the middle of all this kind of stuff.
METAL-RULES: When Stefan Schwarfmann came back to the band, am I wrong, but he had some major disagreements with Udo when he left from U.D.O.?
WOLF: I think he did, but it’s all put aside, and this is not U.D.O. This is Accept. He didn’t have to deal with Udo too much because he’s dealing with Gaby and me. So he knew he could trust us, and he knew he’d get paid, and everything would be fine (laughs). I don’t know what the disagreements between him and Udo was??
METAL-RULES: I interviewed Stefan last year when he (Stefan) was playing in Helloween, and he then said that he was never too happy with Udo. He said, “Yeah, this is the first time I ever say this in public, but Stefan Kauffman programmed all drum parts for the U.D.O. albums, and I’m not playing on them. But I don’t care anymore.”
WOLF: Well. Now we all get along pretty well, we’re trying to be very civilized about it and try to really give the fans a good show, and so far, the shows have been really good. The funny thing is, it’s really difficult to get to the point where we are on stage because of all the haggling and negotiations behind the scenes. It’s a nightmare to tell you the truth. But then, once we are up on stage, everything’s pretty smooth. It’s really well, between Udo and myself, and Peter and Udo. Everything is really smooth.
METAL-RULES: I already read some great reviews from some Accept shows in Russia.
WOLF: So far, they’ve been great. Hopefully, tomorrow’s going to be great again! “laughs.”
Accept alive on stage again!
METAL-RULES: Do you think that Accept really needs two guitars on stage?
WOLF: I don’t think it needs it, but see, what we wanted to do on this show, well we thought, “Hell, this might be the last time people are ever gonna see Accept live ever, so what would people like to see most?” We always had this sort of twin guitar thing. When we were a four-piece band, I had all these people come up to me and say, “I like the twin guitar thing.” I personally like the four-piece band much better, but it’s always this twin-guitar thing nagging away. So we thought, “Well if we’re gonna do it, we might as well do it as a twin-guitar thing,” and get another guitar player in the band because it’s closer to the 80s. We wanted to sort of represent the 80s on this tour. We’re kind of trying to relive the 80s as much as we can and go back to those days. And also from the songs we play – it’s everything from ’82 to ’86.
METAL-RULES: Is there any chance that you might add a few newer songs to the setlist?
WOLF: We dig out a couple of songs that we haven’t played that much, like “Love Child” or “Monster Man,” or some other stuff that we haven’t played that much before. It would be cool to get a DVD of properly recorded live footage.
METAL-RULES: Still, how about doing some songs from OBJECTION OVERRULED?
WOLF: We made the decision early on that we didn’t want to do that.
METAL-RULES: But you are still playing some parts in your guitar -solo from the DEATH ROW -album, am I right?
WOLF: I do, just because that little bit is sort of a classical piece. I do a little six or eight-minute segment in the show where I compile my classical record, an instrumental thing, instead of a guitar “noodly-noodly-noodly” kind of solo. I wanted to do something a little more interesting and took certain elements out of my classical record and combines it with a piece that was in “Sodom And Gomorrah.”
METAL-RULES: It’s funny because on some Accept discussion boards, they’re like, “Yeah, play some stuff from DEATH ROW!”
WOLF: Yeah, it’s really not from DEATH ROW as much as it’s from a classical piece that I incorporated into that song.
METAL-RULES: Anyway, it’ll be nice to hear OBJECTION OVERRULED tracks.
WOLF: I’d like to, but then we get into this whole discussion about “Is this the 90s version of Accept?” And should we play something from DEATH ROW, and that’s clearly not to some fans, that’s not Accept anymore, and to stay away from all that we said: “Why not just stop it at ’86 or ’87”?
METAL-RULES: How much did you have to change your playing style for this tour because you did a couple of tours with you being the only guitarist on stage?
WOLF: Honestly, not really that much. For me, it’s a little harder to play with two guitar players, but it’s really no big deal. It’s about the same. Maybe if anybody has to play a little differently, it’s the bass guitar because when we were a four-piece band, Peter filled in, played more licks, and now he is more like a rhythm player, like a bass player only. So for me, it’s really not that difficult.
METAL-RULES: Last time you performed in Scandinavia was “the farewell tour,” and then you had Michael Cartellone playing drums on that tour. Do you have any special memories from that tour then?
WOLF: I need to think here… I mean, I always liked going up to Scandinavia. The Finnish people were always hardcore fans. Pretty wild fans. I don’t have any special recollection from that concert, though, but I always enjoyed being up here, honestly. It’s a very cool part of the world, the people are very friendly and love the peaceful heavy metal atmosphere, you know? It’s not a whole bunch of idiots. They’re very sophisticated and educated people, yet they like heavy metal. I like that.
METAL-RULES: Cause I’m from Finland. I have to ask if you have any special memories from our country?
WOLF: That Midsummer Night? Whatever, I remember the sun never went down, so it was like that Midsummer festival?
METAL-RULES: I think you must talk about the Giants Of Rock festival? You did play there in 1993, just before release of the DEATH ROW album?
WOLF: Yeah, it must have been that one!
Wolf is having fun!
METAL-RULES: Let’s go back to the Accept first reunion, and the album OBJECTION OVERRULED days. Back then, you seriously tried to have a real reunion?
WOLF: Yeah, we did. We really wanted to stay together for a long, long time and tried really hard to make that happen.
METAL-RULES: It really started really well, I think. You received lots of positive publicity, and there were interviews and stuff everywhere, and OBJECTION OVERRULED did sell pretty well, I think?
WOLF: It did.
METAL-RULES: What, but what happened then?
WOLF: Well, several things happened. In the ’90s, it wasn’t particularly popular. OBJECTION OVERRULED was in ’91, so it was still on the end wave of the whole ’80s, kind of. Heavy metal was still popular. You still had bands like Skid Row selling millions of records. But then something happened called Nirvana in the ’90s, and slowly but surely, the whole music scene didn’t want to hear about traditional heavy metal, the melodic metal that we played. We were aware that we couldn’t continue to do the same shit again and again. We tried to change with the times, basically, and that was our desperate attempt to stay up-to-date, and it didn’t quite work. And unfortunately, also the production wasn’t very good on that record. I think we had some great song ideas, but maybe they weren’t executed all that great. I would probably do it way different today. I said it again and again. I can’t look back at these times and our records and say it was a mistake because, at the time, I was 100 percent convinced this is the right way to go. It turned out later that it was maybe not a big success, but I’m not the guy who goes back and says, “I knew it all, right away,”? Cause I hate it when people do that. At the time, I thought, “Yeah, this is what we need to do,” and I stood 100 percent behind it, so I’m standing behind it now and saying this what I felt at the time, so it was the right decision, yeah. I’ve heard that even in my own band, when people go, “Oh, I never liked that song.” Then why the heck did you do it? I always liked everything I did, kind of, at the time.
METAL-RULES: Was it like, after DEATH ROW, everything slowly went down, and you knew what was going to happen?
WOLF: Oh yeah, we felt the vibes at the time. It was like a slowly sinking ship, in a way. And we tried to stop it from sinking, but we didn’t (laughs).
THE THIRD ATTEMPT, PREDATOR
Predator promo shot 1996
METAL-RULES: But you still decided to continue, and then it the time of PREDATOR. How was that period for Accept?
WOLF: PREDATOR was just another attempt to make a record that would fit in the times. What we did on that record – we already knew that was going to be our last record, honestly. It was a unique situation because Udo was already on the way out, and we knew it, and he knew it. He came with a sort of attitude, like “Alright, I’m gonna sing these songs…,” but he wasn’t even trying at all. He was against the songs. He was against everything. He didn’t want to be there. He didn’t try, so his vocal performance was so bad that we decided to use Peter’s scratch vocals. You have to realize that Udo has never been part of the songwriting process, even in the 80s. The creative team was Peter, myself, and Stefan Kauffman. We always finished the songs before he ever entered the studio.
METAL-RULES: Well, if Udo never did too much writing for the band, then who did write the lyrics for PREDATOR and the rest of the albums?
WOLF: Deaffy, my wife, Gaby. She did all of them… In the 90s, she kind of phased out from that, and we got some other guy in there, an English guy who kind of helped us with the lyrics. But everything was always done to the point, to the melody, to the note – everything was done before Udo ever even showed up. We always worked the same way. We did it the same way on PREDATOR. Peter and I wrote all the songs, and then Udo’s performance was so bad that we kind of kept some of Peter’s original vocals, which in turn upset Udo so much that he left the band. Udo was so offended by that. Our point was that “Hey, your original version was so terrible that we couldn’t leave it.”
METAL-RULES: But you recorded Udo’s “scratch” vocals also for all songs on PREDATOR?
WOLF: Mm..hm..we did. But we didn’t use ’em. It was just another instance of a hurt ego. In a way, I can understand Udo’s reaction from his point of view. We wanted to have the songs sung in the way they were meant to be, ’cause we had this sort of, the way we worked in the band, we finished all the songs before he ever came and there were certain melody lines and certain characters of the songs. As soon as Udo sang them, they changed dramatically, a lot of times for the worse.
METAL-RULES: It had to go his way because his vocal range is so limited, right?
WOLF: Right, and certain keynotes and melody lines or phrasing – his timing is so different. When you sing that kind of music, you have to be a certain way, and it was always not the way we wanted it to be. So there was this eternal frustration, all the time, every record… We felt with this one record, this one instance, we know it’s gonna be our last record anyhow, let’s just at least release it the way the song was intended to be. Even if it’s not going to please all the Accept fans, even if it’s going to piss Udo off – let’s at least do it for our own sake, let’s at least please ourselves.
METAL-RULES: I can imagine that you did a lot of work for that record?
WOLF: Yeah, we always did! Heck, we always did the work behind the scenery. That was our reasoning for doing it, and it was probably wrong, and we kind of knew it, but we knew he was going to leave the band anyhow, and we felt like “Whatever.”
METAL-RULES: Actually, it’s not such a bad album after all, and at least that album has a lot better sound than DEATH ROW has?
WOLF: Oh, much better, because Michael Wagener mixed it. DEATH ROW is like a homemade production. It was recorded in our rehearsal facility, in our own kind of studio owned by Stefan Kauffman. No outside person was involved. We did something on our own, and in retrospect, those records sometimes don’t turn out as good.
DAVID REECE AND EAT THE HEAT
Accept promo 1989 with David Reece and Jim Stacey.
METAL-RULES: When we both now know something about the limitations of working with Udo, how was it working with David Reece then?
WOLF: Artistically, it was much better because he had more of a range, a vocal range, but of course, it was different problems with David Reece. The sky was the limit, all of a sudden. We could do things we had never done before, which, I found out during that process.
METAL-RULES: Was it frustrating finding a thing like that in the middle of the process?
WOLF: No, but I tell you there’s a certain, as much as I bitch about Udo’s, sort of limit, the fact that he was so limited, there’s a certain comfort in that also it defines your style right away. You know right away that “you can’t do this, you can’t do that,” so you kind of try to focus on what you can do. And with David Reece, we didn’t really focus on that anymore because we could do just about anything. We could do a ballad, and we could do this, we could do that, so we did it all. But that’s why we lost the Accept style on that record.
METAL-RULES: There are songs like “XTC” and “D-Train,” which are brilliant metal songs. So, I would proudly say, it’s not a bad album at all.
WOLF: No, I don’t think it is bad either. It’s just not as narrowly defined in a style sense as all the other Accept records. And that’s only because, for the first time, we could do songs that we couldn’t do before, like more of a pop, more of a melody, more of alike, different, creative tools that we didn’t have.
METAL-RULES: Whatever happened to the guitar player Jim Stacey who played the second guitar on that record?
WOLF: I don’t know, we kind of lost track of him.
METAL-RULES: Did he play any notes on that album?
WOLF: I don’t think he did. I played most of the guitar tracks all the time (laughs).
METAL-RULES: Well, then I’m going to ask how much Herman has played on Accept albums?
WOLF: He did play some, not a lot, but he did some “laughs.”
METAL-RULES: Why did you decide to re-record EAT THE HEAT track “Generation Clash” again for DEATH ROW?
WOLF: I think it was Stefan’s idea? We felt it wasn’t originally produced correctly and that our demo version was better.
METAL-RULES: Rawer, or something?
WOLF: Yeah, some of the details were better about it, we felt. We thought, “We need another song.” Why not re-do that song the way it was meant to be?
METAL-RULES: To you, which version do you think sounds better?
WOLF: What do I think now? I don’t know – I haven’t heard it in so long. I know I wasn’t happy with the way to EAT THE HEAT was produced.
METAL-RULES: EAT THE HEAT, in my opinion, it was the drums that sounded really weak.
WOLF: It sounds terrible. Do you know why that is? Because of the electronic drums that were used. That was the thing at the time, and Dieter Dierks was his way into that. He mixed it so loud in the mix. We tried to stop him, but?
METAL-RULES: The drums really sound like a drum machine on that album.
WOLF: It’s terrible, and I can’t listen to that record to this day. The drum arrangement is so weird. He made Stefan not to play the way he normally plays.
METAL-RULES: I would ask if the drums were played or are they just computer stuff, but?
WOLF: Yeah, they’ve played. They’re not programmed. He played them that way, but he played them really weird because Dieter Dierks produced him that way, and Dieter arranged every little drum beat and lick.
METAL-RULES: Otherwise, it’s a good sounding record. It’s just the drum sound, which really s***!
WOLF: Yeah, they’re triggers, so you know they’re gonna be the same – boom, boom, boom – all the time, so that’s why it’s almost like a drum machine. What we used was this weird thing by Simmons drums, I think. Very expensive first electronic drum kit with pads, and it has little intensity, but not a lot. A little dynamic, but very limited. It’s really on or off, all the time, whether you hit it hard or not. You don’t get all the dynamics you normally get and all the spectrum. If you hit a snare ten times, it’s gonna sound different ten times. But if you hit a sample, it’s gonna sound the same, every f****’ time. It was called SDX at the time. It was very expensive and didn’t work worth a crap.
METAL-RULES: Those were the kind of drums Eric Carr (KISS) used to play live in the 80?s. During the solo, he was using them.
WOLF: It was one of those things. It just wasn’t worth a damn.
METAL-RULES: When you were making a tour to promote EAT THE HEAT is the U.S and?
WOLF: Oh yeah – bad tour! It was bad, pretty bad! Yeah, I tell you, that was a situation. It was a sinking ship, really! “laughs.”
METAL-RULES: I understand. You had Ken Mary (Alice Cooper, House Of Lords) playing drums on that tour. What happened to Stefan Kauffmann back then?
WOLF: Yes, we had Ken Mary. One thing after another happened. Stefan left the band, we had to try and find a different replacement drummer from one day to the next, and then we had Jim Stacey in the band, and he wasn’t an original band member, and we had a new singer. So all of a sudden, there were three new guys and only two original guys, and it was like, I looked around, and one day I realized no stage “this is really not as good as I wish it was.” It was kind of a sinking ship. And on top of all that, we had these personal problems, and all of a sudden, there was this sort of famous fistfight between Peter Baltes and David. That’s when we talked to each other, and we thought, “Man, we should just pack up and go!” This is not like what we wanted to do. It was like beating a dead horse. I think the last straw was Stefan Kauffman leaving the band. Mid-tour, too.
METAL-RULES: Was it because of the back problems?
WOLF: I think it was, but honestly, it was as much a mental thing as it was a health thing. Yeah, he had a back problem, but he was sick of it also. It was many things coming together. I’m no doctor – I don’t know how fucked-up his back really is?
METAL-RULES: That tour was a co-headline tour with W.A.S.P. How was it working with Blackie and the guys? I’ve heard so many bad stories about them?
WOLF: They were just dicks, honestly. They were trying to play superstars, and they weren’t. W.A.S.P. was really bad at that bullshit kind of behavior. There was one other band – Twisted Sister. In the 90s, we played with them in Belgium, I think in, maybe ninety-something?
METAL-RULES: It must have been in the 80s because they broke up in ?89?
WOLF: Right. Maybe it was ’86 or ’87? And they closed off the whole backstage area, and on the way to the stage, they had several security guards with them. There were several bands before them – it was a mini-festival or some shit – and all of a sudden, there were these ropes, and you could not walk from here to there, and there were big security guards, and I was wondering, “What the hell is going on here?” “Uh, Twisted Sister is coming through here any moment, so you better step back.” And I thought, “What the fuck?!” Do you know what I mean? It was like, all they did was walk on stage, but they closed off the whole area, and “Sir, you can’t be here. Sir.” It was like the CIA, like the president or something. It was so ridiculous.
METAL-RULES: The same thing happened in Sweden Rock in 2001 when WASP was playing there?
WOLF: Oh, my gosh! Still the same big stardom “laughs” See, to me, I’ve always been a sort of cynic in a way. To me, that sort of shit is so laughable. I don’t even know what to say about it. We tried never to do any of that. All we are is just a bunch of guys going up there and playing some songs. If you even think about the whole perspective of that, that’s why I always, I mean, I try to take my job seriously, but never the whole person. Wolf Hoffman? I mean, you can’t take that too seriously. All we are is just a bunch of guys playing some songs. It’s people who get so carried away with that shit; they’re so full of themselves it’s just ridiculous. It’s not like they’re curing cancer or doing some really important job for humankind. They’re just a bunch of dumb guys going up there and making a bunch of noise. It’s cool, but that’s all it is, and you should treat it like that, in my mind.
OTHER STUFF IN LIFE
METAL-RULES: I talked with Peter yesterday, and he said that he has found something new in his life?
WOLF: The spirituality?
METAL-RULES: Yeah. Do you know anything more about that?
WOLF: No, I don’t. I mean, he’s sort of found this religious thing, and I know nothing about it because I didn’t find it, so it’s all really up to him to explain it.
METAL-RULES: Do you know when it started?
WOLF: Since the last few years. We’ve been away for ten years, so everybody sort of did different things, and I think he became religious or something. But it’s everybody’s own belief, and I don’t get involved in that. It’s got nothing to do with the band.
METAL-RULES: Is there any new music coming out from Wolf Hoffman?
WOLF: I hope there is!
METAL-RULES: Do you already have some ideas?
WOLF: Yeah, I have lots of ideas, but you gotta, you know, make ’em come true. That’s my sort of goal for the next year, is to actually make that come true because now, I’m all inspired, I’m all fired up about playing music again. Through the help of these festivals – I was not playing much music in the last few years, and the longer you stay away from it, the bigger step it seems to me to actually come back to it. Now that I’ve been on stage again, I’m thinking like, “Well, hey, this is fun, nothing to it.” So I think I want to do that, something more. I made this little record five years ago, and it was a studio project only, and I had a ball with it. I want to do one more. It was a lot of work, but at the same time, it was very peaceful and very easy because I didn’t have to compromise. No singer-egos, no lyrics, no bullshit, you know? It was just a bunch of friends and me.
METAL-RULES: Some years ago, you did some songwriting and recording together with Sebastian Bach?
WOLF: That was the same – it was just a day or two in the studio. I live in Tennessee on sort of a farm setting, and there’s a building that we have a recording studio in, on that farm property. Michael Wagener is working out of there, the L.A. producer. He was working there with Sebastian, and Sebastian used to be a huge Accept fan, and he still is, I think. So he kind of thought, “Hey, why don’t you write a song?.” We did, and I had a ball. That only lasted for a day or two, though?
Alive and kickin’!
METAL-RULES: Are there any other projects you’ve been involved in like that one?
WOLF: I played on a Randy Rhodes tribute, did a bunch of songs on that, whatever Michael Wagener talked me into over the years. Then we had a band called Hammerfall in there, and they recorded a record in there. They almost talked me into playing on their record, but they didn’t succeed! (laughs). Other people ask me from time to time. My thing is if I like the song, I’ll play on it. If it’s something that sort of flows from the hand, and it bleeds with my kind of playing, then I’ll play on it.
METAL-RULES: But could you still imagine having a new band by yourself?
WOLF: Sometimes I think about it, but I think about the consequences, and then I think if I did anything, I’d probably make that classical record and go on tour with an orchestra. Something totally different. I don’t know if you’ve heard the record or not?
METAL-RULES: I have it. Actually, it’s in my bag, “laughs.”
WOLF: Well, thank you. I think this is something that says, “It’s totally me.” It’s different enough from Accept, and I could still be me enough. I wouldn’t try to be something I can’t.
METAL-RULES: Is there any guitar player you would like to play with someday, or would you have liked to play with?
WOLF: There are lots of good guitar players, but I don’t know?
METAL-RULES: Would you ever consider doing something as Yngwie Malmsteen did with Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, like the G3 tour they did together?
WOLF: No, I see myself totally different from those guys. If I ever did anything, it would be with an acoustic guitar player who’s phenomenal. Somebody, maybe, nobody’s ever heard of. It would be way different from the G3 bullshit thing that you’ve seen. This is a genre in their own mind – I don’t want to knock ’em because they do what they do, but I’m not in that same league by any means. I’m not as good as they are, I’m not as flashy, I’m not as fast. I don’t want to be, either. I do what I do, and it’s different. It’s more slow and tasteful, whatever.
METAL-RULES: So do you like other guitarists, like Ritchie Blackmore, then??
WOLF: There you go! I like him a lot. He’s cool. I don’t want to say too much before I ever do it because who knows if I ever get to that point. I like Ritchie Blackmore. I’m not sure if I like his new stuff as I did his old stuff. He’s into this baroque kind of music, and I hate that shit(laughs).
METAL-RULES: When he did the first album with Blackmore’s Night, it was a great, funny, and refreshing thing, but now, after four or something BN albums, it’s not too great anymore?
WOLF: I agree. I don’t get this whole baroque, renaissance, the outfits. I don’t get it. I don’t like it. I think the songs are terrible. I don’t like this woman. I’m not saying he should only play Deep Purple music, but?
METAL-RULES: Maybe some Rainbow stuff?
WOLF: That’s kind of what everybody’s waiting for, honestly.
METAL-RULES: I think he will, but do you know the reason he stopped doing that? Because he’s married to that woman, and there’s a mother-in-law.
WOLF: Yeah, I heard about that.
THE FUTURE OF ACCEPT?
METAL-RULES: Well, I must ask again. After this tour is over, is that the real end of the Accept?
WOLF: Well, I hope it would happen again, honestly. I wish we could do this every ten years, or every five years. But it’s pretty unlikely, the way Udo’s behaving and shit. He’s making it really hard for us. We’re trying everything we can, but it’s always us against Udo.
METAL-RULES: That’s strange?
WOLF: I know. I can’t understand it either, because I think he would help himself with his own career if he was more cooperative. He’s just totally counter-productive every step of the way.
METAL-RULES: Because then he would sell more copies of his brand new album, which is soon coming out?
WOLF: I know! You would think so. I don’t see why he can’t say, “Yes, this is Accept. This is the real thing.”
METAL-RULES: As you know, he plays mostly Accept songs on tour with U.D.O. What do you think about that?
WOLF: I know! But he’s trying to think like he’s as good or better than Accept, which is silly because history teaches everybody that if you, imagine like Bruce Springsteen, I mean Bruce Dickinson, and Iron Maiden – if Bruce Dickinson had his own band and played 80 percent or 60 percent, Iron Maiden, he still wouldn’t be as good as the real thing. You never can be because the real thing is the real thing. If you start your own band, you’re best off to be totally different from what you’ve been. That’s kind of why, about ten years ago, I walked away from this music scene. I had the choice too – I could’ve started my own band, but I could already see that people would always compare me to Accept. I’m “the old Accept guitar player,” and if I did anything that’s rock-related, people would almost force me to play Accept songs at my own shows. It would be very close to Accept, but it wouldn’t be the real thing. It never can be, so I think the only choice you have, once you’ve been in a successful band like Accept for that long, once you start your own band, you have to be totally different.
METAL-RULES: Is there going to be a live album or a DVD from this tour?
WOLF: I don’t know about a live album. I hope that we can record some material for a DVD. That’s my big hope. And hopefully, Udo will agree to that? So far, we’re still fighting. If he says no, we can’t do it. We’ll see, hopefully. As I said, he’s difficult every step of the way. I hope that he will agree to that, ’cause that will be something for the fans that people can remember for a long time, and it could be sort of a testimony – “this was the last version of Accept that you saw.” Hopefully, we can release something, because we never really made any good DVDs.
METAL-RULES: Yeah, to be honest, that one, “Blast From The Past,” is not that great a release from Accept?
WOLF: Yeah, I know. I wasn’t involved in it, and I don’t want to knock it, but what are you gonna do?
METAL-RULES: It was the first and only official tour video from Accept?
WOLF: I know. I didn’t think it was great, but I didn’t think it was that bad that I should stop it. So I let them have it, and I let them release it. I make a little money on it too, so whatever. Now, I think another live CD from Accept, in this version – I don’t know. We’re essentially playing the same songs we played years ago.
METAL-RULES: Do you have any unreleased stuff on the hold from the past tours?
WOLF: No, we don’t. I walked away from everything ten years ago. I didn’t listen to any of the U.D.O. stuff. I didn’t listen to anything these guys did. And they released everything – Live here, Live there, Live in Russia. So they kind of milked that whole Accept thing to death, in my mind. It’s the same thing over and over again. I said, “Whatever, guys. If it makes you happy, here’s my signature – go for it.” If I’m not involved, I don’t want to stop it just for the sake of saying no. Why would I do that?
Balls to the wall!
TALKING ABOUT GETTING OLDER, TAKING PHOTOS FOR LIVING AND ASKING AUTOGRAPHS?
METAL-RULES: You also said in some interviews, about six or seven years ago, that it’s really ridiculous when guys over 45 play the same old songs, and they keep on touring with their old bands, and stuff like that??
WOLF: I made a really nasty remark in one of the magazines, I know. It was called Classic Rock Magazine or something. I really went at it! You’re the first one even to challenge me on that one! “laughs.”
METAL-RULES: Was it on purpose? You really wanted to say those things that way?
METAL-RULES: It was funny, “laughs.” I remember when that interview came out, and it was before the reunion boom. I mean bands like Twisted Sister, Motley Crue, and others who are now back in action.
WOLF: It’s just a coincidence. What I meant by that, I meant it’s silly, if you’re like 45 or 50, you’re slightly overweight, and you try and fit in these old spandex jeans and try to behave like “I’m still the same cool guy I was 20 years ago!” when you’re not. That’s what I meant, but we’re not trying to do that.
METAL-RULES: It would really get silly if you would wear some wigs and old clothes now?
WOLF: Yeah, and I think that’s when it gets a little silly. At this point in my life, I’m not trying to start a new career. With Accept, this is sort of a special occasion, the only kind of thing. We’re all coming together to do this from different parts of life, and we all have our own individual careers, doing different things.
METAL-RULES: Tell us something about your photography career?
WOLF: I’ve been taking pictures for almost 20 years now. It started as a hobby, and I got more and more involved in it during the 80s. I was a serious amateur, taking pictures on the road when we were traveling, and I got bigger and bigger cameras. Even in that break we had from ’89 to 90 or whatever, I was trying to start working with other photographers as an assistant, and I wanted to be a full-time photographer, and then the band got back together, so I stopped. When we really quit for good in ’96, I said, “I wanna walk away from everything, but what else can I do in life?” and this is what I thought I could do.
METAL-RULES: You have been making a living doing that?
WOLF: I have been making a living for the last eight years with just that. It was very hard the first three years, but I’ve been having a great career and having a fabulous life just doing photography for advertising agencies and magazines and things like that for the last five years.
METAL-RULES: How does it feel to be on the “other side” of the camera?
WOLF: It feels great, and what I like about it is the fact that it’s not a group effort. I’m just sort of my own guy. I hire an assistant, I hire a makeup artist for the day, but other than that, I’m my own one-person company. A one-person army. I love that aspect of it. Whether the photo’s great, or if it sucks, it’s really up to me, in a way. Not because the singer is pissed off or the drummer didn’t show up, you know what I mean? At the same time, it’s a totally different field that nobody knows me in. I’m a schmuck, just like everybody else. I don’t get any special treatment just because I’ve been in a metal band. Nobody knows what I’ve done. There’s no crossover. There’s no crossover ever, except for I did a very cool project where I photographed the personal guitar collections of world-famous guitar players, like Chet Atkins and Les Paul. I went to their homes and photographed the personal guitar collections of Les Paul and Chet Atkins. Those are sort of collector’s books that come out, with beautiful, glossy pictures. That was a lot of fun because, as a guitar player, I had a special interest in all these prototype Les Paul guitars from 1953.
METAL-RULES: Did you ever asked any autographs from your guitar heroes?
WOLF: From Les Paul, you mean? I did. I made him sign this little Polaroid or something. I took some Polaroids and said, “Hey Les! Can you sign this for me?” Of course, he did, and I don’t know where the heck it is, but it was pretty cool. And he’s still a cool guy. He’s like 90 years old, or maybe 88? And he still plays, and he’s still a pretty cool guy.
METAL-RULES: So there we go?
WOLF: There – I talk enough. I talked your ears off—time to go to bed.
METAL-RULES: This was really great. Thank you!
WOLF: Thank you. I had fun!
METAL-RULES: Hopefully, I did some new questions for your ears also?
WOLF: Yeah, man, that was very interesting, honestly.
METAL-RULES: You know, I never do questions before an interview.
WOLF: Good. I hate those things. Do you know those people who ask you all these questions? And sometimes, they have this list there, and they ask you one question up here, and you cannot answer certain things that come back later on. You’ve already answered it, but just because it’s on their fucking list, they ask it again. “Well, it’s like I said earlier…”, so you answer the same fucking thing–
(knock on the door)
WOLF: I think this is a sign for us. I think they want us out of here?
METAL-RULES: Yeah. Thanks once again, and see you on the show!
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MORE PICTURES OF ACCEPT LIVE 2005 !!!