When it comes to me and my interest in hard rock and heavy metal ”Fast As A Shark” was one of the first songs that really blew me away. This was 1982 when Accept released the album ”Restless And Wild”. Now 39 years later Accept is back with their new album ”Too Mean To Die” and I was lucky to get a chat over Skype with the bands guitar player and master mind Wolf Hoffman.
You have a new album out early 2021. How long time did it take to write the album?
-We started back at the fall of 2019 and the first song that was completed was ”The Undertaker”. We all thought it was Accept enough. For me I never collect riffs on the road which means that I start jamming from scratch. I got about 3-4 ideas every day that I’m working with for a little time.
I keep going week after week and finally I got a pile of songs. In january 2020 Andy Sneap beginning to put the stuff together and I started to feel for the songs. We used the time well and in march 6-7 songs were finished and that was half of the record.
The world isn’t what we used to know. When do you think there will be concerts again?
-We can only speculate because both you, me and nobody else out there has no idea. February/March last year nobody could thought abour this scenario. We know there could be earthquakes, tsunamis or other disasters around the world but we couldn’t see this coming. Everybody had to stop touring.
Has the Corona virus affected you in any way?
-No it hasn’t, we’re all good. I hope the world can open up so we can play Sweden Rock in 2021 but we just have to wait and see.
When it’s back to normal will you on tour directly or will you wait? I believe every band in the whole world will go out and tour at the same time.
-If we could choose we’ll be out on tour with the new album in the middle of February but we just have to wait and see. We have a scheduled tour for the ”Too Mean To Die” album which was supposed to start on the 15th of February but we have rescheduled that tour to february 2022. It’s a lot of work to set up a tour so we just can’t cancel it and believe that we can do it three months later. We are eager to go out and meet our fans but we also know what’s happening right now, and that means it’s not up to us.
This is your fifth album with Marc Tornillo and it’s also the first without long time bass player Peter Baltes. Why did he leave the band?
-I don’t have a good answer, it’s a sad story. He just had enough I think and after 40 years I lost him as a bandmate which is hard. He announced his departure from Accept on Facebook and that’s quite sad but he just didn’t want to be in the band anymore. Now I’m the only guy left who was there from the beginning and I’ll keep the train running.
Are you pleased with the new album?
-I’m very pleased. I compare this album to ”Blood Of The Nations” because it’s the same unexpected energy and freshness. The variety of the songs was unexpected but it still sounds like Accept. There is not a bunch of songs sounds the same and my favourite track on the album is the ballad ”The Best Is Yet To Come” and I think Marc is doing a beautyful job on that song. It means a lot to me personally.
Will Accept still be around in five years?
-I don’t know. If it’s up to me I can think of myself dying on stage. One scenario is that I jump from the drum podium, get a heart attack when I’m in the air and right after the curtain goes down. That would be very metal I think.
You have inspired a lot of guitar players over the world. Which guitar player inspired you when you started playing guitar?
-Several guitar players in fact. Ritchie Blackmore is one of them and Uli Jon Roth is probably the best guitar player the world have heard. Brian May is cool and David Gilmour is great. In the end I prefer melodic guitar players over shredders and chasing tones is much more fun than speed.
Eddie Van Halen was an amazing guitar player but I was never inspired or influenced by him. When it comes to the feeling of tones there is one guy that blows me away. His name is Joe Bonamassa and he is a very bluesy guitar player that can hit that tone.
Oscar Dronjak in Hammerfall is a huge fan of Accept and you as a guitar player. We were talking about the song ”Balls To The Wall” and he said it was the 80’s ”Smoke On The Water” because the riff in the intro is equally known as that song. Do you consider ”Balls To The Wall” a timeless heavy metal song?
-That’s a funny statement. The riffs are played in simiral ways with the same open chord. I haven’t even thinking of that so I have to say thank you Oscar.
Oscar also mentioned in a song writers point of view that ”Balls To The Wall” is kind of unique because the riff in the intro only appears there and nowhere else in the song.
-Yes that’s true now that you mention it. I haven’t thought about that before. Thanks again Oscar, the two meter man, ha ha ha. Oscar is a good guy and it will be great to hang out and catching up on things when the pandemic is over.
Do you still live in the states?
-Yes I do and I will probably stay here. I have getting used to the relaxed way here in the states so I think it would be hard to move back to Germany. In Europé everything feels kind of small if you compare to USA.
Who will be in charge in the white house in the future? (This interview was made before Joe Biden became the president)
-If it’s not Joe Biden we will have a civil war and if Donald Trump will get another four years USA will be another Russia, we can say bye bye to democracy. To be honest it’s kind of pathetic in a way if you ask me as an outsider, I mean what are they doing? It’s kind of bizarre.
At last I wonder if you have any message to your fans in Sweden?
-Hello swedish fans:
We love you
We will come back to Sweden
Enjoy the new album
Stay safe, stay heavy, stay happy
OK Wolf. I thank you for taking the time talking to me.
-Thank you. Now you can go and take care of your children.
Have you heard them? I haven’t heard them myself.
-I’ve heard them. How many children do you have?
I have six children, two boys and four girls.
-SIX CHILDREN??? What are you? An evangelist? I’ve never heard of anyone having six children, ha ha ha.
Well it’s true, ha ha ha….
-Unbelievable, ha ha. Take care Johan and hope to see you in the future.