When Wolf Hoffmann calls, you must ACCEPT the call! German heavy metal legends Accept just released their new live album Symphonic Terror (order here) on November 23rd via Nuclear Blast. The set is a live recording from their Wacken Open Air performance in 2017 when a symphony orchestra accompanied the band. Before bassist Peter Baltes’ announcement on leaving the group, we spoke to guitarist Wolf Hoffmann. Hoffmann discussed the live album, plans, revealed the group’s most challenging record to date, and reminded us that “metal makes it possible.”
How long were you guys planning on adding an orchestra to your live show at Wacken in 2017?
This actually happened almost a year prior to the show. It started off as an idea of only doing some songs from my solo album, Headbanger’s Symphony. And it sort of evolved from there, to this whole three part show that we finally ended up doing. But one thing led to another.
After listening to the album, it must have been one crazy live performance. I can envision the experience. Do you have any plans bringing a symphony on the road at any other shows, maybe 70000tons of Metal?
Well not there, but we’re definitely planning to do some shows with an orchestra. Yeah, absolutely. We’re actually booking shows right now, we’re starting around Easter time in Germany, and then go around the world from there. But, once you’ve done it you definitely want to do it again. It was so much fun. The logistics are quite challenging, as you can imagine. With so many people, and organizational stuff like that, can really drive you crazy. But at the end of the day it’s all worth it. It’s something different for us as musicians, and it’s also surely something different for the fans. It’s not your average metal show.
No, even after only listening to it, it gave me a whole different experience. Do you guys have any special plans for 70000tons of Metal?
Yeah we’re putting together a cool set list. Absolutely, we are. We’ve never done a cruise, so it’ll be our first experience on a cruise. We’ve done a short cruise, a one day thing, one time. Two day thing maybe, in Scandinavia. But not really a full blown metal cruise like that. So that’s gonna be a first experience.
You’re first experience in over 40 years, that’s crazy.
Yeah. It’s good that, well not 40 years, but so far we’ve always been reluctant to be locked on a boat with so many fans and such. I don’t know what to expect, but hopefully it’s gonna be fun.
You will see that the fourth day will look very interesting.
Oh yeah? .
The cosplay, all the costumes. And four days of no sleep. It gets interesting. Be prepared.
I bet. I’m bracing myself.
You will see a gorilla,T. Rex, Ballerina. All sorts of stuff in the crowd.
Nice, can’t wait.
Since you guys began in the 70’s, there’s been countless of bands that have formed, reformed, broken up, retired etc. However, despite all of your ups and downs, you’re still creating new music and touring all over the world as if you’re still 22. I admire that about you guys. How has the ride been like for you?
Well it’s not easy, I’ll tell you that. We have had our ups and downs, and you know I thought I was retired at some point. But here I am, being full force thrown into it again. It started all 10 years ago, when we got Mark Tornillo, our new singer. He’s not really that new anymore. You know, life is just full of surprises sometimes. I would’ve never thought at my age that I would still be doing it. At some point I thought my music career was fun while it lasted, but time for something else. But here we are, doing it still, and again. It’s just crazy, it’s fun.
You look like you have a lot of fun while on the stage. I saw you in New York, it was awesome.
I mean, if it wasn’t fun we wouldn’t be doing it. I personally wouldn’t be doing it. There’s certainly an easier way to make a living, than playing music and traveling around the world. But I don’t think there’s anything that’s more fun than that, and no more fulfilling to me. I’ve done other things in my life, and again most of us have at some point or another. But I haven’t found anything that comes even close to the satisfaction, and the fulfillment of creating music in the studio and then performing it around the world. It’s just very, very satisfying.
Of course. Speaking of other projects, it took you about 20 years to make your second solo album. Do you have any plans to make a third one?
Yeah, in about 20 years. Then I’ll be like 90 or something. No, hold on – I’ll be 80 then. No, hopefully it won’t take that long. I don’t have any definite plans right now, but the next chance I get I definitely would love to do it. Yeah. Absolutely.
I believe the late Christopher Lee, he made a metal album when he was almost 90. So, anything’s possible.
Hey there’s hope, there’s hope.
Whether it was getting used to the new lineup changes, or overall return. In your opinion, which Accept album was the most challenging for you to make?
Oh gosh. There’s been some challenging times for us in the 90’s, when things were really going sour. Probably the albums Death Row or Predator were sort of the hardest, the worst time in our career. Of the overall vibe in the band, and the overall career standpoint. It was a very difficult time for any metal band in the 90’s because if you were around then, it was the time of grunge and alternative stuff. Nobody really wanted to have anything to do with traditional metal anymore, it was really weird.
That makes perfect sense. And you still managed to push through it and continued creating the albums…
We did it, we did it. But in retrospect, I’m not very proud of those albums. They were just good. Overall looking for, fishing for a new direction, and weren’t really happy or 100% certain of how we should go. So it was challenging. And there’s still some good songs on those albums, but it was overall not the best time in our career. But I’ll tell you these last 10 years now have been so strong, and so steady for us. I feel really proud about those last 4 albums that we’ve done, and the live releases alongside. So we really now, oddly enough, we’re in a better shape and form than ever before.
More power back, and you guys have been doing great. I enjoyed your latest album The Rise of Chaos.
Yeah, I feel that way, so thanks for saying that. Yeah I definitely feel that we’re right where we need to be, and we’ll just keep getting better.
You guys blew me away when I saw you in New York, I remember thinking, “how are these guys still doing this? This is amazing, I don’t have this energy at my age.”
Metal makes it possible.
If you can summarize Accept’s entire career as a film genre, what would it be?
As a what?
As a movie genre.
Movie genre? Can you even do that?
Are you guys a comedy, horror film, drama? Thriller?
There’s plenty of all of it. I mean there’s plenty of comedy, and there’s certainly plenty of drama in any musician’s career. I’ll tell you that. Don’t really know how to answer that question, I never thought about it. Just a little bit of everything. Little bit of drama, little bit of adventure, certainly plenty of that. Hopefully a lot of professionalism, but I don’t know a movie genre that would fit our career perfectly.
I’ll tell you that. A career so full of ups and downs, and sideways. It’s nothing ever like you think it is. It’s everyday life pretty much. You go through phases where everything goes really smooth, and then there come challenging times that you push through. And then it goes sideways, up and down, left and right. It’s just like a regular life. The career’s nothing very steady and solid ever. I mean, at least not ours.
So Accept is more like an extensive T.V series.
There you go. What do they call it? Like a binge series, like you can’t stop watching it. That’s our career.
There’s always something going on.
What are your plans for next year?
We will do more shows, with an orchestra. Only it’s not gonna be as big as Wacken, obviously, we’re gonna take it to indoor venues. Like concert halls, and theaters and such in Europe. And we’re booking shows like that right now, starting in Easter. Around Easter time. And we’re taking that around the world. I’m really looking forward to playing more shows with orchestras next year. At some point it’s also time to start on a new Accept album.
When are you planning on working on the new album? Is that going to be more for a 2020 release?
Yeah. It’s scheduled for release in 2020. But quite honestly, we haven’t even started yet. We’ve collected some ideas, and some song structures and things. But it’s still in my fantasy, this whole album.
Sometimes the last minute creations are the best pieces of work.
Anything else you want to say or add?
No, I’m just glad people are really responding so well to this live DVD that we’re, Symphonic Terror. Can’t wait for people to actually check it out in full length. I know you got to listen to some music, and maybe seen a few teasers. But at the end of the day, nobody’s really seen the full 2 hour concert DVD quite yet. So I’m quite excited about finally getting a chance for people to see that. And obviously I’m looking forward to the next year.