Interviews > Accept
Interview by Athena Schaffer

Accept’s glaring absence from the Metal scene was merely an ominous Calm before the Storm, as these Teutonic Terrors are back with a vengeance! This is clearly evidenced on their first studio album in over a decade, Blood of the Nations (Nuclear Blast) – infused with pure Power and pandemically infectious musicianship.

Check out the video for the song “Teutonic Terror” here.

Original Accept founding members – guitarist Wolf Hoffman and bassist Peter Baltes – have added some new blood to the mix, joined this time around by vocalist Mark Tornillo, guitarist Herman Frank, and drummer Stefan Schwarzmann. This chemistry indeed makes the band a force to be reckoned with.

“Something amazing has happened,” Wolf exclaimed. “We seem to have been transformed from one world into another…these new songs simply bursted out of a vault that has been locked up for too long! We’re not sure where Blood of the Nations and all this new excitement will ultimately take us; we only know one thing: we never had it this good!”

The band’s manager, Gaby Hoffman, has been the band’s longtime lyricist, but passed the torch to Mark for Blood of Nations.

Gaby explained, “We are so grateful, that Mark did that big step to become also the lyricist for ACCEPT, I don't know if YOU know, but I have been ACCEPT's lyricist forever. But, when I got to know Mark - I felt it would be wrong to make him sing my lyrics and I am glad I did.”

The Crowgrrl was lucky enough to catch up with both Wolf and Mark via e-mail during the current whirlwind of activity for this awesome band!

Most of the songs on Blood of the Nations are very anthemic! Your title track seems to be thanking soldiers for preserving freedom. Can you tell us more about this one?

MARK : The music on this track sounded very military to me right from the start. Almost like a march. I thought it would be a nice idea to make it a tribute to those who protect us all around the world. I also thought it would be inspirational for them to be able to sing it in the first person. I certainly don't condone war, but I feel that those who give so much of themselves to preserve our freedom deserve our support, our respect and our gratitude.

"Shades of Death" has a horror-movie feel to it. What is the story behind that one?

MARK: It sounded like a horror movie to me as well. There is an actual road called "Shades of Death" in my home state of New Jersey. I stumbled upon it one day by coincidence and again one day on the internet. The story unfolded before my eyes. One of murder, mayhem and hauntings. It seemed too good to be true but it is. The song was quite easy to write after that. I don't think I'd like to drive that road at night and listen to it!

Both "New World Comin’" and "No Shelter" seem to have a similar message: that you can't outrun the Reaper. Tell us more?

MARK: "New World Comin' " definitely sends the message that you're only here for a short time and you can't stop the world from changing around you. At best, you can change with it, enjoy the ride and try to leave some good behind you. "No Shelter" was written during the Wall Street fiasco. We, like most people, were not too happy about it and the song started to take shape around it. Then guys like Bernie Madoff [] started falling from the sky and it really took on another dimension. It's really an angry song.

"Kill The Pain" goes in a different musical and lyrical direction than the rest of the album?!

MARK : This song started as an instrumental that Wolf had written. Andy Sneap [] thought it had the potential to be a nice ballad and suggested that I take a crack at writing some lyrics for it. The music sounded extremely mournful to me and I drew on one of the most sorrowful times in my life. In 2007, one of my wife's closest friends was brutally murdered by what turned out to be a serial killer. It was the kind of thing you saw on tv but never thought it could happen that close to home. It rocked our world and there was no consoling my wife. At times I wondered if things would ever be the same again. You just had to try and get to the next day, one at a time. But as the song says, "All wounds are healed in time." Some leave bigger scars than others.

"Teutonic Terror" conjures images of a barbaric horde; why did the video bring more modern warfare images to it?

MARK: It was written with that barbaric horde in mind but when it came time to shoot the video, we wanted to stay away from any story line and concentrate on the band and the music. The director, Dave Blass, suggested the military graveyard that we shot in and we loved the idea. Fire and tanks ! What's more "Metal" than that?

What's your personal favorite song on the new album?

MARK: I'm not sure. It changes from day to day. I really like all of them and that's a first for me. Maybe "The Abyss" or "Time Machine" or "Bucketful of Hate". It's like picking which one of your kids you like best.

How did this rejuvenated line-up come about?

WOLF: Mark Tornillo came into our life, when Peer and I had a jam session in Philadelphia. None of us could foresee at that moment, that this would change our life. We have been off the table as a band since July 1996! Some one said it brilliantly: Accept is like a caged animal....finally freed! Mark sure inspired us, but Producer Andy Sneap UNLOCKED US! NO DOUBT ABOUT IT! Andy came into our life like Mark - totally unexpected and by sheer incident. He is our best friend and we never had a better time.

Who does most of the songwriting for the band?

WOLF: Peter and I.

Do the lyrics come first? Does the music come first? What is the songwriting process like for you?

WOLF: No, we always have the music first and with Mark being so totally on our wave length it was as if we have done this all our life together..... mind boggling!

Any stories behind the cover art?

WOLF: Show me the sign of victory - remember? But victories today are hard to come by... seems a very bloody business. Freedom is surely more expensive than ever.

Any more North American tour plans?

WOLF: Absolutely - we will be back in April after a quite extensive European tour! We can’t wait! Our Meet & Greet tour, last gig Key Club, in L.A. has been a love fest. The reaction of the fans, simply knocked us out!

What is your live show like? (I recently interviewed Doro, and she had some glowing things to say about your live show!)

WOLF: It feels like the first time, so to speak ...we are happy to be onstage and with Mark we get everything we need to set us free. We did shows sometime 2 1/2 hours long and could have played on ... and on! I guess best is we let the fans do the talking and I guess they did! We are very humbled about the reactions world wide. We toured in 17 countries and performed from living room size clubs to huge festivals - all in about 6 month! 12 month ago, we did not know anything about all this...WE ARE LIVING THE DREAM!!

Does your live set list contain mostly songs from Blood of the Nations, or your other albums?

WOLF: No, we did very few but the next tour will have more songs from the new album.

What kinds of merch did you take out with you this time?

WOLF: T-shirts, sweat shirts, tanks, poster, photos and CDs.

What do you do on your "down-time" on the road? Do you bring movies or videogames? If so, which ones?

WOLF: We are so busy - there is not much down time. We have never given so many interviews, never! The traveling has been insane. But, we go to the gym and as I say mostly we are all working.

Any long-form DVD plans?

WOLF: Plans yes, but it is too early to say ...

How hands-on are you with your Website and Myspace pages?

WOLF : We are very involved and work very close with a few people – our manager Gaby is in the driver's seat in all other aspects, but the website etc. is more Peter's and my department. There is no day long enough and we have not had a minute to reflect on what is happening to us. The preparations for the January tour have already begun… it's crazy, but good !

Is there anything that I didn't ask that you want to tell fans?

WOLF: Much to say, but most of all - people should know, that this has been our most exciting and unexpected time in our lives. We are stunned and overwhelmed and very inspired! We are so fired up and we hope, we can get the show a notch up! See ya in 2011!