I had the pleasure of sitting down with Wolf Hoffman, the guitar legend behind long running metal band Accept. After taking a sabbatical, they reemerged with three heavy hitting albums. The last of which was Blind Rage (Nuclear Blast) for which they are still on tour. The band starts a brief leg of US tour dates at the legendary Badlands Club, in Sioux Falls SD this week, on March 3rd.
Wolf, you are on part 5 of the Blind Rage tour. Why so many parts?
“Just because that’s just how life goes sometimes. We came to an end just before Christmas and everybody took a little break. It’s sort of dictated by the world we live in I guess. Nobody really tours through Christmas. We surely didn’t, so we all went home and here we go again.”
Are you playing any cities for the first time this tour?
“No, we did some dates when we first started the tour for Blind Rage about a year and a half ago we did a few shows in California and New York.”
For you, what is the appeal of touring so much?
“That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day, you know. You make records for people to enjoy them. But, at the end of the day you want to go out there and play those songs and get the experience of being in front of people. That’s really the end goal always you know. If you want to take this a step further, the record is just a necessary thing we have to do to make this happen. It’s just a means. It’s never the end goal to me, anyhow. Really, just make records to go on tour.”
Would you prefer being on tour all the time to making records?
“No, that would be a little too extreme I think. There are artists that do that. They only make a record every, I don’t know, five or ten years. But that’s a little extreme. I enjoy making records; don’t get me wrong. It’s just at the end of the day the fun is always on the road.”
You are touring on Blind Rage but you also have a new solo album out this year. Tell us about that.
“This has been in the works forever and ever. I’ve always been busy with Accept I always go into the studio for a week here or there for years and years that I’ve been working on this. It’s finally now over Christmas I had the time to put it all together and put it in the can, so to say, to get it out of my system. It’s a follow up album to one I did in 1987 where I took some classical pieces and metalled them up for guitar. I did the same thing again. This time I took well- known classical pieces and rearranged them completely for rock instruments. This time around I worked with an orchestra from Prague, the Czech Republic. That was an amazing experience just to go over there and work with these guys. It’s going to come out soon, late spring.”
How has writing and rearranging a classical album expanded your writing for Accept?
“I think it all helps. It’s actually quite mind blowing to see the details of what these grand masters from two hundred years ago what they’ve actually written. You see how timeless the melodies and pieces. They are so good, so well written. They are mind blowing. You think, hopefully a little bit of that rubs off on you. At the end of the day you can’t compete with that at all. I’m a metal guitar player doing my thing. It pales in comparison to what Beethoven or Mozart did before. But, I do it for fun because I love it. It’s a passion.”
Was the arranging and writing on your own easier or harder than the process writing with Peter (Baltes, Accept bass player)?
“I was lucky enough to work with a guy from Italy. He’s a good friend. He plays piano. He’s really good at string arrangements. He and I pretty much work together like I work with Peter. Where the two of us sit in a room and we just hash out these ideas and bounce the ball back and forth. It was kind of similar in that respect. Only obviously the medium was way different because he was the guy writing all the string arrangements. I would just sort of tell him how I was hearing things in my mind and he was translating it to orchestra speak. To me it’s interesting to see how not so different it is even though it is a totally different medium. There’s an orchestra and nobody is singing obviously. And these are old time compositions but at the same time, a lot of times there are segments that sounds like Accept somehow just because of the guitars and drums and all that.”
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