Talking with the legendary Wolf Hoffmann, known to many music fans as the guitarist of German metal stalwarts, Accept proves to be like talking to an old friend. While Wolf is on the line to talk about the band’s forthcoming Australian tour and their brand new album, The Rise Of Chaos, we end up laughing and joking. Of course, when he learns that I am from Melbourne, he wants to talk about one of his greatest indulgences: his love for coffee, and more importantly, his love for cups of coffee made in Melbourne.
When he does get around to talking about The Rise Of Chaos, Wolf laughs when I mention that Heavy Mag gave the album five stars – “Is that five out of five or five out of ten because one means excellent and one means average,” he says, laughing loudly. I assure him that it was five out of five and he thanks me, and our discussion on all the ins-and-outs of the album begins.
“There is really nothing that we changed when we went about making this album,” he explains.
“We used the same producer, the same singer, the same label, and the same studio as we have in the past – at least on the past three albums. I wouldn’t really say that we have a formula or anything like that, but I’d say that we have found a way to work to put an album together that works for us and we didn’t really see a need to change anything about it. Even though we have two new members (Uwe Lulis – guitars, Christopher Williams – drums), it didn’t seem to change the way we went about things. It didn’t change the songwriting or the way we went about creating the album or anything. We just went about what we like to do.”
Our discussion leads to the fact that The Rise Of Chaos has some topical songs that really explore the world that we live in today. “We always try to have lyrics that have meaning,” agrees Wolf. “We want lyrics that speak to us as people. In other words, we want to write about subjects that you might see on the news or read about in the papers, things that come up in conversations. We never really write about fantasy or that kind of stuff, especially never rock ‘n’ roll clichés, we always want to try and have meaningful stuff. At the same time, it is important that we don’t really have a deep message or anything. This isn’t a concept album – this is just songs that are about subject matters that interest us personally that’s how we think when we come up with these things.”
We both begin to laugh when our chat turns to talking about the song on The Rise Of Chaos called “Analog Man”, which is about a modern day human have to deal with the digital age. “It’s a song that talks to a lot of people in our generation,” he says laughing. “We didn’t all grow up this technical shit. The song actually came from Mark, our lead singer because he is always bitching about technology – he has been saying that exact same phrase for years: ‘I’m an analog man living in a digital world’. He has always been mumbling that to himself and bitching to the world when he is facing digital issues with computers and such because he hates all that stuff. So when we were putting together the song, we went, ‘Hell, let’s go with that’ and it worked with a riff that we wrote, we pretty much wrote saying, ‘Well, let’s get Mark to sing about himself.’ He really is the analog man.”
As we talk about that track, in particular, I mention how much Mark sounds like Axl Rose on that track which makes Hoffmann laugh more. “We didn’t do anything different this time around,” he says. “We did spend more time on them, but we didn’t do anything dramatically different. Everything worked exactly the way they were supposed to, but we did go back and re-visit the vocals this time around…. that’s all!”
If you are a fan of Accept and plan on heading out to their shows in Australia later this year, then you definitely want to give The Rise Of Chaos a good listen because Hoffmann had this to say about their forthcoming tour. “We’re actually thinking about playing all the tracks from The Rise Of Chaos,” he says while we talk about the fact that all these tracks would sound great live. “We’re not quite sure because we haven’t started rehearsals for the tour yet because we’ve had this Wacken show coming up, but straight after that, the album comes out, and we start rehearsing. But I think you are right; theoretically, all of these songs could be performed live quite well. We also always have a great collection of the old stuff which we will bring this time for sure. There are some songs that an Accept show just wouldn’t be complete without. There is a list of songs like ‘Prince Of The Dawn’ that fans just want to hear and they will get them for sure… we will really bring it. There will be a good collection of old and new; there will be stuff from the ’80s all the way through to the last three or four albums now.”
Hoffmann admits travelling to Australia has its ups and downs, and one of those downs is the flight here. “I’m not looking forward to that plane trip,” he explains. “Nobody does, especially the way they treat you on those airlines. We’ve had everything happen with planes. Not long ago, I had to sleep on an airport floor with my wife, believe it or not, because our flight was cancelled. We were coming back to Europe, and our flight was cancelled, but there were no hotels or anything like that, so we had to spend the f**king night sleeping on an airport floor, that is pretty f**king bad! Then on planes, we’ve had everything happen as well. Luckily never anything like planes on fire or anything but a lot of stuff has happened. Especially on some of the exotic airlines, in Russia in the early days or in South American, you get on the plane, and you think, ‘Hmmm… are we going to get out of this thing alive at the end, how is this going to end?’But I think it is all worth it because it is beautiful down there and I personally love the fact that you guys have the best coffee in the world. I’m a coffee junkie, so I am really looking forward to not only the shows but also the greatest coffee in the world. Why is it that coffee is such a treasure in Australia? Every hotel has good hotel, anywhere else and hotels have lousy coffee, but in Australia everywhere we went had the best coffee that I have ever had, it is better than Starbucks or any of that shit. I was blown away, and I kept thinking ‘why Australia?’ I had never heard of this.”
Accept will be touring Australia through September. The Rise Of Chaos is out now.