|Also known as||Band X (1968–1976)|
|Origin||Solingen, West Germany|
|Past members||Udo Dirkschneider|
Accept are a German heavy metal band from the town of Solingen, formed in 1976 by guitarist Wolf Hoffmann and former members Udo Dirkschneider (vocals) and Peter Baltes (bass). Their beginnings can be traced back to the late 1960s, when the band got its start under the name Band X. Accept's lineup has changed over the years, which has included different singers, guitarists, bassists and drummers.
Their current lineup consists of Hoffmann, vocalist Mark Tornillo, guitarists Uwe Lulis and Philip Shouse, drummer Christopher Williams and bassist Martin Motnik. Before arriving at their current lineup, Accept has undergone numerous lineup changes, being Hoffmann the last remaining original member since its inception, and he is the only band member to appear on each album.
Accept played an important role in the development of speed and thrash metal, and they were part of the German heavy metal scene, which emerged in the early to mid-1980s. They have also been cited as an influence or inspiration by a number of acts, including Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Pantera, Testament, Anthrax, Guns N' Roses, Mötley Crüe, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Overkill, Exodus, and Annihilator, as well as fellow Germans such as Helloween, Blind Guardian, Doro, Sodom, Rage, and Grave Digger. Accept achieved its first commercial success with their fifth studio album Balls to the Wall (1983), which is the band's only album to be certified gold in the United States and Canada, and spawned their well-known hit "Balls to the Wall".
Accept have broken up and reformed multiple times. They first split up in 1989, several months after the release of Eat the Heat (which was their only album with Dirkschneider's initial replacement David Reece), but reformed in 1992 and released three more albums before disbanding again in 1997. After briefly reuniting in 2005, Accept announced their third reunion in 2009, with former T.T. Quick frontman Mark Tornillo replacing Dirkschneider (who declined to participate), and the band has recorded five albums with him: Blood of the Nations (2010), Stalingrad (2012), Blind Rage (2014), The Rise of Chaos (2017) and Too Mean to Die (2021); each of those albums renewed Accept's popularity in Germany and entered the top ten charts there.
Early years (1968–1982)
Accept's beginnings can be traced back to 1968 when Udo Dirkschneider and Michael Wagener formed a local band called Band X, which eventually changed its name to Accept, influenced by a record of the same name by Chicken Shack. For many years, Accept went through numerous line-up changes. This instability essentially kept the band on an amateur level, making sporadic appearances in festival concerts. Accept's professional career began in 1976, with Udo Dirkschneider, Wolf Hoffmann, Gerhard Wahl, Peter Baltes, and Frank Friedrich, when they were invited to play at one of the first rock and roll festivals in Germany — Rock am Rhein. Following the festival the band were offered a recording deal. Their first recording was the self-titled Accept album, which was released in 1979, but did not achieve much commercial success.
The first stable line-up of Accept was composed of vocalist Udo Dirkschneider, guitarists Wolf Hoffmann and Gerhard Wahl, bassist Peter Baltes and drummer Frank Friedrich. Friedrich and Wahl quit the band after the release of Accept and were replaced by Stefan Kaufmann and Jörg Fischer. This line-up recorded I'm a Rebel in 1980. The title track originally was written for AC/DC and recorded by the band but never released by them. The album brought some media attention, the band being invited to make a televised appearance.
In 1981, their next album, Breaker, was released, and the band employed manager Gaby Hauke. Accept also joined Judas Priest's World Wide Blitz Tour and obtained attention outside of Europe for the first time.
Restless and Wild was released in 1982, although Jörg Fischer quit the band a short time before the recording took place. Jan Koemmet was hired as guitarist, but departed from the band before the recording of the album. Restless and Wild saw an evolution in the band's sound, which incorporated characteristics defining the genre later dubbed speed metal. Gaby Hauke was credited as "Deaffy" on two of the tracks.
Mainstream success (1983–1987)
Accept's next album, Balls to the Wall, was released in 1983, now with guitarist Herman Frank (ex-Sinner). The album was more conceptual, and included lyrical themes about politics, sexuality and human relationships. For example, "Balls to the Wall" refers to slaves revolting against oppressing masters, while "Fight It Back" is about social misfits fighting against conformity. All songs were credited to Accept and "Deaffy". Deaffy was manager Gaby Hauke's pseudonym as the band's lyricist, although she did not officially claim ownership until the band had broken up for the second time.
During a 1983 show in their hometown, the band met Jörg Fischer by chance and on Hauke's insistence, Fischer rejoined the band. A world tour followed through 1984, including the Monsters of Rock festival. By this time, the band was supported by Bad Steve, a band which was led by former Accept and Band X members Dieter Rubach, Jan Koemmet and Frank Friedrich. The band also opened for Iron Maiden on their World Slavery Tour.
Metal Heart was released in 1985. Produced by Scorpions producer Dieter Dierks, it presented the band's creative peak. Accept toured the world supporting the album, and documented the live shows with the live mini-album Kaizoku-Ban.
The follow up, Russian Roulette, was released in 1986. In 1987, Udo Dirkschneider was fired from the band, and later decided to embark on a solo career. Supporting this decision, the songwriting team in Accept wrote his entire solo album, released in 1987 as Animal House under the band moniker U.D.O.
David Reece period and first hiatus (1988–1991)
Parallel to work on Animal House, Accept started to audition vocalists. The band tried out a few singers, including Michael White, Ken Tamplin, and Baby Tuckoo singer Rob Armitage, whom they even featured in promo photos and metal magazine interviews, and also recorded demos with. Armitage also performed live with the band and one of the shows with him was reviewed by Metal Hammer magazine. However, American vocalist David Reece was chosen and this new line-up recorded and released Eat the Heat in 1989. Accept toured in support of the album that year with bands like Metal Church, W.A.S.P., Danzig and Armored Saint.
Accept's career came to a sudden halt, when Stefan Kaufmann sustained a serious injury to his back during the tour in support of the album. He was briefly replaced by House of Lords drummer Ken Mary for the remainder of the US tour. By the time the tour ended in late 1989, the band decided that without Kaufmann, and with differences surfacing with Reece, it was time to cease their activities for the time being.
Reunion with Dirkschneider (1992–1996)
The live album Staying a Life, recorded in 1985, was released in 1990 as a souvenir celebrating their career.
A few years later the ex-members met with Dirkschneider and decided to relaunch the band with core members Hoffmann, Kaufmann, Dirkschneider and Baltes.
Their comeback album, Objection Overruled, was released in 1993 and was a qualified success in Europe and the United States. A world tour followed, and another album, entitled Death Row, was released in 1994. Kaufmann became unable to play once again due to his recurring back injury and Stefan Schwarzmann became the temporary replacement.
Predator was recorded in 1996, in Nashville, with Udo's long time (school) friend and producer Michael Wagener at the helm and with Michael Cartellone (from Damn Yankees) guesting on drums. Accept's tour supporting Predator took place in North America, South America, Europe and Asia, with their last concert in Tokyo, Japan.
Second hiatus and brief reunion (1997–2005)
Between 1997 and 2005, all the members continued working on their own projects. In 2005, Accept received an invitation from various European promoters for a short summer European Festival tour with Accept's classic line-up (Hoffmann, Baltes, Dirkschneider, Frank and Schwarzmann). These festivals turned out to be a stunning success, with the last show on 27 August 2005 in Kavarna, Bulgaria, at the Kaliakra Rock Fest.
Asked in May 2007 by Lords of Metal if Accept were planning on writing and recording new material in the near future, Dirkschneider replied:
That would be a problem. You know, it's easy to play the old songs, because they already exist. Especially for me it was easier, because I still do those classics with U.D.O., but for some of the guys it was a bit harder. But everybody did a great job on stage. I understand that people want a new Accept album, but composing songs together would have been a disaster. That way we would destroy more than we would create. We have a good relationship now and it's best to keep it that way.
On 14 May 2009, Udo Dirkschneider officially announced that he would not be participating in the rumoured Accept reunion.
Return with Mark Tornillo and Blood of the Nations (2009–2011)
At the end of May 2009, rumours again surfaced of a possible Accept reformation, when bassist Peter Baltes revealed he spent a weekend at his house in Pennsylvania "shredding away" with guitarist Wolf Hoffmann. "Something amazing is in the works", Baltes explained. "As soon as I can, I'll let everybody know. Let's make the 'Metal Heart' beat again."
A new album was written and recorded with Andy Sneap (of Megadeth, Sabbat, BLAZE, Exodus, Testament, Arch Enemy and Onslaught fame) as producer. Titled Blood of the Nations, it was the first original Accept album in fourteen years.
The new line-up made their live debut on 8 May 2010 at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City, their first American concert in fifteen years.
On 21 May 2010, the video for "Teutonic Terror" was number 5 on the worldwide video charts in all genres on MySpace, topping such artists as Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Christina Aguilera. The video also topped the MySpace Global Metal Charts at number 1.
On 13 June 2010, Accept opened for AC/DC in Stuttgart, Germany, and on 25 June 2010, they headlined the Sonisphere festival in Romania and Turkey. With a set of over two hours, classics like "Balls to the Wall", "Metal Heart" and "Princess of the Dawn" were played along with the new album material. Blood of the Nations was released in Europe on 20 August 2010, and made a chart debut at number 4 in the official German Media Control Charts, the band's second highest chart debut in their career.
Blood of the Nations was released on 4 September 2010 in Japan, and on 18 September in the United States. Accept spent 80 days on a summer tour traveling over 65,000 km and playing for over 450,000 fans. In October, the band appeared at the prestigious Japanese Festival LOUDPARK outside of Tokyo to 40,000 fans along with Ozzy Osbourne, Motörhead and Stone Sour.
Within a month of the release of Blood of the Nations, Wolf Hoffmann told "Metal Asylum": "We are already thinking about and writing for the next record. We've all missed doing Accept and we realized we missed doing this. Of course we are not 20 years old anymore and not ready to do just anything to be successful, we're not that desperate. [laughs] We are looking to do what makes sense and that's fun."
Stalingrad and Blind Rage (2012–2014)
On 8 April 2013, Wolf Hoffmann told Chile's Radio Futuro that Accept had begun writing new material for their fourteenth studio album and would "definitely go back to the studio as soon as [they] can." Four months later, on 9 August at the Bloodstock Open Air festival 2013, Wolf told Metal Shock Finland:
Our upcoming album is hopefully going to be out next year. We've started working on writing some songs; we haven't recorded anything yet. But over the winter — maybe early next year — we'll start recording it and try to make it every bit as good as the last one, maybe even better, if we succeed, we'll see... It's going to be as heavy as the rest.
Accept released their fourteenth studio album Blind Rage on 15 August 2014 and on their world tour, they played in Australia for the very first time. Blind Rage became Accept's first album to debut at number one on the charts in their home country.
Departures of two members and The Rise of Chaos (2014–2017)
On 5 June 2015, prior to the band's performance at the South Park festival in Tampere, Finland, bassist Peter Baltes told Kaaos TV that Accept planned to begin work on a new album after the conclusion of the Blind Rage tour. Asked in a July 2015 interview about the band's future, guitarist Wolf Hoffmann replied, "We will continue for a few more weeks, this run of touring, and then we'll take a little break and come back in the fall, but we're pretty much wrapping up the Blind Rage tour at this point; it's the very last phase of this whole cycle. And then the next album will have to be written and to be recorded, and how long that's gonna take and when that's all gonna happen, who knows? But it'll happen; that's all I know." Hoffmann stated that the new album would be released around July or August 2017. Like their previous three albums, the album was produced by Andy Sneap, making it Accept's fourth collaboration with him. On 16 April 2017, Accept announced that the album, titled The Rise of Chaos, would be released on 4 August.
Split with Peter Baltes, Too Mean to Die and next album (2018–present)
In a September 2018 interview with The Foundry, guitarist Wolf Hoffmann confirmed that Accept had begun the songwriting process for the follow-up to The Rise of Chaos. He stated, "We started putting down some riffs here and there, but the majority of the stuff will happen after we stop touring, because it's really hard to do this on the road for me."
On 27 November 2018, bassist Peter Baltes announced that he had left Accept after 42 years as a member. According to the band, "Peter needed a change in his life and we wish him all the best. He will always be part of the Accept family and to honor his tribute to music history, we should all wish him well." With Baltes' departure, Hoffmann remains the last member of the original lineup in the band.
Baltes was filled in on bass by Danny Silvestri for the band's performance at the 2019 edition of the 70000 Tons of Metal cruise. On 16 April 2019, former Uli Jon Roth sideman Martin Motnik was announced as Baltes' permanent replacement. Three days later, Accept released a special seven-inch single called "Life's a Bitch", which was their first song in two years and first one without Baltes.
On 1 November 2019, Accept announced that Philip Shouse, previously a touring member, had joined the band as their third guitarist, thus converting Accept to a sextet.
On 2 October 2020, Accept released "The Undertaker" as the first single from their upcoming sixteenth studio album Too Mean to Die, released on 29 January 2021. Their sixteenth studio album Too Mean To Die only narrowly missed the top of the German charts. It was recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic in Nashville and produced by Andy Sneap in the UK. About their then-new album, the band said: "We are too mean to die! Weeds don't go away! Accept won't get down!" Touring in support of the album began July 2, 2021 at Penn's Peak in Pennsylvania. The touring cycle of Too Mean to Die will last for nearly two years, which will include a headlining U.S. tour in the fall of 2022 with Narcotic Wasteland, followed by a European tour in January and February 2023 with Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons. The latter tour was initially scheduled to take place in January and February 2022, but the COVID-19 pandemic meant that it would be postponed to a year.
On 17 February 2022, Accept announced that they had signed a worldwide deal with Napalm Records. In July, Hoffmann announced that the band has begun working on new material for the follow-up to Too Mean to Die.
- Wolf Hoffmann – lead guitar, backing vocals (1976–1989, 1992–1997, 2005, 2009–present)
- Mark Tornillo – lead vocals (2009–present)
- Uwe Lulis – rhythm guitar (2015–present)
- Christopher Williams – drums (2015–present)
- Martin Motnik – bass (2019–present)
- Philip Shouse – third guitar (2019–present)
- Studio albums
- Accept (1979)
- I'm a Rebel (1980)
- Breaker (1981)
- Restless and Wild (1982)
- Balls to the Wall (1983)
- Metal Heart (1985)
- Russian Roulette (1986)
- Eat the Heat (1989)
- Objection Overruled (1993)
- Death Row (1994)
- Predator (1996)
- Blood of the Nations (2010)
- Stalingrad (2012)
- Blind Rage (2014)
- The Rise of Chaos (2017)
- Too Mean to Die (2021)
In popular culture
In season four of Stranger Things, Eddie Munson wears an Accept pin on his vest.
Accept songs in other media
- Songs from Breaker album
- The German 1982 movie Night of the Wolves included an excerpt of "Starlight" as well as a glimpse of the album cover for Breaker as the female lead puts the record on. "Run if You Can" is also featured in the film, and both songs appeared on the soundtrack album.
- PlayStation 2 game Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s
- PSP/PS2 game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
- Downloadable content for the multi platform guitar teaching game Rocksmith
- Film The Wrestler (2008)
- Film Balls to the Wall (2011) directed by Penelope Spheeris
- TV show Beavis and Butt-Head episode "Tornado", in which the title characters ridicule the video
- The mission in GTA Online called "Ballas to the Wall", is a reference to the song.
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