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ACCEPT

Current Members

Past Members

Biography

ACCEPT is a Solingen based, ultra Heavy Metal band dating from its creation by frontman Udo Dirkschneider, a native of Wuppertal, in 1971 that has, in its time, produced some absolute classic albums of the genre and is unarguably recognised as one of the leading names in the history of German Hard Rock.

ACCEPT's initial line-up comprised the aforementioned Dirkschneider, guitarists Michael Wagener and Jan Komet along with drummer Birke Hoe. The band was originally titled BAND X upon its formation in 1968, becoming ACCEPT in 1971. Later additions would be bassist Dieter Rubach and drummer Frank Friedrich. However, during 1975 Komet made his exit, later to form BAD STEVE.

ACCEPT really began to take shape with the addition of teenage axe slinger Wolf Hoffmann, from the Wuppertal based BAAL, second guitarist Gerhard Wahl and ex-PYTHAGORAS bassist Peter Baltes in 1976. Wagener's part in the story was far from over though as he would quickly go on to become a renowned Heavy Metal producer. ACCEPT's head start into the Rock world came courtesy of coming third place in a Düsseldorf band competition. The prize was a recording deal which resulted in the debut album.

The band would settle on second guitarist Jörg Fischer and drummer Stefan Kaufmann during 1978. Both Fischer and Kaufmann had previously played in FRENZY and the strangely titled FATHERS OF INTENTION. The 'Accept' album kicked off the band's recording career in January 1979.

The band's earliest albums, whilst hinting at glories to come, tended to be of a distinctly more poppier and anthemic nature than the of Rock the band would become synonymous with. It was with the third album, 'Breaker', where ACCEPT got the breaks and soon gained notoriety for the lyrics to the track 'Son Of A Bitch' which had to be re-recorded, not so much for radio play but more to please the censors.

By the release of 'Breaker' in March 1981 Dirkschneider had developed his vocals into an unmistakable ear piercing siren wail complemented by the gruffest of smoker's coughs which soon became an ACCEPT trademark alongside the distinctive lead playing of Hoffmann.

Despite being only known to a small handful of import buyers, ACCEPT self financed a 1981 British support tour to JUDAS PRIEST which instantly won the critics over despite almost complete lack of record company promotion. So much so that in most venues the band were billed as 'ATTACK'! And the tour also had other costs, personality clashes leading to the departure of Fischer on the tour's completion.

During this period of transition ACCEPT recorded what is widely acknowledged to be one of the most outrageously over the top Heavy Metal albums ever. Blessed with crushing guitars, Dirkschneider's banshee wail and overtly classical influences, fourth album 'Restless And Wild', arriving in December 1982, stylistically set the foundations for the rest of their career.

'Restless And Wild' gained widespread underground kudos thanks to the generation of thousands of pre-release bootleg cassettes traded between fans months upfront of the official launch. Upon it's release Hoffman soon found a replacement for Fischer playing in a local band and thus one Herman Frank joined in time for a world tour, with the record gaining an official release in Britain through Heavy Metal Records sporting a brand new sleeve.

Problems between the band and Udo Dirkschneider resulted in ACCEPT covertly auditioning possible replacements. ACCEPT auditioned STEELER vocalist Karl Holthaus upon producer Dieter Dierks recommendation, but eventually settled their differences with Dirkschneider without the media getting wind of the original problem.

In spite of their star rapidly ascending ACCEPT were already suffering tensions within the band that would plague their career. According to unsubstantiated reports in 1983 Dirkschneider was briefly replaced by Englishman Mark Kelser. Dirkschneider apparently soon rejoined the ranks and Kelser travelled home to create CARRERA.

With their profile growing on a world-wide basis, ACCEPT split with their German label Brain and were signed to Lark Records in Germany and Epic Records internationally. The resulting album 'Balls To The Wall', issued in Europe during December 1983, whilst building on the success of the band, did raise questions due to the sometimes bizarre lyrical content of cuts such as 'London Leatherboys' and it's perceived gay macho sleeve photo. Still, the rumour mongering failed to prevent ACCEPT from further success and the band toured constantly, including American tours with MÖTLEY CRÜE, KISS and OZZY OSBOURNE, as well as putting in a highly creditable performance at the 1984 'Monsters Of Rock' festival at Donington Park in Britain.

With the touring completed the band was to swiftly part company with Herman Frank who would pursue playing roles in HAZZARD, SINNER, VICTORY and MOON' DOC. With the latter outfit Frank released one album prior to joining ECHOPARK with ex-ZENO vocalist Michael Flechsig and former ELOY bassist Klaus-Peter Matziol.

'Balls To The Wall's successor, March 1985's 'Metal Heart', produced by long-time SCORPIONS mentor Dieter Dierks and seeing Jörg Fischer re-nstalled on guitar, continued the trend of experimentation whilst still retaining the band's trademark heaviness, even segueing Tchaikovsky and Beethoven's 'Für Elise' into the title track. 'Metal Heart' continued the upward trend in ACCEPT's popularity, resulting in their first tour of Japan which was later commemorated with the release of a live album, 'Kaizoku - Ban' (which, translated, means 'Bootleg'), recorded in Japan and issued in 1985. ACCEPT quickly released a brand new studio album, 'Russian Roulette', in March 1986.

The record was to enter the German national charts at number 10, ACCEPT again undertook a mammoth world tour including British dates with opening act DOKKEN and a German tour with UFO as support. ACCEPT's show routine during these dates including the band goose-stepping on stage for their encores! Dirkschneider in particular cut a unique figure decked out in military fatigues with a sidearm truncheon. However, much to fan's dismay Dirkschneider announced his displeasure at his belief in ACCEPT's more recent commercial leanings and left the band to form U.D.O.

In a bizarre twist U.D.O.'s debut album featured a repertoire built up of entirely ACCEPT songs deemed too heavy for 'Russian Roulette's successor! The first U.D.O. album proved a success notching up sales of 60'000 in Germany alone.

At this juncture the ACCEPT went into a period of flux, surprisingly announcing a new vocalist in the form of ex-BABY TUCKOO frontman Rob Armitage. However, as fans and press wondered how Armitage's much smoother vocal could possibly fit in within the confines of ACCEPT's material his departure was announced prior to anything being recorded. Also within this period it was revealed in later years that ACCEPT had briefly employed MICHAEL WHITE, previously of THE BOYZ,

Eventually the band settled on Minneapolis native and ex DARE FORCE frontman David Reece and released 'Eat The Heat' in 1989. ACCEPT toured America in alliance with W.A.S.P. but found achieving album sales without Dirkschneider tough going. Surprisingly, Jörg Fisher also returned to the fold only to leave shortly afterwards! The guitarist was to later be found in BILLIONAIRES BOYS CLUB and then CONGRESS.

Another American, Jim Stacey filled in the guitar parts for the 'Eat To The Heat' record, although the subsequent tour was a disaster, with Baltes and Reece coming to blows and Kaufmann, afflicted with a muscular disease, being replaced on the road by FIFTH ANGEL's Ken Mary. It was inevitable that news would emerge that ACCEPT had called it a day in the wake of such incidents.

Whilst Wolf Hoffman retired from music to practice photography, Peter Baltes surfaced alongside both former EUROPE guitarist JOHN NORUM and ex DOKKEN frontman DON DOKKEN's solo project, whilst Stefan Kaufmann renewed his interest in production, including handling the desk on two U.D.O. albums 'Mean Machine' and 'Faceless World'.

David Reece meanwhile put together the infinitely more commercial BANGALORE CHOIR which released only one album before the singer returned to action with the heavier SIRCLE OF SILENCE.

ACCEPT ,however, maintained their hardcore fan following throughout this period which, as well as blighting Dirkschneider's solo career, provided a constant demand for more records. Thus, in 1990, Kaufmann produced tapes of ACCEPT's 1985 Japanese dates in a thundering live album 'Staying A Life'. Sales proved beyond doubt the unflagging world-wide interest in the band and in 1993 the various members succumbed to pressure and reformed. Kaufmann during the interim turned up as drummer for Thrash act TOXIN but would return to ACCEPT.

The subsequent album 'Objection Overruled' witnessed a return to straight down the line Metal. ACCEPT's world tour to promote it's release saw the band playing in such far flung territories as America, Japan, South America, Russia, Bulgaria and naturally Western Europe. The band was to have added ex VENGEANCE guitarist Arjen Lucassen for live work but despite press announcements this liaison never transpired.

Newly installed on drums in 1994 would be Stefan Schwarzmann. Buoyed by their successful return, the band chose to record yet another studio album, 'Death Row', but it lost the band some momentum as fans deemed the band to have bowed to pressure from the Grunge explosion and slightly softened their approach. Interestingly, the British Rock scene had become so deflated in general around the time of 'Death Row's launch that this album did not get officially released in Britain.

However, a 1996 album, 'Predator', recorded in New York, saw ACCEPT back to their full Metal glory. Drums on this album were handled by DAMN YANKEE's Michael Cartellone and, in a radical change for latter day fans, Peter Baltes took over lead vocals for a number of tracks. (In fact Baltes had previously taken on vocal duties for a brace of tracks on ACCEPT's debut album).

In the wake of the 'Predator' tour confusion reigned as to the band's status as seemingly ACCEPT was put on ice. Dirkschneider, never one to rest on his laurels, was quick to issue a further solo album 'Solid' in 1997.

With ACCEPT's profile at their highest since the glory days of the mid 80s, Norwegian Black Metal exponents DIMMU BORGIR paid homage by including a rip roaring version of 'Metal Heart' on their 1998 mini album 'Godless Savage Garden'.

The band's third live album found a release in 1997 as ACCEPT stifled the rumours and announced that they were still very much a going concern. Udo issued a further U.D.O. album 'Holy' on his new label Nuclear Blast, the label preceding this with an epic ACCEPT tribute album that included homages from HAMMERFALL, AXXIS, GRAVE DIGGER, PRIMAL FEAR, SINNER and SODOM amongst others. HAMMERFALL's track 'Head Over Heels' featured a vocal duet with Herr Dirkschneider. During 2000 Schwarzmann would add another port of call to his list of bands by joining VOICE.

The overwhelming success of the debut tribute affair prompted Nuclear Blast to issue a second volume during 2001.Along such acts as THERION, ROUGH SILK, WITCHERY, RAISE HELL, AGENT STEEL and DARKANE all paying homage the album novelly saw the U.D.O. band covering 'X.T.C.', a track culled from the only Udo Dirkschneider-less ACCEPT album, 1989's 'Eat The Heat'.

Ongoing demand for ACCEPT product would be met in July of 2002 with the DVD release 'Metal Blast From The Past'. The release compiled previously unreleased tracks, a rare Japan bonus track 'Rich And Famous' alongside demo takes of five 'Breaker' album cuts. Video material included a live gig from Osaka, a documentary of the group's debut Japanese tour as well as footage from ACCEPT's show in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1983.

ACCEPT reunited in October of 2004, confirming a headline appearance the 2005 edition of the 'Rock Hard' magazine festival and 'Wacken Open Air' events, set to take place mid May at the Amphitheater in Gelsenkirchen. A rash of gigs across Russia in April preceded these events. The band line-up initially comprised Dirkschneider, Hoffman, Frank, Baltes and U.D.O. drummer Francesco Jovino, the latter before the show supplanted by ACCEPT veteran Stefan Schwarzmann, topped a billing comprising OVERKILL, THE HAUNTED, CHILDREN OF BODOM, UNLEASHED, AMON AMARTH, MASTERPLAN, ENSIFERUM and HEAVEN SHALL BURN. ACCEPT's live campaign reached further, adding dates at the Sölvesborg 'Sweden Rock' event, the Italian 'Gods Of Metal' show and Finland's 'Tuska' festival plus Japanese shows in July. Schwarzmann joined the live band of fabled ex-SCORPIONS guitarist ULI JON ROTH for live work later that year.

Wolf Hoffman joined ex-SKID ROW singer SEBASTIAN BACH for a one-off performance at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York on 26th November. Naturally a version of ACCEPT's 'Balls To The Wall' was included. It would be revealed later that year that Hoffman, together with MICHAEL SCHENKER and ULI JON ROTH, was in negotations to conduct a "German G3" tour of Europe in 2006. The guitarist also expressed his desire to pursue new music with ACCEPT, but this proposal was scotched by Udo Dirkschneider. Former ACCEPT drummer Stefan Schwarzmann joined Swiss veterans KROKUS in 2006.

December 2nd 2006 saw Udo Dirkschneider forming up a one off "all-star" Metal band assembled for a 'Sweden Rock' concert at Stockholm's Nalen venue. Joining him for this performance would be guitarists Ryan Roxie, of the ALICE COOPER band, SLASH'S SNAKEPIT and ELECTRIC ANGELS, Oscar Dronjak of HAMMERFALL, Janne Stark of OVERDRIVE, LOCOMOTIVE BREATH and MOUNTAIN OF POWER, Mia Coldheart of CRUCIFIED BARBARA, bass player Nalle Påhlsson of TREAT and ZAN CLAN plus EUROPE drummer Ian Haugland.

A stripped down acoustic version of 'Balls To The Wall' was contributed to the 'VH1 Metal Mania Stripped Volume 3' compilation album issued through Sidewinder Music in March 2007. However, it transpired that, although credited to ACCEPT, this version had been recorded by U.D.O. Bassist Peter Baltes was quick to publicly slam the version of the band's classic song as "the biggest piece of garbage I have ever heard."

Wolf Hoffmann, Peter Baltes, Herman Frank and Stefan Schwarzmann resurrected the ACCEPT brand in May 2009, drafting Mark Tornillo of TT QUICK as new frontman. The band had tested out their new singer in late April at Shorefire Recording studios in Long Branch, New Jersey.

Garry Sharpe-Young

Copyright Musicdetector Websites 2009

Discography

Album


ALL AREAS - WORLDWIDE (LIVE) 1997

PREDATOR 1996

DEATH ROW 1994

OBJECTION OVERRULED 1993

STAYING A LIFE (LIVE) 1990

EAT THE HEAT 1989

RUSSIAN ROULETTE 1986

METAL HEART 1985

KAIZOKU-BAN (LIVE IN JAPAN) 1985

BALLS TO THE WALL 1983

RESTLESS AND WILD 1982

BREAKER 1981

I'M A REBEL 1980

ACCEPT 1979

Single/EP


Rich And Famous 2002

Breakers On Stage EP 1998

Hard Attack 1996

Bad Habits Die Hard 1994

I Don't Wanna Be Like You 1993

All Or Nothing 1993

Generation Clash 1989

TV War 1986

Midnight Mover 1985

London Leatherboys (Live) 1985

Balls To The Wall (Live) 1984

Balls To The Wall (Single) 1984

Restless And Wild (Single) 1983

Burning 1981

I'm A Rebel (Single) 1980

Lady Lou 1979

Visual


METAL BLAST FROM THE PAST 2002

Compilation


2 ORIGINALS OF ACCEPT: I'M A REBEL / BREAKER 2003

BREAKER / RESTLESS AND WILD 2002

MEAN MACHINE - EAT THE HEAT 2002

FACELESS WORLD - STAYING A LIFE 2002

ACCEPT - ANIMAL HOUSE 2002

METAL HEART - RUSSIAN ROULETTE 2002

BALLS TO THE WALL - TIMEBOMB 2002

TAKE 2: ACCEPT & QUIET RIOT 2000

HOT & SLOW: CLASSICS, ROCKS 'N' BALLADS 2000

I'M A REBEL / OBJECTION OVERRULED 1999

ACCEPT BOX: THE STORY 1999

THE FINAL CHAPTER 1998

STEEL GLOVE - THE COLLECTION 1995

RESTLESS THE BEST 1994

ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES 1992

THE COLLECTION 1991

A COMPILATION OF THE BEST OF: BALLS TO THE WALL / RESTLESS & WILD 1987

HUNGRY YEARS 1986

METAL MASTERS 1984

DEMON'S NIGHT 1983

MIDNIGHT HIGHWAY 1983

BEST OF ACCEPT 1983

Promotion


3 Tracks From The Forthcoming Album 1992

Generation Clash (Promo) 1989

Screaming For A Love Bite 1986

Metal Heart Promo 1986