The band’s career began in 1976, when the initial stable and professional line-up of Accept (vocalist Udo Dirkschneider, guitarists Wolf Hoffmann and Gerhard Wahl, bassist Peter Baltes and drummer Frank Friedrich) was invited to play at one of the first rock and roll festivals from Germany — Rock am Rhein. Following the festival, the band received their first recording deal. It was the self-titled Accept album. Friedrich and Wahl quit the band after the release of of the debut record, as they did not intend to pursue a professional career in music. They were soon replaced by new drummer Stefan Kaufmann and guitarist Jörg Fischer. This line-up proceeded to record the sophomore record, I’m a Rebel in 1980. The title track originally was written for AC/DC but they never released it. This was the album that finally brought initial media attention to the band.
1981 saw three major events in the early history of Accept. First, the acclaimed album Breaker was released. Second, a contract with manager Gaby Hauke was signed, an agreement that is still in effect today. Third, Accept joined Judas Priest’s world tour and obtained a fair amount of success, making the band known outside of Europe.
The next album, Restless and Wild, was released in 1982. Restless and Wild saw an evolution in the band’s personality and sound, which incorporated several characteristics of a revolutionary new genre which would later be called “speed metal”. This recording however, did not include Jörg Fischer, who quit the band a short time before the studio sessions took place. Jan Koemmet was hired as Accept’s new guitarist, but departed from the band before the recording sessions for the album. The line-up was eventually completed with Herman Frank on second guitar.
Mainstream Success (1983 – 1987)
Accept became hugely successful with their next release, the now legendary Balls to the Wall album (1983). The new album would prove to be quite different from their earlier works. The album was conceptual in nature, and included songs that spoke about politics, sexuality and various human relationships. For example, the classic title track “Balls to the Wall” refers to slaves revolting against oppressing masters. “Fight It Back” is about the social misfits, fighting against conformity. All songs were credited to Accept and “Deaffy”. Deaffy was later exposed to be their manager Gaby Hauke’s pseudonym for her contribution to the band’s lyrics. She proceeded to compose the lyrics of all of the songs, with a few exceptions, from that album on. She did not officially reveal authorship of the songs until much later.
During a show in their hometown of Solingen in 1983, the band ran into Jörg Fischer by chance. On Gaby Hauke’s insistence, Fischer was asked to rejoin the band once again. A world tour followed which would take them through all of 1984 — with the historic Monsters of Rock festival as a mid-year highlight.
Metal Heart was released in 1985. Produced by Scorpions producer Dieter Dierks, it presented the creative career high for the band. Accept went on to tour around the globe in front of packed houses, soon documented by the live album Kaizoku-Ban. A year later, in 1986, Russian Roulette continued the series of critically acclaimed albums. But in 1987, in spite of their tremendous success, Accept and Udo decided together that Udo would embark on a solo career to pursue his own happiness. Supporting this decision, the songwriting team of Accept wrote an entire album for him. Accept and their management were eager to help Udo launch this solo career. That album was released in 1987 with the title Animal House under the band moniker U.D.O., a band that Udo Dirkschneider continues to tour with to date.
David Reece Period & First Hiatus (1988 – 1991)
During the work on Animal House, Accept had already started to search for and audition for a new vocalist. They soon found David Reece and so Peter, Wolf and Stefan set to work once more on new music. Udo’s solo career was having a good start, and guitarist Jörg Fischer again decided to leave Accept. Accept and their record company felt excited and confident with this new line-up and came out with the worldwide release, Eat the Heat.
The career of Accept, unfortunately, came to a sudden halt when Stefan Kaufmann sustained a serious injury to his back in the middle of a tour. He was briefly replaced by drummer Ken Mary for the remainder of the short US tour. By its end, Hoffmann, Baltes and Hauke decided that without Stefan and with differences surfacing between the band and Reece, it was time to re-evaluate their next steps. Stefan, always a vital part of Accept, needed a long recovery time. So, by the end of 1989, the band had ceased its activities.
Reunion with Dirkschneider (1992 – 1996)
The live album entitled Staying a Life that was recorded back in 1985, was released in 1990 as a souvenir from their career. During a visit to Germany a few years later, the musicians from Accept and Dirkschneider met and spontaneously decided to relaunch the band with the core members Hoffmann, Kaufmann, Dirkschneider and Baltes.
The album Objection Overruled was released worldwide in 1993. The band’s reunion was a qualified success in Europe and the USA. A world tour followed. Another album, entitled Death Row, was released in 1994, but Kaufmann became unable to play once more due to his recurring back injury. The band invited Stefan Schwarzmann as a temporary replacement and commenced plans for their next tour.
A sense of finality was in the air when the band entered studios to record Predator in 1996, this time with Michael Cartellone (from Damn Yankees) on the drums. Predator was recorded in Nashville, TN with Udo’s long time (school)friend and producer Michael Wagener at the helm. In spite of genuine efforts by everyone, the chemistry between Accept and Udo was again strained. Accept’s final tour, supporting Predator, went through America, Europe and Asia, with their last concert in Tokyo, Japan, one of the world capitals of heavy metal. Udo couldn’t wait to return to his own solo project U.D.O.
Second Hiatus & Brief Resurrection (1997 – 2005)
The future of Accept was uncertain between 1997 and 2005, as all members continue working on their own projects. However, in 2005, Accept received an invitation from European promoters to embark on a short summer European Festival tour with Accept’s classic line-up (Hoffmann, Baltes, Dirkschneider, Frank und Schwarzmann). Everyone agreed to do these festivals, which turned out to be a stunning success. The last show was held on August 27, 2005, in Kavarna, Bulgaria – at the Kaliakra rock fest. No further activities were in the cards as Udo had already released a new album and was obligated to continue with his own band U.D.O.
Asked in May 2007 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.” — Udo Dirkschneider, “Lords of Metal”
On May 14, 2009, Udo Dirkschneider officially announced that he would not be participating in the rumored Accept reunion.
Triumphant Return with Mark Tornillo (2009 – Present)
At the end of May 2009, a possible Accept reformation surfaced when bassist Peter Baltes revealed that he spent a weekend at his house in Pennsylvania and “shredding away” with the band’s 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 coincidental meeting between Accept and former TT Quick singer Mark Tornillo at this informal jam session proved to be a life changing event for the band. Shortly after, Mark Tornillo would become the new voice of Accept.
News of Accept’s return and Mark’s arrival spread around the world like wild fire. Blown away by Mark’s voice, enthusiasm and energy, Accept decided that a new album had to be written and recorded. Producer Andy Sneap (of Megadeth, BLAZE, Exodus, Testament, Arch Enemy and Onslaught fame) a life-long Accept fan, heard the news and immediately flew to America to meet with the band. Accept and Andy clicked immediately and Accept knew right away: They had found the perfect man to produce the new album. Titled Blood of the Nations, it is the first original album in fourteen years (since 1996′s Predator).
The new line-up made their live debut on May 8, 2010 at the sold-out Gramercy Theatre in New York City attended by a who’s who in the music industry. Performing for an audience of hundreds of fans, it was their first American concert in fifteen years. They played classic Accept songs and debuted new material.
On May 21, 2010 their video for “Teutonic Terror” hit #5 on the worldwide video chars 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 #1.
In May and June, Accept opened for AC/DC at concerts in Hannover and Stuttgart, Germany, and on June 25, 2010 they were headliners in the Sonisphere festival in Romania and Turkey, playing for 2 hours, including their classics “Balls to the Wall”, “Metal Heart” and “Princess of the Dawn”. Accept also played tracks off their new album. Blood of the Nations was released in Europe on August 20, 2010 to sensational reviews and made an astounding chart debut at Number 4 in the official German Media Control Charts. It marks the band’s highest chart debut in their entire career.
Blood of the Nations was then released on September 4 in Japan, and September 18, 2010 in the United States. Throughout the summer, Accept spent 80 days traveling over 65,000 km and played in front of over 450,000 fans. In late October, the band appeared at the prestigious Japanese Festival Loudpark along such artists as Ozzy Osbourne, Motörhead and Stone Sour. The rest of the year will be spent preparing for a major European Tour in the early parts of 2011.