Accept are a German heavy metal band from the town of Solingen, originally assembled in the early 1970s by Udo Dirkschneider. They played an important role in the development of speed metal and Teutonic thrash metal, being part of the German heavy/speed/power metal scene to emerge in the early to mid 1980s. The band's 1983 album, Balls to the Wall, subsequently became their most successful release, featuring its well-known hit with the same title. Following their disbandment in 1997 and brief resurrection in 2005, they reunited in 2009 without Dirkschneider.
Early years (1968-1982)
Accept were originally founded in 1968 by Udo Dirkschneider and Michael Wagener under the name Band X. For many years after its founding, Accept went through constant changes to its line-up and was essentially kept on an amateur level, making sporadic appearances in festival concerts. Their professional career began in 1976, when they were invited to play at one of the first rock and roll festivals from Germany ??? Rock am Rhein. Following the festival, the band received a recording deal. Their first recording was the self-titled Accept album which 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, since they did not intend to pursue a professional career in music. They were replaced by Stefan Kaufmann and J?śrg Fischer, and with this line-up the band proceeded to record I'm a Rebel in 1980. The title track originally was written for AC/DC but never released by them. This was the album which brought media attention to the band, which was subsequently invited to make its first televised show.
Three important events took place in 1981. First, the album Breaker was released. Second, a contract with manager Gaby Hauke was signed, an agreement which lasted for the whole of the band's career. 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, but did not have the presence of J?śrg Fischer, who quit the band a short time before the recording took place. Jan Koemmet was hired as Accept's new 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 several characteristics of the genre which would later be called speed metal. Gaby Hauke is credited as "Deaffy" on two of the tracks.
Mainstream success (1983-1987)
Accept became successful with their next release, Balls to the Wall (1983), now with Herman Frank (ex-Sinner), which would prove to be something different from what they had previously recorded. The album was of a conceptual nature, and included songs which spoke about themes such as politics, sexuality and different kinds of human relationships. For example the title track "Balls to the Wall" refers to slaves revolting against oppressing masters. "Fight It Back" is about the social misfit, fighting against conformity. All songs were credited to Accept + "Deaffy". Deaffy was later revealed 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 their songs from that album on, except a couple of songs on their final album Predator. She did not officially claim authorship of the songs until the band had broken up.
During a show in their hometown in the year of 1983, the band ran into J?śrg Fischer by chance. On Hauke's insistence, Fischer was made part of the band once more. A world tour which would only end in 1984 ??? at the historic Monsters of Rock festival ??? followed.
Metal Heart came next, in 1985, soon followed by the live album Kaizoku-Ban. Russian Roulette continued the series of albums, being produced by Scorpions producer Dieter Dierks and released in 1986.
However, as time passed, differences began to surface. Peter Baltes, Wolf Hoffmann and Gaby Hauke expressed a growing interest in the USA, and spent more time in overseas countries than in Germany, which meant they were constantly away from the rest of the band. The distance between them grew, and it was eventually decided that Accept would enter an hiatus and that Udo Dirkschneider would, in the meantime, pursue a solo career. The other members of the band worked together with Udo on the technical side of his first solo album, entitled Animal House, and it was released under the name of U.D.O. in Europe and America.
David Reece period and first hiatus (1988-1991)
After a period of inactivity, Peter, Wolf and Stefan set to work once more as a band with the help of vocalist David Reece; Udo's solo career was working out well and guitarist J?śrg Fischer had once more left Accept. After a few demos, the band felt secure enough with this new line-up and released Eat the Heat, the first and last (?) Accept album without Udo.
A short warm up tour in the USA was followed by a European tour with the support of rhythm guitarist Jim Stacey followed the release of the album. The tour, however, came to a sudden halt when Stefan Kaufmann sustained a serious injury to his back. He was replaced by drummer Ken Mary for the remainder of the tour. By the tour's end, Hoffmann, Baltes and Hauke had decided that Reece was an unstable personality and Kaufman was going to need a long break from the drums. They decided it was time to quit. By the end of 1989, the band had ceased its activities.
Reunion with Dirkschneider and the final years (1992-1996)
A live compilation entitled Staying a Life was released in 1990, and fans from around the globe demanded a reunion. During a visit to Germany, Udo met with the musicians from Accept and, after some discussion, it was decided that they would relaunch the classic line-up of the band.
Objection Overruled was released in 1993. The band's reunion was a qualified success in Europe and the USA, where the band was working though Pavement Records. 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.
The musicians, however, began to feel tired. The teenagers from the town of Solingen had grown up and were beginning to feel the toll of a life of constant touring. A sense of finality was in the air when the band entered studios to record Predator from 1996, this time with Michael Cartellone (from Damn Yankees) on the drums.
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.
Second hiatus and brief resurrection (1997-2005)
The future of Accept was uncertain between 1997 and 2005, as all members continue working on their own projects. However 2005 saw a short commemorative reunion tour with Accept's classic line-up. The final show was held on August 27, 2005, in Kavarna, Bulgaria - at the Kaliakra rock fest.
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
Reunion with new singer (2009-present)
In 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." On May 14, 2009, it was announced that Udo Dirkschneider would not be participating in the rumored Accept reunion tour. As of May 15, 2009, former TT Quick singer Mark Tornillo is Dirkschneider's replacement. Reunion tour dates are currently being booked and a new studio album is on the way. According to Baltes, the new album is almost done.
The German 1982 movie "Nacht der W?ślfe" 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.
Their song "Balls to the Wall" was chosen number 38 in VH1's 40 'Greatest Metal Songs.'
Their song "Fast as a Shark" was featured in the Italian 1985 film D??moni.
"Balls to the Wall" is featured in the PS2 game Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s and PSP/PS2 game Grand Theft Auto:Vice City Stories.
Their song "Balls to the Wall" is featured in 2008??s film The Wrestler with Mickey Rourke as Randy "The Ram" Robinson.