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A 25-Year History of Germany's Very Own Metal Gods
by Gaby Hoffmann
Life - so the saying goes - starts with a birthday doesn't it? But in ACCEPT's case an exact birthday is hard to pinpoint. There had been a band named ACCEPT in existence since the early 1970's. Founded by Udo Dirkschneider, they had been playing on an amateur level in and around their hometown of Solingen, Germany. Although they had professional ambitions, things moved along slowly. Members came and went as they tried to find their identity and write their own songs.
It wasn't until 1976 that the pace began to pick up. They were finally recognized by a major record company at one of Germany's very first Rock Festivals - the legendary ROCK AM
ACCEPT - Fall 1976
RHEIN. A stunned audience of a few thousand rock fans witnessed the beginning of a new musical style which, at that point, had not even been named "Heavy Metal." The line up then was: Udo Dirkschneider, voc., Wolf Hoffmann, guit., Peter Baltes, bass, Gerhard Wahl, guit. (replaced in 1978 by Jörg Fischer), and on the drums, Frank Friedrich.
Life would never be the same again for this young and outstanding bunch of wild and obnoxious boys from Solingen, a small town in Germany's industrial melting pot. They were signed right away and, at this early point, none of them really had any idea about the workings of the music industry. A few month later they found themselves in a studio - yes, a genuine, professional recording studio - to produce their first album `ACCEPT.' The result tapped unknown waters. Udo's vocals, embedded in a war of electrical instruments - loud, aggressive and brutal - instantly helped to establish the trademark ACCEPT sound. There was no comparison. Never before had sounds like this assaulted the human ear - or perhaps, the gut. From day one it was the enormous power that swept the fans away.
Interestingly enough, bass player Peter Baltes was featured singing two of the songs on this debut album, 'Sounds of War' and 'Seawinds.' This seemed unusual in this kind of band setting, but it would be repeated on later albums. Their musical style was not as defined as it would become on following albums, but their craftsmanship and ability to compose outstanding music was already showing.
After the recording of the first album, drummer Frank Friedrich decided not to join the others in their journey towards a professional music career and he handed over the sticks to STEFAN KAUFMANN. The seeds were planted. Their second album, 1980's 'I'M A REBEL.' could not describe the band any better. When `I'M A REBEL' started to lurk around the charts, the band received offers to play their first TV shows and they got their first glimpse of popularity.
The band's image, especially their live shows, sent a clear message: No mercy for the wicked - if one wanted to survive this - they'd better be prepared for an earthquake. Udo's voice, the brutality of the guitar attacks and the driving power of drums and bass made this band a cornerstone for a new musical style that was defined by a term sweeping over from Great Britain: Heavy Metal.
Then, in 1981, came the third album, 'BREAKER' (mixed by MICHAEL WAGENER, who later became an international big wig as THE Hard Rock Producer in LA). This was also the year they signed a management deal with German manager Gaby Hauke - a relationship that would last throughout ACCEPT's lifespan. The stage was then set, and from that moment on they kicked into high gear supporting the mighty Judas Priest all over Europe. This would open the doors for their own worldwide popularity over the next decade. The band worked relentlessly. The only "break" for ACCEPT was the in the title of their latest album, BREAKER.
In 1982 the first signs o