» Peter Baltes - Accept
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Interview conducted August 06 2015
Interview published November 08 2015

A couple of hours before Accept's performance at Getaway Rock, Metal Covenant sat down with bassist and original member Peter Baltes to reflect on the classic heavy metal band's triumphant comeback to the big scene.

Mozzy: Accept played at Getaway in 2011 as well, do you remember that?

Peter: Yeah! Bullet were playing, they had the nice Bullet van outside (smiles).

Mozzy: Since then it has gone very well for the band, with great albums and reviews and so on. Has that been surprising in a way?

Peter: Absolutely. We were gone and then came back. But it's been better than ever to be quite honest.

Mozzy: Yeah it feels like Accept now are just as strong as in eighties.

Peter: Yeah, but it's like two different lives you know. That was then and this is now.

Mozzy: But it's been an impressive comeback indeed.

Peter: Thank you.

Mozzy: Do you think that there was a hunger and excitement to come back that played a big part?

Peter: Yeah, but it was probably a combination of many things. That we found Mark by accident, that we started playing again and so on. But yeah, I think there was a lot of build-up over the years. And then we had good songs which the fans loved. When we came back we did not know how it would be. And now it's been five years, that's incredible (laughs).

Mozzy: Time flies. So that hunger reflected the song-writing as well, then?

Peter: Yeah, absolutely.

Mozzy: Did you miss playing during those years away?

Peter: Of course I did.

Mozzy: What did you occupy yourselves with during that time? I know Wolf (Hoffmann, guitar) had his photography.

Peter: I write music for television and radio in America. I'm a composer. But you know, you always think of playing music and have it in the back of your mind even if you're doing something else. After a while, when we came back with Mark it was like riding a bike, you know.

Mozzy: What started the whole comeback? You and Wolf kept in touch I suppose.

Peter: Yeah. We started jamming and we needed a singer. A friend of mine with a studio said "there's a guy around the corner that sounds a bit like Udo (Dirkschneider, original Accept singer); I can ask him to come down". We called him, he came down and the rest is history.

Mozzy: While you were away from music, did you play live some time just for fun at some local places?

Peter: No, nothing.

Mozzy: I guess you missed that part as well.

Peter: Yes, I love it, you know. But there were two different lives; we stopped playing and then you have another life. But when you come back, it's like… I just watched Status Quo and they were incredible. It's all about having fun up there. When the fun stops, you might as well stop as a band.

Mozzy: I think you can really see that those guys are having fun, and your band too for that matter.

Peter: Yeah!

Mozzy: Did you think about Accept when you were away from the scene?

Peter: No, not really. Which was probably a good thing.

Mozzy: Your relationship with Wolf goes back a long time.

Peter: It goes back to the stone age, or the dinosaurs (laughs).

Mozzy: You seem to have a very strong bond.

Peter: We're best friends, since we joined the band. We were the new guys and we became best friends. And that never changed.

Mozzy: That must be key for the song-writing and other things as well.

Peter: Yeah, we've been writing these songs all of our lives. It was always Wolf and me, sitting there hacking them out, coming up with riffs. And then I come in with vocal melodies, singing them.

Mozzy: I remember Sweden Rock in 2005 when you did the reunion. That was only for a year, or not even that right?

Peter: That was just nine shows.

Mozzy: And now you're back ten years later, headlining in Sweden again.

Peter: Yes!

Mozzy: It's quite impressive. Maybe you did not imagine that could happen?

Peter: I don't know. Maybe when the music is strong enough and the band is committed and hungry nothing will stop you in your way.

Mozzy: It's been a while now since Hermann (Frank, guitar) and Stefan (Schwarzmann, drums) left the band. Do you miss them?

Peter: Of course. But they need their own career, they wanted that. And to be honest, it's very rare that all the members are together for 40 years. That is impossible. Things happen in life and everybody moves on.

Mozzy: What about the next album; have you started writing?

Peter: We will probably start as soon as this is over, in a couple of weeks. We have more shows in November and December and then we're pretty much done touring. Then we will start writing every day like we usually do. So 2016 will probably be just writing and recording.

Mozzy: Do you write some bits on the road as well sometimes?

Peter: We tried that before, but especially now during the festival season when you're flying everywhere the mind is not there. My best ideas come at seven in the morning when I have a cup of coffee and am all by myself. I work on the first thing that comes out of the guitar. Once the day goes on, your head is filled with other stuff.

Mozzy: Will Andy (Sneap) produce again?

Peter: Yeah, probably. I mean, it's been good so far. We're a great team and are great friends. There's no reason to think otherwise.

Mozzy: He's busy of course but I'm sure he would want to work with you again.

Peter: Yeah. He's a great producer and we're just good for each other. And he's such a big fan of the band and that really helps.

Mozzy: He was really instrumental when you returned, wasn't he?

Peter: Yes he was. He really steered us in the right direction. Basically, he did the album for himself. He was the biggest Accept fan there is so for him it was a thrill. And he made us understand what people like about us. We didn't really know. As an artist you don't really know what others like. When somebody come from the outside and tell you, it's like 'oh, they like that?'.

Mozzy: Well we can see the result, people really like the latest albums. Did you have some riffs from the old days too or did you start from scratch?

Peter: We started from scratch. You always start from scratch. It's like… there's a reason why you didn't use those riffs then. Even from last year. There's a reason for it, you know, it's not good enough. To try again with the old riff is like trying again with an old girlfriend.

Mozzy: That makes sense. I have to say that it's great that you're still around, because I remember Accept being one of the first bands I liked. And now it's 30 years later, it's amazing.

Peter: Yeah. Back then, that was all we did. We played and rehearsed all the time and handled the gear ourselves. We really lived it!

Mozzy: You're not that old either so you can play for many years yet.

Peter: Oh yeah. We feel great, and the shows are great. People tell us that they can't believe that we are out there. But that's what we do; we can't do it any other way!

Mozzy: Cool! You're playing at Rock At Sea in Sweden this year. That's the first gig on a boat isn't it?

Peter: Yeah! We didn't want to play boats before but now we're doing it.

Mozzy: I might go to that one. Those rock cruises are really fun, with lots of rockers and partying.

Peter: Yeah? As long as it doesn't sink I'm good (smiles).

See also: review of the gig the same night

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