By Rich Catino
Scorpions Are In The Metal Hall, So What About Accept?
I previously wrote three other articles about the contributions from Germany and all the great hard rock and heavy metal names the country has given us. All of them have yet to be inducted into the Metal Hall of Fame so it was important to write these articles to get the conversation, going, and ongoing, And I bet few if any would be questioned as to why they’d be a consideration. They are Kreator, Destruction, Sodom, and Tankard. Warlock, Rage, Sinner, Grave Digger, Running Wild, and the band who basically set the standard for European Power Metal, Helloween.
Now on to the two biggest names, at least from the 70s and 80s, Scorpions, and Accept. Scorpions are already inducted, Mikkey Dee accepting the award. But just to give a brief history in case you don’t know your shit, the Scorps first album came out in 1972, yup, that’s right.
“Lonesome Crow” was released in 1972. Singer Klaus Meine and guitarist Rudolf Schenker the only original members in the band today. Rudolf’s brother, Michael also played on this album, and would later return for “Lovedrive” on a couple songs. Its not the Scorpions we know from the 80s, its very psychedelic 70s rock, loose in the songwriting trying to find their way. By 1974 and “Fly To The Rainbow”, and the addition of Uli John Roth on second guitar and bassist Francis Buchholz, is where the songwriting became more hard rock based with still experimenting with arrangements and dynamics. “In Trance”, “Virgin Killer”, and “Taken By Force” in 1977 even more hard rockin, yet varied songs, culminating to the classic live album “Tokyo Tapes” in 1978. The album would feature all the best songs from the 70s, and the addition of drummer Herman Rarebell. ‘Pictured Life’, ‘In Trance’, ‘He’s A Woman She’s A Man’, ‘We’ll Burn The Sky’, ‘Fly To The Rainbow’, ‘In Search Of Peace Of Mind’, ‘Top Of The Bill’, and ‘Speedy’s Coming’. This would also be the last album with Uli Roth, enters Mattias Jabs on guitar, and Dieter Dirks back on the album production the following year for “Lovedrive”.
“Lovedrive” would be the start of the classic 80s lineup and the new formula with big catchy riffs, twin guitar parts, harmonies, and hooks to bang your head to and sing in arenas. Album opener ‘Loving You Sunday Morning’ set a clear direction, from the upbeat title track, to a heavier aggressive ‘Another Piece Of Meat’, instrumental ‘Coast To Coast’, to the acoustic ballad ‘Holiday’. “Animal Magnetism”, “Blackout”, and “Love At First Sting” gave us their biggest hits ‘The Zoo’, ‘No One Like You’, ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane’, and ‘Still Loving You’. Sold out arena tours led to a second live album, “World Wide Live” in 1985. “Savage Amusement” and “Crazy World” in 1990 saw continued success.
Like everyone in hard rock and heavy metal, the 90s had its ups and downs for the Scorpions, three more albums with varying degrees of songwriting and success, “Eye II Eye” a failure and product of the times. But they found their way back to doing what they do for the album “Unbreakable” in 2004, and by “Sting In The Tail” in 2010 it was back to arenas. Klaus and Rudolf now in their 70s, Mattias in his 60s, joined by now longtime bassist Pawel Maciwoda, and Mikkey Dee on drums, still touring the world. I think a song from the latest album “Rock Believer” (2022) says it all, they still have ‘Gas In The Tank’.
Its the same old situation, right?… its either politics, the record label, management, band members don’t get along, etc. One or more of these are the reason why Accept have not been inducted into the Metal Hall of Fame. Probably a combination of everything since original singer Udo Dirkschneider has been out of the band since a brief reunion in 2005. Mark Tornillo took over at the mic in 2009, and has recorded five albums with original guitarist Wolf Hoffman, and several member changes. Plus, guitarist Herman Frank, bassist Peter Baltes, and drummer Stephan Kaufman also part of the equation from the classic lineup era from “I’m A Rebel” to “Metal Hearth” in 1985. So yes, there are several variables that are delaying Accept’s induction.
Like the Scorpions, Accept also have a long history, starting with the first album in 1979. The album is a valiant start to writing songs but not quite what the Accept formula is known for. Udo was the singer, with Wolf Hoffmann on guitar with Jorg Fischer (who also played on “Breaker” and “I’m A Rebel”), and Peter Baltes on bass. “I’m A Rebel” starts the golden era with the title track, and “Breaker” in 1981 with classics like the title track, ‘Starlight’, ‘Son Of A Bitch’, and ‘Midnight Highway’. “Restless and Wild’, “Balls To The Walls”, and “Metal Heart” 1985 the trilogy that includes so many classics and heavy metal anthems. Songs that are constantly rotated in and out of the setlist, and for U.D.O. and Dirkschneider: all three title tracks, ‘Restless and Wild’, ‘Princess of the Dawn’, ‘London Leatherboys’, ‘Losers and Winners’, ‘Midnight Mover’, and ‘Livin for Tonight’, all that would be on any greatest hits.
The next ten years and five albums, “Russian Roulette” through “Predator” in 1996 have their good songs but not the consistency in songwriting, and member stability. Yes, even “Eat The Heat” in 1989 with David Reece singing has a classic, ‘X-T-C’.
TT Quick singer Mark Tornillo became the voice of Accept in 2009 and has recorded five albums. No he is not Udo but he sure does have a rough texture to his voice, even some familiar inflections. With Hoffmann the only constant from the 80s lineup those riffs and twin guitar harmonies are unmistakably Accept, even with member changes.
Its time to move on all those who think “its not Accept without Udo”. Change sometimes is inevitable, and moving forward is important. As long as it works. Unless you want to die like the dinosaurs did? “Blood of the Nations” is as good as 80s Accept. Accept new Accept.
“Blood Of The Nations” full album.
For the past 18 years, Rich Catino has been the director and a journalist for the Heavy Metal music webzine, Metal Asylum, (www.metalasylum.net) where, along with staff, has the opportunity to review, interview, and photograph legends from the past, but more importantly giving attention to the present and future of the hard rock and heavy metal music scene. He also a contributor at Bravewords.com from Canada alongside known journalists like Martin Popoff and Mark Gromen.
Catino’s artistic resume includes special effects makeup for the independent films Shallow Point, Liars, Black Wine, The Dawn, The Bible Belt Slasher Part 2, and Kids Get Dead Pt.2. Makeup for Union High School productions of Into The Woods, West Side Story, Cats (to which he was nominated for Best Makeup by the Papermill Playhouse), and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To The Forum. Writing and directing an original short horror film What Waits In The Dark, and the short Killer Juicers. Dressing the photo shoot for the goth/metal band The Bronx Casket Co. Building the miniature set as seen on the packaging for the Hellraiser toy line, props and sets for Madison Scare Garden, and designing/operating a local haunted attraction, Fright Nights, in New Jersey.