ACCEPT’s MARK TORNILLO On Taking Over For UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER In 2009: ‘It Could Have Gone South In A Big Hurry’

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Sakis Nikas of Rockpages conducted an interview with ACCEPT frontman Mark Tornillo at this year’s Rockwave festival, which took place in July in Athens, Greece. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On playing songs live from their 2017 “The Rise Of Chaos” studio album:

Mark: “We’ve been playing so many songs off of it. It had only been out for, I would say, a week when we went to Japan — everybody knew the words already. It was crazy. It was just insane. We played Wacken the day before it came out, so it was about a month later, but yeah, I think it’s great. We play at least four or five songs, sometimes six off of that record, depending on how long the show is.”

On still being considered the “new guy” in ACCEPT even though he’s been in the band since 2009:

Mark: “You know, we had this discussion the other day. Brian Johnson‘s still the new guy in AC/DC, even though he’s not even there anymore. He’s still the new guy and he was in the band way longer than Bon Scott. Thirty years… new guy? It doesn’t faze me in the least. I’m glad that things worked out the way they did. It could have gone south in a big hurry when I joined the band. If we had to listen to the Internet, it probably would have, but we decided we needed to take some time and write a killer record and that’s what we tried to do and it seems that it worked out that way. The other thing, too, we didn’t just want to rely on going out and playing the old stuff and being one of those bands who rehashes the old things and maybe play one new thing. Obviously, we’ve done four new records since I’ve been in the band. Who knows if we’re done or not? I don’t know. We’ll see.”

On his first show with ACCEPT:

Mark: “The first gig we ever played was in New York. I knew what to expect there. They’re my people. I knew 90 percent of the people in the audience. The next gig, three days later, four days later, we were in Lithuania. I had no idea. I was ready to walk out there with a shield in case the tomatoes started coming, but it’s never been that way. They’ve just accepted me from day one, most of the people anyway. Very rarely you get some people that have something bad to say, but not very often. Yeah, it makes me feel very comfortable, more than anything and very good and loved. I love the audience, hopefully they love me as much as I love them. It’s a good feeling.”

On the studio albums he’s recorded with ACCEPT:

Mark: “I feel great about them. Obviously, I was one of the writers. As far as being ‘classics,’ I’m guessing ‘Blood Of The Nations’ is a classic at this point. It’s going to be ten years old soon. But I think we tried to stay true to the sound of what the band was. Obviously, the two original writers that wrote most of the songs [Wolf Hoffmann and Peter Baltes] wrote most of the music anyway [are still in the band]. I hold my head up high. I feel good about it. No shame on my end.”

On former ACCEPT vocalist Udo Dirkschneider, who has occasionally dissed the current incarnation of the band in interviews:

Mark: “I have nothing bad to say about Udo. I was a fan of his before he was a fan of mine, obviously — whether he is or not remains to be seen. I wish him all the best.”

On why his pre-ACCEPT band T.T. QUICK never achieved commercial success:

Mark: “We just didn’t do the things that we should have done in order to make the band happen the way it should of. I think the music was there, you know, I think the performances were there. But the times were changing as well and we were kind of caught in that — thrash metal was becoming big. We weren’t a thrash band, we weren’t going to become a thrash band either. But, yeah, it would have been really nice, but thank god I’m here and able to do this now. I’m lucky. Lucky me.”

On who will take over headlining status when metal’s classic, veteran bands retire:

Mark: “I hope somebody grabs the torch. A lot of us are getting old and we’ll have to retire soon. I’ve said this all along: When I can’t do it on the level that we do it, I’m not going to do it anymore. I’m not going to go out and sing half-assed. I’m not going to go out and tune down to D and do all the shit that everybody else does. If we can’t do it, we don’t do it. Until that time, we go out there and kill it and that’s it. But, hopefully, there are some kids out there that are going to pick up the ball and run with it because somebody has to. This can’t just die when we do.”

ACCEPT will release a live set, “Symphonic Terror – Live At Wacken 2017”, on November 23 via Nuclear Blast. Fans can expect a unique ACCEPT show, shot on August 3, 2017 at the legendary Wacken Open Air festival, where the band played the biggest and most extraordinary show of its career in front of 80,000, on top of thousands more fans watching via a live stream.

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