June, 5 2015
South Park Festival, Tampere (Finland)
Text: Margarita Khartanovich
Photos: Boris Kashentsev
ACCEPT: “Metal is a brotherhood. It is a shame that the metal scene in the USA is not what it used to be.”
MGM had a chance to catch up with Peter Baltes at South Park Festival in Tampere (Finland). We talked to Peter about metal brotherhood and sisterhood, the current mindset of the band and his views on modern music, rockstar lifestyle and success in show business.
The USA, metal brotherhood and the 80s
Peter Baltes: “Our first tour in America was with KISS. They gave us an opportunity to become a truly international band. We started playing with KISS, Ozzy Osbourne, do the festivals back in the 80s. The USA is such a great and big country. It’s just a shame that the metal scene there is not anymore what it used to be. It has changed. We are waiting for the right moment to come back with the right package.
But our world is so big. The majority of festivals are in Europe. That’s just the way it is during the festival seasons. If something comes up, we will absolutely go to the USA. We went to South Korea, and it was great, to Australia last year for the first time. I can’t wait to come back there. It was just an incredible experience, really. We wanna see them all and play them all.
The 80s were our time. I have to say now with the latest three records there is really a certain resurgence going on with a lot of young kids in the audience. A lot of fathers bring their sons to our gigs. These sons bring their friends. And there are a lot of girls. Things are changing.
Metal fans are the same all over the world: in India, Southern Arabia. It doesn’t matter where we play, where we go – the fans are the same. They might look a little different. But they have the T-shirt on. They have the sign. They have the attitude and love for the band and the music. We don’t care that much about the love for the band. But the love for the music is what we want.
Metal fans they are part of the band. They are such fans of the music. To them metal is life. And the band is almost like their brothers. They are so dedicated. And then there is the band, and there are friends. And their friends are metal fans. They go to the metal show; there is the metal band that they love. We feed of that great feedback we get and give it back. It’s like brotherhood in a strange sense.
Take pop music or country music, or any other kind of music. It’s just about the song people hear all the time or about a person they adore, for example, Rihanna or somebody else because they are on MTV. But metal fans, they go much deeper. And they stay with it for all their lives. We play live shows, and then there is always someone saying, “I was in 1981 at your show!” And they cry! And I’m like “Wow!” But we all feel the same way. When we see those people again, some of them we do remember. And that’s just great. It is a brotherhood. Metal is a brotherhood! And sisterhood!
Accept as a band in 2000s
Peter Baltes: “We are a very physically energetic band on stage. And maybe people are not used to that. There are a lot of bands that play with screens, and they have content on those video screens. But the band itself just stands. We are more old-school. We go in, and it’s a battle. We go in, we are giving it all. We are all sweaty. It’s a different experience. We don’t have those explosions and stuff. We don’t need any gimmicks. We just play our songs but we play very well. We don’t talk much. We do a set. And if we can squeeze another song and say less, let’s play another song because the fans tell us “Play more songs, don’t talk!” That’s what we do! I could play “Balls To The Wall”, “Metal Heart” and “Fast As A Shark” for the rest of my life.
Mark was an injection. And now with new guys, Christopher is just an amazing drummer. And he is so full of energy, so young, and everything to him is new. His energy infects us. And Uwe is such a great guitarist. So we have a really, really solid band now. Everybody loves the band and loves what we are doing. Take Wolf and me and Mark too, he’s been in the band for 5 years now. For us it rubs off. It’s like a new band again. The fans will see when we play how different it is. It’s a whole new gig because with these guys everything is new. It’s really nice.
We didn’t do that many shows with them yet. But we played in a big festival with KISS and Judas Priest and the whole back line was there. When all the songs click, and the show is great from the beginning till the end, and you look over and you are like “That was good! Really, really good!” You don’t worry about mistakes or anything; it’s just about a harmony of the band. When everything clicks, when everything feels right, sounds right. Then you are like “That was a really good night!” For them it was a big night because it was a huge stage. And surely they were nervous. We are all nervous but they probably were a little bit more nervous. With each show that we do each night will get better.
I hope it will never get to the point when we do it because we have to, because in this case we will stop. We do it because we like to. I’d quote Malcolm and Angus (AC/DC). They were asked why they are still on tours, for the money? And they said no, it’s just that for two hours a night we like to play. And it’s the same here. Wolf and I, we just like to play. And if we have people that like to play with us then let’s go. When we are in a dressing room. And we put our hands together and we scream something in the air and we really scream very loudly. You know when you scream really loudly you release some energy, and then we look calmer and then we go and feel cool. We know that as soon as we go on stage, it is going to be great. It’s never been any different”.
Music trends vs. established bands
Peter Baltes: “As musicians Wolf and I are songwriters we always try to stick to what we do best. And sometimes there were some years when the industry and record companies wanted us to be different (find when, what the situation was). And we tried and it didn’t work out. So we are always the best when we do what we think is the best. Because we always think about the fans – what do the fans want to hear? We always write songs that are good for us but if they are not good for the fans they don’t come on the album. In that direction we are keeping the same way. Cuz that’s our style, that’s what people want to hear. If we played something else, there is probably another band that does it better.
I know that we have the riffs that you can remember. We have great guitar melodies and the solos are the extensions of the songs. We are trying to make them parts of the songs. Make the song interesting. The chants, the back vocals are different from other bands. We include some classical elements. We come from Deep Purple, AC/DC, Judas Priest. If you take these bands and mixed them together, that’s basically us. And our experiences when we grew up. We didn’t listen to a lot of music outside what we did because we were always rehearsing, playing which is good. There was not a lot of influence after that for us.
That’s understandable. But no we don’t. The best thing we can do is keep doing what we are doing as well as we can. And at least we keep our identity. That’s what we have after all – our good name.
How do you write songs that people listen for twenty years? Like Balls to the wall was written a long time ago. It’s possible that people will listen to it in a hundred of years. Oh what was the metal like? Oh that song, and Smoke on the water. And Black Sabbath and that song of Judas Priest. That’s what we want to do. Songs that people would remember as good as you can make them. And these fans all over the world they remember them. That’s why they come – to hear these songs.
Germany is a big metal market. Every band goes there. It’s time for the fans sometimes to say where they wanna go. There is too much going on. But there is not so much money in your pocket so you have to pick and choose, which band you wanna see. So many festivals. It’s changes since record sales declined. A lot of bands had to go on the road. Nowadays there are more bands on the road than every before. We are very lucky to be an old school band. Our fans always come to see us. But for a young band it is really tough.”
Rock’n’roll lifestyle, young bands and future plans
Peter Baltes: “I know that nowadays you have to do it on your own. There is nobody helping you. All I can say – don’t look somewhere else to sound like someone. Find something that is unique for you. Find the right players. Rehearse every day. Be the best you can be. All you can do is to start small and grow. Be realistic about what you get into. Your chances to become a rock star are very slim, that you can make a living of it. Don’t look at it that way. Look at it, as at something you really like to do. Get a regular job. And do it on the side until you can come to the point that you can do it full-time. Don’t have illusions. They don’t get you anywhere. Focus on the music. Try to be different and good. And when you play live, enjoy what you do. Don’t think about lifestyle. Think about the craft to become a musician.
A rockstar’s lifestyle has definitely changed. Tt’s not “Sex, drugs and rock’n’roll” anymore. It’s “Starbucks, iPhone and glasses” now. When you are young it’s all about a lifestyle. For us it was more about music. We get to play. And that’s what AC/DC also say – we get to play. It’s a little bit gone with the lifestyle. That was the 80s and 70s. Today it is travel, places you see, people you meet and to get ultimate satisfaction every night you play.
Hardly everyone has it. If you have a regular job, it’s nice as it is. But you have an unpredictable night, a bit of a lottery how it is going to be. And when you are done it is like ahhh, like a workout. When you had a really good workout you feel good. That’s how you feel after the show. And then we rest, we don’t go out, we don’t drink alcohol. We stay healthy because tomorrow is another day. That’s a responsibility. That’s how you stay young. When you are 18 or 19 you can drink all night. We did that already. I think I drank enough for the rest of my life. I finished the race early.
I don’t know what is going on in a current metal scene. I personally don’t listen to music or read anything; I am not on Facebook. I live with my family. I’m happy this way. A couple of years ago we had Sabaton (Sweden) to open up for us on a tour. They are doing well. Check them out. There is Helloween. I’m sure there is a new German metal scene that I don’t even know about. Manowar is a band that I like.
Check out the old bands too as a young metal fan. AC/DC, Rainbow. I would start from there. And compare to what there is there now if you listen to screamo, Goth or death metal. Check that out too. Don’t just go for one thing. On the other hand I understand you don’t want to go after the heroes of your fathers. You want your own time, your own generation, you want to create your own things. We did the same. But there was some quality back then. Everything you hear today is based on it. You might want to research it and check that out.
Now we are going to finish with this year’s album, we will tour, and then Wolf and I are going to start writing a new album. We want to start early. We are going to do the same thing of taking a whole year to write. No rush. We want to make it as exciting as Blind Rage was. With Stalingrad we were a little bit rushed “Go, go, go!” And we don’t want to make that mistake again. We want to capture the moment. Maybe there will be a live album. We will record some stuff later on this year. We are going to record some festivals and see. We want to release a quality material. It would be nice to have a live album with news songs from a new album. We want to do things right. Sometimes it takes time to capture the right moment. We will focus on the songs. It always takes the longest time, all the effort, nothing else that you can do. I will also enjoy being home for a little bit. Because we know the next tour will come, and it will be fast. And before you know it you have to pack your bags again”.
Upcoming Tour Dates 2015
July 18 Bang Your Head Balingen, Germany
July 22 Metal Days Tolmin, Slovenia
July 24 Le Moulin Marseille, France
July 25 Rockfest Barcelona Barcelona, Spain
July 30 Seerock Festival Graz, Austria
July 31 Kuopio Rock Kuopio, Finland
August 6 Getaway Rock Galve, Sweden
August 8 Pyraser Classic Rock Night Nuremberg, Germany
August 9 Alcatraz Metal Fest Kortrijk, Belgium
August 10 Foire aux Vins