ACCEPT’s Wolf Hoffmann on “Balls to the Wall” & Flying V Guitars: “I’ve never recorded with a Flying V in the studio” – 2022 – INTERVIEW
Accept’s Wolf Hoffmann talks ‘Balls to the Wall,’ ‘Fast as a Shark’ and being ‘too mean to die.’
You can read the entire interview @ this location. An excerpt from the feature has been provided below.
“We were fucking freezing our asses off,” guitarist Wolf Hoffmann says, thinking back to the music video shoot for Accept’s 1984 metal anthem, “Balls to the Wall.” “But, hey man, it was still exciting. It was glorious.”
The big-budget video, which depicts the German band rocking before a clock tower and riding a wrecking ball, was directed by Julien Temple. Temple helmed a slew of now-classic clips, from Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law” to Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’ ” to Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On.”
“It was filmed in London in an old, dilapidated building near Heathrow Airport,” Hoffmann says of the “Balls” vid. “The building in the background that was supposed to be destroyed was an old Black & Becker [hardware tools] factory, they told us. It was November or December or something like that, and it was raining, almost like ice-rain, during the filming. Everything was set up and there was no way we would cancel because it was so expensive, so we had to do it within a few hours. You could hardly feel your fingers.”
Previously, it was Hoffmann’s same fingers that manifested that snarling, stutter-stepping riff for “Balls to the Wall,” back when they were writing what became their breakthrough 1984 album of the same name. Hoffman is known for playing Flying V guitars onstage. He brandished a V in the “Balls to the Wall” video, too.
“But I’ll tell you the secret,” Hoffmann says. “I’ve never recorded with a Flying V in the studio. ‘Balls to the Wall’ and all that stuff was played on a Strat. But I’ve always preferred Vs onstage just because when you’re putting on a show, it looks good and it feels good and, you know, it makes a statement. It feels like metal when you hold that thing in your hand.”
Six decades later, “Balls to the Wall” remains Accept’s signature tune. “I remember it started with a title,” Hoffmann says of the track’s musical origins. Meanwhile, its lyrics reflected the band’s interest in human rights. “The title inspired me to write the riff and the chorus. And it all happened within minutes, really,” he says. “I sat at home and came up with the basic chunks of the song and then brought it to the guys in the rehearsal room. We jammed on it, and it felt perfect. Peter [Baltes, then-bassist] came up with the verse, the verse structure, but everything else was basically already there and fell into place super easy. It was almost unreal.
You can read the entire interview @ this location.