Mark Tornillo recalls getting death threats when Accept announced that he was their new lead vocalist
Accept frontman Mark Tornillo was recently interviewed by Andrew DiCecco for Vinyl Writer Music. Back in May 2009, Accept announced that Tornillo was their new lead vocalist and the band has released five studio albums — Blood of The Nations (2010), Stalingrad (2012), Blind Rage (2014), The Rise of Chaos (2017) and Too Mean To Die (2021) — since then.
In terms of his initial involvement with Accept, Tornillo indicated (with slight edits): “I don’t know whether you’d call it fate or what the hell you would call it. It turned out that Peter Baltes lived 45 minutes from me; he lived over in Newtown, PA, and I’m
in Huntington County, so it’s literally 45 minutes from my house. He was producing a record for his son at Surefire Studios, and they were in the process of trying to put the band back together, mostly because The Wrestler had come out and “Balls [to the Wall]” was a big song; they actually played it twice. They were getting some mileage and resurgence from that, and I think they figured if they were ever going to do it, now would be a good time. Udo [Dirkschneider] didn’t really want anything to do with it and made a lot of ridiculous demands, and they were like, “No fucking way.” So, they were kind of pissed off about it, but it is what it is.
Wolf had come up here to see Peter, and he was at the studio one day with them, and they were bitching about the whole thing. The owner of the studio, Joey DeMaio, a friend of mine, said, “Why don’t you call Mark?” It was like, “Mark who?”… “Mark the singer from T.T. Quick.” They were like, “I don’t know, why would we call him?”… “Because he can do the job!” One thing led to another; I think they remembered that name from Michael Wagener because he had produced Medal of Honor and a lot of their stuff; he was actually in Accept in the very early days. At any rate, they called around to get my phone number, and one day my phone rang, and it was a friend of mine asking if he could give my number to Peter Baltes. I was like, “What for?” He said, “I don’t know what they want.”
[Peter] just called me one day and said, “Would you like to come down and jam with us?” I was like, “Yeah, why not? What do I got to lose?” I was sick as a dog, I had bronchitis, but I figured, “What the hell? I’m going anyway.” I could barely talk, but I managed to get some vocals off. Another friend of ours played drums; it was Wolf, Peter, and myself, and we jammed pretty much all afternoon. I did a little writing, a little recording, and I really figured that was going to be it; they never said anything about putting a band together, and as far as I knew, it was just for shits and giggles. Then, two weeks later, the phone rang again, and it was Peter saying, “What would you think about doing a record and a tour?” And I asked my wife, “What would I think about doing a record and a tour?” She said, “Well, you better do it.” We started, and next thing you know, we were writing an album. Then, they went and announced it on the internet, and low and behold, all the shit storm started.”
With respect to the reaction that he experienced after Accept announced him as their new lead vocalist, Tornillo shared: “I was getting attacked from every angle. I was getting death threats; it was ridiculous. So, we literally just slowed down and said, “Look, if we’re gonna do this, we gotta write one killer ass fucking album.” That’s when we started taking our time and working through ideas. It took almost a year to write Blood of The Nations – before we started recording it. We really thought it out well and ended up getting Andy [Sneap], which was the icing on the cake. Without Sneap, I don’t think we would be where we are today.”
In regard to his first show with Accept, Tornillo stated: “Yes, because the first show we played was in New York and it was my people. [Laughs]. The very first show we did was at The Gramercy [May 8, 2010] in New York, and I think they released “The Abyss” by that time; the album wasn’t out yet, but I think they released “The Abyss” as a single. That went over real well; we were encouraged after that. In New York, I pretty much knew what we were getting ourselves into. The place only held 750-800 people, and it was 800 people I knew; that wasn’t that bad.”
However, two or three days later, we were in Lithuania. Remember the old Little Rascals, where Spanky comes out on stage with a garbage can lid? That’s what I was thinking; I was waiting for the tomatoes and pea shooters, but it never happened. The real fans just embraced me, and I never looked back. I’ve never really had any kind of a problem on stage with the band.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Mark Tornillo at Vinyl Writer Music‘s website.
Accept‘s “Teutonic Terror” video (from Blood of The Nations album):
Accept performing “Metal Heart” at Gramercy Theater in New York, New York, USA on May 8, 2010: