DAVID REECE On ACCEPT Split, New Solo Album – “When The Band Fired Me – It Was A Horrible Ending”
March 12, 2020, a year ago
There have only been three singers that have served as lead vocalists for Accept on record – the best-known/longest-tenured being Udo Dirkschneider (the original) and Mark Tornillo (the current). But for one album, 1989’s Eat The Heat, it was David Reece behind the mic. Although his tenure only lasted for that single release, he has certainly built a name for himself over the years, as Reece’s sole contribution to the Accept discography has seemed to garner appreciation over the years by metalheads, while also singing with others (Bangalore Choir, Bonfire, Sainted Sinners) and leading his own band – releasing Cacophony Of Souls in March 2020. Reece spoke with BraveWords correspondent Greg Prato about his new album, the Italian metal scene, and his days with Accept.
BraveWords: How does the new album, Cacophony Of Souls, compare to your previous solo albums?
David Reece: “The last one was Resilient Heart. The story kind of evolved from me being the special guest support of U.D.O. last spring. I had showcased a lot of the new album on that tour, but I was also doing a lot of stuff from Accept’s Eat The Heat. And I noticed that the heavier songs that I played, the better the response I got. And when I went to the merch booth, many of the fans would be like, ‘We really would like to hear more of the heavy stuff.’ So, I studied U.D.O. every night on that tour – as many shows as I could – and tempos, anthems, things like that. It was kind of the template for where I wanted to go on this album.”
BraveWords: How was it working with U.D.O. guitarist Andy Susemihl on the album?
David Reece: “Great. He and I have been friends since when he was doing Mean Machine and I was right next door, doing Eat The Heat. We’ve done probably four or five albums prior to this together, and multiple shows around Europe. We’ve been friends forever. I think he’s probably one of the most underrated guitar players in the world. He actually mixed, arranged, and produced this album, so, I gave him the helm, and I think he did a fabulous job. It sounds amazing.”
BraveWords: Are you friends with Udo?
David Reece: “Yeah! It’s funny – I saw him at Sweden Rock in 2008 I think, and on this tour it was like we had just saw each other day before. He’s always treated me with the utmost respect, and there was never any animosity when I took his job. He’s always been supportive of me. A very professional guy. Really cool. He doesn’t need to throw dirt, y’know?”
BraveWords: Let’s discuss the song “Metal Voice” and its video.
David Reece: “That was a weird one. We do Jimmy Kay’s show, The Metal Voice, but it was never like a conceived plan to write a song for the soundtrack for that. Andy and I were goofing around with lyrics, and he came up with this fleshed out thing with that was the title – with him shouting ‘metal voice’ in it, and I threw in the ‘hey.’ That goes back to what I was saying in the beginning – we needed to stay with the fast stuff. I guess my voice is suited better for that – from watching some other tours that I’d done last year. When you do your own headline stuff, you’re playing your best catalog, and certain things work and certain things don’t – but you’re just there to do the gig. With U.D.O., there’s a touch – physically and spiritually – with his audience. So, I wanted that back. And ‘Metal Voice’ just kind of grew out of that. I showed it to Jimmy Kay, and he said, ‘Wow…this is cool! Can I use it on my show?’ And I said, ‘Absolutely.’ That was kind of cool how that all fell together. And then the video was done by a guy named Randashi, who does a lot of my video work and he actually did the artwork on the album. I can’t say enough great things about him. Great guy. Him and his friend, Angela, work with me all the time. She does my merch. I try to keep the good ones around me.”
BraveWords: Other favorite tracks?
David Reece: “I’m not going to say the whole album is brilliant, because day after day I listen, and I get excited about a different track, and I’m rehearsing it now. One song that is sticking out to me right now is ‘Judgement Day.’ There’s something to that song. I’m actually going to do a video for that song, and I’m going to dress like the Pope! It’s going to be pretty weird. And being in Italy, I’ll probably get killed if I dress like that. [Laughs] Another one I really like is ‘Blood On Our Hands,’ and I’m really fond of the title track, and ‘Collective Anesthesia’.”
BraveWords: So you’re currently based in Italy, right?
David Reece: “I moved here in December of 2014. I’m married to a beautiful Italian lady and we had met over social media through some friends of ours. We had actually met in England at a Firefest show that I vaguely remember – she was with my friend. And then we just kind of hooked up, and the best test drive for someone you want to get involved with is to drag them out on tour. So, I did that year – 2014. I asked her to come along on three tours I did, and it was totally relaxed – no drama. She was excited to see other countries and just a pleasure to be around. So, I knew she could deal with my lifestyle – it’s not easy, man.”
BraveWords: What is the Italian hard rock and metal scene like?
David Reece: “It’s good. We’re kind of lacking in the festival area. There’s a guy who’s doing a thing called Luppolo in Rock – in a village called Cremona. I’ve done the first one and the second one – the second one was last year. It’s still going – he’s trying to build it up and bring in major headliners. So far, he’s done pretty good. Last year, I worked with Evergrey, Dark Tranquillity, and Armored Saint. I think they’re working on getting Judas Priest and a few other bands in the future. That’s pretty cool. But then you’ve got a lot of the black metal community, and then you’ve got Milan – which is kind of a variation of jazz, rock, soul. It depends on the area of the city. I’m about an hour-and-a-half from there, so when there’s a rock band that I like, I’ll hit the road and drive up – if it’s UFO or someone like that. It’s an intimate setting, 200 people. I enjoy that far more than standing around 10,000 people in a crowd.”
BraveWords: What are your thoughts on your time in Accept, looking back on it today?
David Reece: “Well, I wouldn’t be talking to you if I hadn’t of done that, obviously. At the time, when the band fired me – it was a horrible ending. But I took the momentum to LA, and I got Bangalore Choir together, and I got deals offered to me by everybody in about nine gigs. It did a lot for my career. As a singer, I was doing the nightclub circuit in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, and in those days, you did cover songs to eat. So, as a vocalist, I had to kind of emulate and pretend and sing like those guys that I liked and that were popular. So, when I got into the studio, Dieter Dierks said, ‘You sing really well…but you don’t know who you are – and it’s my job to discover that.’ And I took it personal as a young kid. I thought, ‘Wait a minute…I’m great.’ But he was right. And he really pushed me to find my identity. It’s kind of funny – it’s taken a long time to develop that, and I think with this album and the last one, Resilient Heart, I really started to get boots on as a singer. I know my limits and I know my powers and all those things. I just feel more comfortable as a singer. When you do a bunch of projects…which I’m not totally opposed to, because that’s the climate we live in, I just finished an album with a Bulgarian group called John Steel, and I adore those guys. Great album. But being a solo artist, I can focus on Dave, y’know?”
BraveWords: Before, you mentioned that you were fired from Accept. What exactly happened?
David Reece: “It was a multitude of things. Let’s get the story straight – they hired me. I didn’t force them to get a new singer. And the album’s great – I’m very proud of it. Actually, it’s one of those albums that when it first came out, people loved me or hated me, and I destroyed the band or I raised the band to a different level. And over the years of playing that album live, people tell me, ‘I hated it at first, but now it’s one of my favorite Accept albums.’ And if you listen to the history of ‘Metal Heart,’ ‘Screaming For A Love Bite,’ songs like that – they were moving in that direction. And the whole corporate entity got involved – ‘Let’s get a guy that speaks English. Let’s break the United States.’ Because they could only do about 400,000 units – y’know, Balls To The Wall and stuff like that. They never really hit gold, and they said, ‘This band is established. Let’s break it.’ It didn’t work. There was a lot of anxiety involved. There was the language barrier – I had to learn German pretty quick. It’s a different culture. I mean, I love the German people now – I’ve been around Germany so long that it’s part of me, as well.
"Wolf Hoffman is the band and his wife was the manager – I’ve heard recently that she’s retired. But the focus was on Wolf – all the time. And when I came in, that kind of changed a little bit, and weird things started happening like they do in bands. Communication completely broke down. I think their expectations and mine were so high that they weren’t met sales-wise, and the tours weren’t that great. We went out with ourselves on a headliner tour throughout the States as kind of a warm-up thing. And the thing about Accept that really taught me a lot was, it’s a work ethic. That’s the German thing – work, work, work. And that’s why they’re successful. So, we played like…32 shows in a row, and then we jumped on the W.A.S.P. tour. By the time the W.A.S.P. tour was starting to roll out, the communication had really failed, and an altercation broke out between Peter and I over some personal matters – and I got fired. I blame myself 50 percent and I’ll always stand by that. But they have to accept some of the responsibility – no pun intended. I mean, it was their choice, my choice, and it just didn’t work out.”
BraveWords: Were you ever able to mend your relationship with Accept afterwards?
David Reece: “I’ve seen Stefan Kaufmann on the U.D.O. tour. We really didn’t talk much. I did go to see Accept in Milan when Peter was still in the band, and I was invited by the label. I didn’t quite feel comfortable to go backstage – although I had the access. So, I stood in front and I smiled at Peter and he smiled at me, and we waved. It was amicable. And I’m in contact with his wife on and off. We don’t really discuss what happened – it’s been 30 years, we’re a lot older and a lot of water under the bridge. We haven’t directly spoken, but that’s all behind us. With Wolf, I don’t know. I had some people mention to me something that might be really interesting was to do an ‘Accept Fest’ – kind of like Michael Schenker’s ‘Schenker Fest.’ And I was completely OK with that. That’s been thrown out there and talked about – I could do some of the Eat The Heat history, and then Udo could do Accept. But I’ve heard that Udo has Peter back doing the Dirkschneider stuff. They’re going to do a Metal Heart anniversary tour. And I just read yesterday they are going to go out with Helloween – that’s going to be a huge tour in Europe. So, I don’t know if Accept Fest is even being considered now, because that’s a big deal. But I’m totally open to it.”
BraveWords: Future touring plans?
David Reece: “We begin the 13th of March – which is the album’s official release day of the album. And the 14th in Germany. In April, I’ve got dates in the UK and Scotland, and in May, back into Europe. Then, I’m on the waiting list for all these festivals – they’ll have openings for ten bands to fill the big ones. And then the fall, I resume in Hamburg, and then we head into Scandinavia – really good territories for me. And Andy and I are already writing another album.”
(Photos by: Matt Bischof)