Former ACCEPT members Herman Frank and David Reece recently joined forces in a new band called IRON ALLIES. Also involved with the project are bassist Donnie Van Stavern (RIOT) and drummer Francesco Jovino (U.D.O., PRIMAL FEAR, VOODOO CIRCLE, JORN).
Reece, who is promoting his upcoming solo album "Blacklist Utopia", discussed his collaboration with Frank during a new interview with the "Heavy Metal Mayhem" radio show. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "The ironic thing about Herman and I, we played festivals many times and not even met each other. And here we are, part of the same band and their history. And we would miss each other by, like, two minutes. We always wanted to see each other, but something came up [and] we never really got to meet. So Herman and I started talking, and we said, 'Yeah, let's put a band together. Who do you wanna get?' Well, my manager suggested Donnie from RIOT on bass, Donnie Van Stavern. And we talked to [drummer] Mike Heller from FEAR FACTORY a few times, and that didn't really work out. And then I said, 'I've got Francesco Jovino, dude, on my [solo] album. This guy is a beast.' So then we got the band together. So right now we're sitting on about 22 songs that are recorded, and we're shopping a deal."
Regarding the musical direction of IRON ALLIES, Reece said: "It's got some of those elements of old [ACCEPT circa] 'Restless And Wild'. It's got Dave's voice — [as heard on my solo albums] 'Cacophony [Of Souls]' and 'Blacklist [Utopia]'. It's ripping shit, man. I'm really excited about it."
According to Reece, part of the motivation for putting IRON ALLIES together is the negative publicity surrounding their respective departures from ACCEPT. "They badmouth him, they badmouth me, there was this back-and-forth all the time, and then [Herman] said, 'You know what? Screw it. I'm gonna call David Reece,'" David explained. "And I'd never really talked to him. He just came down to Italy about two weeks ago, and we got to actually meet face to face. We went out to a great dinner, hung out for about six hours. He was just driving around Europe, relaxing, 'cause he had just finished another VICTORY album and his solo album, so he needed a break."
David said that he is excited about the prospect of hitting the road with a seasoned veteran like Herman.
"This is a band of guys who have been around and done it all," he said. "So we're not gonna have that, 'Oh, I don't wanna go there. Do we have to get up so early?' We know what we've gotta do. We've gotta travel and we've gotta rock."
He added: "I'm hoping that thing gets picked up pretty quick and we can release that in the early part of '22, 'cause that's really good."
Frank broke the news of the collaboration in a June 2021 interview with Justin Smulison of Jace Media. He said: "I'm working right now — already working since a couple of months [ago] — on another project I wanna do with a singer, a well-known singer. He played in the same band as I did, but we never played [in the band] at the same time." When Smulison guessed that Frank was referring to Reece, the guitarist said: "How do you know? Good guess."
Herman joined ACCEPT in 1982 shortly before the release of the band's "Restless And Wild" album and exited the group for the first time after the arrival of 1983's "Balls To The Wall" LP.
When ACCEPT reunited for festival appearances in 2005, Herman handled second-guitar duties alongside founding axeman Wolf Hoffmann, with Stefan Schwarzmann sitting behind the kit.
Frank and Schwarzmann were involved in ACCEPT's comeback with singer Mark Tornillo and appeared on the reunited group's first three studio albums: 2010's "Blood Of The Nations", 2012's "Stalingrad" and 2014's "Blind Rage".
Two years ago, Herman told All That Shreds about his decision to exit ACCEPT in December 2014: "It was just time to leave the band. Let's put it this way: I wanted to do music the way I started to. I wanted to have my own band. I wanted my own music and just wanted to just play my own leads. Not to follow somebody's guitar. I was getting too old for it. It's fine to be a backup, but after a couple of years, it's time for a different thing."
Reece was recruited for ACCEPT's "Eat The Heat" LP in 1989 following the departure of Udo Dirkschneider. Reece's higher-pitched delivery was in sharp contrast to Dirkschneider's distinctive style, and overall, the album was a critical and commercial disappointment. Midway through the "Eat The Heat" tour, differences between the band and Reece had come to a head, leading to the altercation between the singer and bassist Peter Baltes in Chicago. By the end of 1989, ACCEPT had hung it up.
David spoke about the circumstances that led to his dispute with the bassist during an interview with Metalliluola. He explained: "Peter had told my girlfriend I was having an affair. And I asked him, 'Did you tell her?' And he said, 'Yes.' So I slapped him. That ended it. It was bad before that, the communication. Ticket sales weren't good. We were opening for W.A.S.P."
He continued: "I think they really thought that getting the American [singer] in, they were gonna break the United States. But ACCEPT aren't really huge in America, like [in Europe]. That's why they hired me — they wanted a change. And the tour was going kind of slow. We did a headline tour first in the States, [playing in the] clubs. That was good. And then we went out with W.A.S.P. and METAL CHURCH, and it was half[-filled] rooms. So they were feeling the stress of that, and the communication was bad. So it was building."
David went on to say that he is sorry for assaulting his former bandmate. "Peter and I are friends now," he said, adding that "it was a bad decision" that was made while he and the rest of the group were under "a lot of stress. Being in a band, it can be a lot of drama. He had no right to tell her, and I had no right to slap him. So, I regret it."
"Blacklist Utopia" will be released on October 29 via El Puerto Records.