Peter Baltes: Accepted
By Randy Rudder
The 700 Club
Peter Baltes played bass for the heavy metal band Accept, one of the hottest bands in Europe in the 1980s. Peter was named heavy metal bass player of the year in 1985 and was leading the classic rock ‘n roll life. Although he never tried hard drugs, he drank constantly when the band was on the road.
“The bus was like a liquor store,” Peter tells The 700 Club. “Backstage we would have a whole array of different liquors, beers, wine.”
Like many metal bands in the 80s, Accept’s videos often showed burning crosses and other anti-Christian symbols. Although he was an atheist at the time, Peter and his lead guitarist were often drawn to churches while they were on the road.
“We went to churches all the time, me and Wolfe, the guitar player, because of the architecture, but it was a place of refuge where it was quiet and people were praying. We had a hectic life, so in every city we were in – London, Paris, or wherever – we would find ourselves, or by myself, going to a church to sit in the pews for a little bit.”
Peter was leading the typical rock star life complete with money, fame, and all the women he could want. But then one day a beautiful blonde showed up at one of his shows.
He says, “She came to the show, and I was very bold. I asked her if she wanted to take a picture with me. She said yes. I asked her for her phone number, and she gave me the phone number.”
Johanna and Peter dated for several months, later married and settled outside Philadelphia. Eventually Peter grew tired of the phoniness of the music business.
“We met a lot of people that pretended to be your friend. But in the end you find out, you’re just a commodity. You’re an object. You sell records, so people attach themselves to you.”
Peter and Johanna soon had two children. He then helped manage a young band and was excited about working in the music business again. But then tragedy struck.
“They had a rehearsal room in a storage place, a storage facility,” he says. “There was a kerosene heater. That particular night, I was supposed to go there and deliver some tapes, but I was late. The guitar player and the singer were there early. They lit up the kerosene heater, and it exploded. It set guitar player on fire, and he fell over the drum set and burned to his death.”
Both of the young men perished in the fire. Peter recalls, “For the first time, I actually felt my heart probably. I was very prideful. You can’t help it when you’re in my business. Pride is all you have. That’s what you live off. That’s how you make your money. So now, for the first time, I started caring about others.”
Peter was confronted with his own mortality and began to search for answers. One Sunday, he and his wife attended a local church.
“So I went and I sat in the second floor balcony next to the exit door. I was ready to leave. At any given moment, I could have just snuck out, but I stayed.”
Later that week, two members of the church paid Peter a visit.
“They started talking to me and asked me about God. I told them, ‘I don’t believe. I think it’s all humbug.’ They asked me more questions, and I got a little aggravated. For like three or four hours, we went back and forth. Then finally I threw them out of the house. I said, ‘Don’t you ever come back here.’ Then I felt really empty. I’m thinking, ‘They really came in love, these people. They didn’t do anything to me. They didn’t call me names, curse at me or anything. They brought me a nice piece of bread.’”
The two men returned a week later. This time, peter was ready to listen to them.
“This time, they didn’t say much. They said, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ I said, ‘Well, my friends died in a fire.’ They just asked me, ‘Would you mind if we prayed for you and with you?’ All I remember is that I started getting… first I got cold and then I got warm. Then I started sweating a lot and shaking a little bit. At the end, they just both asked me how I feel, and I said, ‘I never felt like this before in my entire life.’ They said, ‘Are you ready to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, because that’s the only way you will ever feel this way again.’ I said, ‘Absolutely, yes.’ That’s how I got saved. The next day, I never smoked a cigarette, drank a beer or any alcohol. I haven’t drunk alcohol for ten or twelve years now. My whole life changed.”
His wife Johanna then shared a secret with him. “My wife was saved the same week, and I didn’t know about it. “
Peter got involved in the praise team at church, and formed a Christian band called Four Inch Nails. He hopes to use his celebrity to share his faith with other rockers.
“I’m in a unique position now, because I’m gonna reach people that nobody will go to reach. Who cares about heavy metal fans? Most people think, ‘Ah, let them go to hell. They’re already there.’ But it’s really not the music. Most of them don’t even know what they are following.”
Peter says he often thinks back to the day he was saved.
“At that particular moment, I was broken. I had nowhere to go. I was famous. You’re supposed to be powerful, but I was nothing. I was zero. I know now that at that particular moment, you’re ripe. You’re ready. Only at that moment, you can truly accept Christ. You can’t do it when you’re full of pride. It just doesn’t work.”
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.