Peter Baltes, who has played bass with Accept since 1976, has left the band. He broke the news tonight (Nov. 27) on Facebook.

"To all Accept fans," his message began. "I hereby like to announce my departure as bass player from Accept. I have been with the band from the very beginning. Many of you have been there as well. I like to thank you all for the great years we shared together. Keep it Metal."

That was soon followed by a statement from the rest of the band: "We are all heartbroken! Peter needed a change in his life and we wish him all the best. He will always be part of the Accept family and to honor his tribute to music history, we should all wish him well. Gaby, Wolf,Mark, Uwe & Christopher ...indeed ACCEPT WILL KEEP IT METAL!"

Formed in Solingen, Germany, Accept released their debut in 1979, but it wasn't until 1983's Balls to the Wall that they broke through in America thanks to its hit title track. But 1985's Metal Heart failed to build upon their newfound success, possibly because their lyrics were deemed too racy for the American mainstream.

"I think we wanted to have a certain shock factor, always," guitarist Wolf Hofmann told us in 2015, "and to talk about subject matter that other bands weren’t talking about, instead of recycling the same old rock 'n' roll subjects. Plus, being European I suppose we were a little more open-minded about sex anyhow, and with [manager] Gaby [Hauke] writing a lot of those lyrics, I’m sure her female perspective confused some people into thinking we were a gay band – ha ha! And we didn’t care. The last thing we wanted was to have generic lyrics. We wanted to be a serious metal band, sure, but we also wanted to provoke people – make them think, one way or another.

With the exception of a pair of hiatuses (1989-92 and 1997-2005), Accept have continued recording and touring. Their most recent album was 2017's The Rise of Chaos, their 15th.