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INTERVIEW – Udo Dirkschneider, April 2013

| 10 April 2013 | Reply


What self proclaimed rocker hasn’t raised a fist in the air and sang the lyrics when a rock classic like Accept’s “Balls To The Wall” comes on?  I was lucky enough to score a little phone time withe the legendary voice behidn that metal classic while he tours the U.S. promoting his upcoming CD “Steelhammer” as well as the reissue of his back catalog here in the states.

ToddStar: Udo!

Udo: Yes, hello.

ToddStar: Hello, Todd Jolicoeur from 100% Rock, how are you?

Udo: Yeah, I’m fine thank you very much.

ToddStar: I understand Happy Birthday is in order.

Udo: Yes, thank you very much. It was on Saturday.

ToddStar: Did you have a good party?

Udo: Yeah… not that much. I have to do a lot of promotion and interviews; there’s not the time to really party the whole night, if you have to do twenty or twenty five interviews the next day. We had a nice dinner and a couple of drinks and that was it.

ToddStar: Oh, well it’s better than nothing.

Udo: That’s right.

ToddStar: Well listen, thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule today, we really appreciate it.

Udo: No problem.

ToddStar: You’ve got a new album, Steelhammer, coming out soon.  What can you tell us about the album?


Udo: What can I say about the album? I mean, it’s a little bit different from Dominator or Rev-Raptor, I mean on this album I was not a producer anymore, the song writing was different, I was working with the bass player  Fitty Wienhold together as producer and also song writing wise, and I think this album for me is more down to earth and has more power.  We put fifteen songs on this album and there’s a lot of different stuff on here.  He was working with an orchestra.  I was singing a song just with a piano, but also there is real heavy on it, fast songs, slower songs, up-tempo songs, I don’t know.  Everything what you need as a metal fan, is on this album.

ToddStar: I love the single Metal Machine.  I like that it’s got that classic U.D.O. sound, but like you said, it seems like you took today’s rock sound and you merged it with that classic U.D.O. sound and come up with a whole new genre almost.

Udo: Yeah, I mean of course, we have a new guitar player in the band, and Andrey Smirnov.  He was the guy who is doing all the guitar on the album, so he was coming just in the beginning of the recording where everything was already done with writing.  Also Andrey, he gives the whole thing a new touch.  He’s a young generation, different generation.  They’re playing a little bit different, the whole style of what U.D.O is doing.  But you know, I think everything we did, we did a new album, for me everything’s fresh.

ToddStar: That’s a good question though, you’ve been doing this a long time.  Thirty-four years since the Accept debut, twenty six years since you kicked U.D.O. the band off, how do you keep it so fresh having been at this for so long?

Udo: I don’t know.  Maybe I’m very lucky to have always the right ideas for new albums.  Definitely one point is I am still having fun to do this.  Recording new albums, working always with the right people and yeah, what can I say?  I’m not tired of touring, I’m not tired of recording albums, so I feel its fun to do these and I think that’s the most important thing.

ToddStar: Is there any type of song that you haven’t recorded that you’d like to?  Would you like to do a full blown orchestra album, or are there any duets out there you want to do?

Udo: Yeah, I’ve got a lot of ideas that maybe one day we do an acoustic album, I don’t know.  Or maybe we do an album together with an orchestra, but there has to be the right moment to do stuff like that and we will see.  I don’t know what’s coming up with the next album.  We will see what happens.  Now it is interesting to work with the new guitar player, who has also a lot of ideas.  We will see what’s coming up on the next album.  I don’t know yet.


ToddStar: Any duets? If you were allowed to duet with anybody out there, I know you’ve done some stuff with Helloween, and you’ve done some stuff with Doro and Raven.  Is there were an artist that you would like to duet with?

Udo: I mean with Doro, I have a very good friendship with Doro so we did Dancing with an Angel together.  I was singing on their classics album, Breaking the Law, a cover version of Judas Priest.  Then a lot of bands coming up and ask me to be the guest singer.  I did many things.  I was doing some stuff with some Russian bands, I was doing something with an Australian band, English band, and some guy from Finland.  Yeah, I mean sometimes they’re interesting, see how they are working.  So I don’t know.  If there’s something interesting I say yes, let’s do it.

ToddStar: When you first started this rock and roll ride all those years ago, did you ever think that once you hit sixty you’d still be doing it?

Udo: No, I mean when I started with music I was fourteen years old, so I started as a hobby together with a friend you know, and there was no… I never was thinking I would become a professional musician and I’d stay that long in this business.  Yeah, I mean it was just like, happened step by step.

ToddStar: If you could point to a few musicians who inspired you in the beginning, who would they be?

Udo: Oh, I would say that was of course Bon Scott of AC/DC, and I would say I was listening to a lot of Sweet stuff, and there wasn’t  I never was really inspired by somebody.  I always was working already very early on my own songs and my own voice.  I never tried to sing like, except like Bon Scott or the singer of Sweet or Deep Purple or whatever, I always did my own thing.

ToddStar: How does it feel when someone comes up to you and says that you inspired them?

Udo: Oh yeah, I mean I know, with Accept and also now with U.D.O. we have inspired a lot of musicians, a lot of… especially from Europe.  I mean all the bands like Helloween, Running Wild; so many bands are inspired by Accept, you know.  One guy said to me one day, when I heard the Breaker album by Accept that was the day I said I have to be a guitar player.  Yeah so, I mean… I know there are a lot of people inspired by Accept and U.D.O., what can I say?  In a way it makes you proud that you did something.

ToddStar: If you had to pick a song or two from your catalog that you’d like to re-record because you just don’t think it had enough to it….

Udo: I think you have to be careful to re-record something.  We did it once with “I’m a Rebel” but that was okay, but let’s say for example you want to re-record “Balls To The Wall” I don’t know that you’d get the same feeling, and leave it like it is.  I don’t want to do re-record anything.

ToddStar: You recently put out a bunch of re-issues, over the last couple of years you’ve been re-issuing your U.D.O. catalog. What inspired that move?

Udo: Nobody ever comes in a record company in America, so a German company open up an office here, I mean they didn’t get the whole catalog of U.D.O. for a long time, it was unavailable in the US and that was also why we were not coming over.  It makes no sense for us to come over if there was nothing.  No offers really and no booking agent, no promotion, no albums out here in America, but now everything looks different and now we have a whole back catalog out here in the US and so now we have a record company, and a co-management, promotion, booking company.  We’ve got all the back up and now it makes sense to come over and start again at the US and we will see what’s going on.  So far everything looks really good.

ToddStar: I’ll tell you, as someone who always had to have a bootleg copy, I was very happy to see Mean Machine get re-released.

Udo: Yes, okay.

ToddStar: That’s always been one of my favourite U.D.O. releases and I was so glad to see it. Especially to have the live version of “Break the Rules” on it. That was just very cool to have.


Udo: Yes, I mean, so what we are doing now on the US tour, we try to make a good mix up of U.D.O.’s stuff, from all the albums, but you can’t do everything otherwise you have to play for all day, and of course some Accept classic stuff, and we will see how it goes for U.D.O., but I heard they’re already talking about that they come back next year for a longer US tour.  This is just a short one, and I call it more of a promotional tour and see what’s going on for U.D.O. right now.

ToddStar: I know Detroit is very excited to see you come into town.  You’re coming into town 19th April and I know Detroit is buzzed just waiting for you guys to come and destroy the town.  Are there any cities in the US that you’ve found over the years that you just really enjoy playing?

Udo: Yeah, New York for example, was always very good for us, and I mean also Chicago, and Detroit, Cleveland, some of those places.  Everywhere was in a way not bad, but the last tour here in 2001, that was twelve years ago, and of course also down in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, it’s always good for us.  So we will see what happens this time on the short tour, and then next year hopefully we’re doing a really long tour here, and then we can go nearly everywhere.

ToddStar: Okay. I know you’re a busy man so I’ve only got a couple more for you and then we’ll let you get back to the rest of your day.  If there was one song in the history of time that you didn’t write, but you wish you had, what would it be?

Udo: This is a hard question. I think in a way I wish I’d written “Smoke on the Water,” then I would be very rich.

ToddStar: Very good point. Okay, to wrap it up, Udo, what is the meaning of life?

Udo: The meaning of life?  It’s like enjoy your life. I mean, I’m very lucky that I can put my hobby into a professional thing and do what I like most.  It’s very important, for me, to enjoy life, stay healthy and give the people a good time.

ToddStar: Short and sweet, I wouldn’t expect anything different from you.  Again, thank you so much for your time, Udo.

Udo: No problem.

ToddStar: Happy Birthday, and we can’t wait to see you come into Detroit on Friday 19th April and play your ass off.

Udo: Will do! Okay, thank you very much.

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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