Udo Dirkschneider of U.D.O.
Interviewed by Celtic Bob
Hello, how’s it going?
Fine, we’re in New York and easy go. Everything is fine.
I want to start off by wishing you a Happy Birthday today.
Yeah, thank you.
Lets get ready to do the interview I guess.
Yes, of course.
Okay, you have a new album coming out next month; can you tell us a bit about this album? I have only heard one song so far.
One song so far, ha ha. Okay, the new album. What can I say about the new album? I mean, so we have two new guitar players but the whole album is played by Andrey Smirnov, the guy from Russia. Stefan Kaufmann is not with us anymore, he had a big health problem so ……came very late, the second player from Finland. Yeah, what can I say about the new album? I mean it is made, it is a little bit back to the older days you know, the people at the studio, a little bit of different two producing styles; the second was more into computer stuff. I like more to have the people face to face. Yeah, and what can I say, I mean they have different stuff on it – up tempo songs, beat songs, ballads, we have a song I think in Spanish, we have an orchestra on there. So it is yeah a lot of interesting stuff on this album.
I look forward to hearing it. How is Stefan doing now?
Bob, I hope he is fine. I was talking to him two days ago. So he won’t be back in the studio, back to his own ??? and at the moment he is doing well. Yeah, what can I say? He, of course, he has to see what he wants to do in the future but he doesn’t want a pain event anymore. He had so much pain problems on the last tour when we did the “Rev-Raptor Tour” and I think it was the best thing for him he had to quit to be ???. I mean for the future we will see if we will work together but not for the STEELHAMMER album. I want to have a break and get myself together, so that’s yeah.
That’s understandable. So how is it now without Stefan and Igor gone? How has that affected the band? Was it a big change or….
Yeah a big change, so the situation that we have now. I mean with Igor and Stefan we had just the rhythm guitar player and the solo guitar player and now we have two rhythm guitar players, two solo guitar players so we can play a lot of more stuff what we couldn’t play in the past. You know, all the twin solo stuff and stuff like that. But yeah, I think the young, the very young, Andrey is 29 and Kasperi is 32 so they are a different generation by yeah what can I say, there is fresh blood in the band, so keeps me also young.
How do you prepare for recording an album tour? Like do you have any rituals or warm up your voice to prepare it?
Voice wise, in a way I don’t do anything. I think I am very lucky, I just do it. So and preparing an album is like one day we collect all the ideas and then we see what we got and yeah then we start working on a new album. Then for this album we had over 30 ideas and in the end when we started recording in the studio we had around 18 songs and then so 15 left over.
Wow. So the new tour is bringing you back to Canada and North America.
Yes, after a long long time. So after 12 years, that’s a long time.
Well, I’m in northern Canada so will we see more Canadian dates in the future?
I don’t know. I mean so we did a tour doing the shows in Canada, North America in July. At the moment I have really like I have tons of interviews doing a lot of promotion. IN a way this is for us to see what’s happening in America, what happened in Canada, how everything goes and I think so it looks like we are coming back there next year for a longer tour.
Oh, perfect. Sounds real good to me.
So what can we expect? What can the fans expect to see and hear live?
I mean, we make up a very good mix; a few of the old stuff and now the back catalogue is out and of course two or three????
Is there any favourite “obscure” U.D.O. or Accept songs that you like to slip into the set now to keep it fresh?
Yes, what we do is we play an Accept song and that very much like “Screaming For A Love-Bite” and for U.D.O. I have so many, I mean at the moment I like very much like “Timebomb”.
Oh, okay, are you still on good terms with Wolf and the Accept guys?
Nope, not anymore, not anymore, sorry.
So have you heard their last couple of albums?
I heard their album BLOOD OF THE NATIONS, I think that was a good album, but from the second one, I just heard one song, it was a title song. I believe it was “Stalingrad”.
You did three reunion albums a couplet years ago, PREDATOR, DEATH ROW, and OBJECTION OVERRULED which are long out of print. Is there any plans to have them put back out on the market again?
Do you mean those three albums or what do you mean?
Yes those three albums. They are not in print anymore, and they are very hard to locate.
Yes, but I don’t know. I mean this was a thing I wanted Accept to do.
It was a shame what happened to U.D.O. I mean that’s why we was coming over to America for a long time, so we had no record companies or we couldn’t get the albums over there, no co-management, no promotion going on, nothing. And so now we have a co-management, we have a promotion company, a record company, so everything at the moment looks very well, that’s why we are here.
Yeah, because I am just starting to get the re-issues myself now and I’m loving it. It really opened me up to like oh! What albums did I used to have years ago that I got to go re-buy for my old cassettes and albums that I had, and re-buy them and this is what I have been doing lately.
Yeah, so I mean now it makes sense for us to come over to America, so now you can really work when you have everything behind you on record label, promoter stuff like that, so that makes sense to make a tour.
Yeah, because like I said there’s a lot of push for the new album, a lot of press online.
Yeah, there is a lot of press coming up.
Yeah, and AFM is doing a great job.
Yes, they are doing a very good job.
Who owns all the old Masters, do you own all your old masters to the albums?
Yeah, I mean up to most of them, until the LIVE FROM RUSSIA, that’s all my Rights they are all to me.
Oh, okay! I didn’t know if you owned any of the Accept stuff , or if that was all their own stuff.
No, I mean the Accept is….
That’s their own Stuff?
Yeah that’s not on me.
Ah, okay! So now, you have been around many years in the industry, and like I said, I have been a fan since I first heard and saw the video for “Balls to the Wall” back in ’84 when I was a teenager and it’s just like iconic to me, and I was wondering now how everything has changed over the years, with the age of digital downloads and compressed MP3’s and all that? Where do you see everything going?
Yeah, I mean there are a lot of changes going on now with all this download stuff, but I mane, you know on one hand it’s good. I mean, you can search all over the world in seconds, the news and everything. The bad thing is that the selling of the albums are going down and that makes it hard of living for new bands. And the old bands are in a way lucky, they have a huge back catalogue. For bands now, to make money, just going on a tour and some merchandising , I don’t think that you can make a living selling records.
No, I guess that was the biggest change that affected you personally, the change in the record sales.
Yeah, of course, I mean the record sales is gone. I mean people are selling nearly 100,000 and now you’re lucky if you sell 30,000. It’s really gone down.
Yeah, that’s a massive change.
Yep, but what I said before, in a way we can be lucky so we can tour all over the world and if you have a huge back catalogue selling, the first Accept albums are selling. In a way I’m lucky.
Yeah, and I guess like the metal fans are more out there and will support the bands they love with the merchandise and buy the albums for every single different version of the album.
Yeah, I mane, I think also we are in a way very lucky with the kind of music we are doing, the heavy metal fans they want to have the real stuff, the download percentage is, for what I can say for U.D.O is like 44% that’s it.
Wow! So is there any of the new artists that you enjoy that are just out in the past few years?
There are so many around we have all kinds of new bands in Germany. One band for me international wise, they will make it to me if they have the right person, the wrong band is like Kissin’ Dynamite, and there are so many bands around. I mean don’t ask me about names, some have some pretty strange names. I can’t remember the names.
Yeah, I understand that. Where I help with the website work and do cd’s I’m like hearing new bands all the time.
Yeah, so many! But I mean the thing is, one year later or two years later, it doesn’t exist anymore.
Yep, that’s the sad story, put out this one fantastic album and then you hear so many and they are gone.
Yep, that’s the way it is.
You mentioned with the new album you had a lot of other songs and song ideas that you didn’t use and you released CELEBRATOR a couple of years ago so is there many more rarities left?
No, we are out, it’s empty!
So we’re not going to see like a U.D.O. box set down the road of rarities and unreleased?
Yeah, of course. No but I think that in the future we still have some songs left and some ideas left to put on an album.
I have one more question for you. Many musicians now are writing books; memoirs and autobiographies over the past few years; have you ever considered writing one yourself?
Yeah, I’m working on it, but it takes awhile, maybe 2-3 more years.
Ah, okay! Well that’s pretty well all I have for you. Just wondering if there was anything else you would like to say to the readers of Metal-Rules.com?
Yeah, what can I say. I mean I’m looking forward to come to, I think it’s Canada right?
So yeah, I’m looking forward to coming to Canada and seeing you there.
Thanks to Dustin at AFM for setting up the interview.