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Udo Dirkschneider (U.D.O.)

Interview with Udo Dirkschneider from U.D.O.
by Orpheus Spiliotopoulos at 24 June 2004, 9:26 PM

In the early days of Heavy Metal Accept was one of the bands who'd remain in the hearts of metalheads forever. Even though the band ceased to exist, it's frontman, Udo Dirkschneider, never stopped giving us Heavy Metal anthems on his own (with U.D.O. - except for the short Accept reunion in the 90's and the farewell tour). It was a real honor for me to get to know Udo from up close and with a time limit of 10 minutes, I was really anxious in as what to ask him from all the things I had in mind. I sat at the table, next to him, pressed the record on my tape recorder and…everything went splendid!

Udo, two decades ago you would be writing songs together with Accept which are considered to be Heavy Metal classics. How does it feel to be Udo Dirkschneider? \[Laughs]

Well in a way good! I feel just like Udo Dirkschneider, I never tried to be or show that I’m some rock star. I’ve always tried to be normal, a simple person. I’ve always tried to make good music, maybe some people don’t like it but most people do. So, what can I say! \[Laughs]

Do you ever miss a specific time period in your musical career like for example the early 80’s?

Yeah.

You miss that period a lot? Would you go back in time if you had the opportunity to do something like that?

It was interesting back then but it’s also interesting now, to survive in this time you know.

Do you feel we’re living in very difficult times?

Yeah, I mean every time has it’s special thing. The 80’s were great but I think they’ll never come back (the 80’s). In a way we’re having a big reunion of the Metal scene…

You believe that?

Yeah, I can feel it. If you take a look at all the festivals and see who’s on the bill, you get that feeling…

Judas Priest (reunited with Rob Halford)…

Judas Priest, The Scorpions, Twisted Sister…The concerts are getting much better than it was 2-3 years ago and young people, as a new generation, are coming up. Even America is coming back to this kind of music!

So, it’s turning around again…

Yes!

From Animal House (1988) to Thunderball (2004) you’ve had about 11 releases. How do you always manage to be so restless and wild? \[Laughs]

I guess we’re working people, I don’t know.

Yeah but where do you draw your energy from? The people?

From the people yeah, I mean…I like to write music, I like to write songs, we also have our own studio. In a way we’re lucky because we don’t have to say we need a couple of weeks to go into the studio, it’s like 5 minutes away from me, Steffan is 5 minutes away from me; sometimes he’ll call me and go I’ve got this idea blahblahblah and we’ll go over to the studio. In a way it’s easy for us. I’ve also got a little studio at home, so if I ever come up with an idea, a melody, I’ll sing it and play some keyboards etc. So in a way I never feel under pressure! If we don’t have any songs to write for a new album, we simply go on tour for a year or whatever! \[Laughs]

An album has to be right, for us and then we see if the people like it or not.

Do you feel, as an artist, that you’ve gone as high as you can go or do you feel that there’s always room for more?

I think – I hope there’s always room for more! There are people asking me how long I’m still going to be doing this. I think the most important thing for me is that I’m still having fun. That’s the most important thing. The moment I get the feeling it’s not fun anymore or that I’m tired of touring, I’m going to stop.

But obviously that’s a far away situation! \[Laughs]

Yeah! \[Laughs]. With U.D.O’s current lineup, we’ve been together for 5 years already and Steffan told me, while we were recording Thunderball that he got the same feeling we had back in the early days of Accept.

Well I’m sure you’re going to get that feeling again tonight, on stage! \[Laughs]

Yeah! Whenever you see this band on stage then you know exactly what I mean.

Thunderball is a very powerful Heavy Metal album. Personally it gave me an outstanding feeling, probably the same feeling I had when I first listened to Accept’s Breaker or Balls To The Wall…

Yeah,  I agree with you!

So are you satisfied that much as well?

I’m very satisfied. I think this is a straightforward album, it’s aggressive, it’s got everything.

What inspired you to write most of the songs on Thunderball? Train ride to Russia – I heard all the other reporters asking you about this song as well…

Yeah \[Laughs]

Is that song a kind of a Thank You to the Russian fans?

Yes, exactly.

Are you going to add more dates to your already long tour schedule or is it going to end in October, which is already 7 months of touring?

We started in the beginning of March and tomorrow we’re going back to Germany, we have a few days off, then we go to Japan and then we come back from Japan and do our summer festivals…Nearly every week we’re full of shows…

It’s a non-stop tour! Aren’t you afraid you’re going to get tired?

No. I’m looking forward to the festivals. Even if that seems a bit hard. For example we’ve got this festival in Spain, the Rock Mania and then we’ve got a concert in the Czech Republic the next day. We don’t know yet how we’re going to go to the Czech Republic the next day…We could fly to Prague but then we’d have to drive very fast. Another example is when we had to play in Southern Germany and the next day we had a concert in Norway. So…\[Laughs]

But in a way I like the summer festivals; you meet all the bands there! I’m going to meet Judas Priest definitely in Sweden Rock, The Scorpions and so on. It’s always a big family coming back together again! \[Laughs]

What are your plans after the tour has ended?

I don’t know when the tour will be ending. At the moment it seems like we’re going to end touring next year in March. It depends on how long the American tour will be. When we finish touring we’ll definitely take a 2-3 month break and then…next album! \[Laughs]

Who’s idea was the cover artwork?

We had a guy in Germany who was working for Disney (and still is working for them) and so we had this idea with the world on fire. I said the world is on fire, ok, make something and he came out with this great cover!

What do you have to say about Heavy Metal nowadays? You talked to me about classic Heavy Metal bands but what about new bands, new styles in Metal?  

I have a daughter who’s 16 years old. She listens to Korn and stuff like that…

Do you like these bands?

Um, there’s some interesting stuff…you know, whenever I hear this kind of music, I really chill out \[Laughs]. As I said, there’s some interesting stuff but it’s not the music that I would write.

Yeah, it is a completely different thing…

Yes, it’s completely different but it’s interesting. Many ask me why don’t you do something like that as well? and I go do stuff like that for what? They can do it better!.

 We have our own thing…

Of course, we’ve got our own style and I don’t have to be like Korn or something like that.

What about the concerts in Greece. Are you happy to be back after so long?

Yeah, we tried many times to come but there was no business response from the promoters \[Note by Orpheus: isn’t it strange how all the big artists point out the fact that Greek promoters never ask them to come to Greece?]. I hope it doesn’t take us another 6 years to come back! \[Laughs]

Hopefully not! Anyway, unfortunately we have to end this interview and the last words are yours, to send out a message to all your fans, worldwide!

I think Metal music is still alive and hopefully people will like it for a long, long time. For me, this kind of music will never die!

Thank you Udo for this interview and we’d like to wish you all the best!

Thank you. Enjoy the show!



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