- Chats with Cameron Edney
- For more than thirty years now Udo Dirkschneider has been screaming his lungs out to sold-out audiences worldwide. Forming German hard rock act Accept way back in 1971 Udo and gang rose to fame with their unique blend of rip roaring rock n roll. Over the years Accept released many amazing albums, albums that still hold up against any of today’s up and comers. Albums such as ‘Balls to the Wall’ & ‘Metal Heart’ placed Accept in the elite of Europe’s heavy metal scene. When accept members Wolf & Peter fired Udo from his own band he went on to create U.D.O. who have released an array of amazing albums over the years. Recently Udo and gang released there long awaited album Mission No X which has been music to the ears of many metal fans in Europe & beyond. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with one of the world’s greatest vocalist about his time in Accept & U.D.O., The latest album and much more. It’s time to get your Balls to the Wall with Udo Dirkschneider.
INSIDE_OUT666: Hi Udo, first of all I want to thank you for putting some time aside to speak with us today, it’s a true pleasure to have this opportunity to ask you a few questions. I want to start by talking to you about the recently released U.D.O. album "Mission No X," were you guys pleased with the overall outcome?
UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER: Hi Cameron, yes we are more than happy with the whole thing!
- IO: Awesome! For the fans who haven’t heard it yet, how does the new album differ from previous releases?
UD: This album is a more straight forward album & more rock’n’roll then the last one!
IO: How long did the new album take to record? Was it a long drawn out process?
UD: It takes us four months to write the songs & record everything, in a way it was very fast!
IO: Did you approach this album in a different way to previous releases in terms of writing & vocal styles?
UD: No! Not at all.
IO: When you prepare to do a new album such as ‘Mission No X’, what comes first the lyrics or the music & what different factors surrounded writing the material for this album?
UD: Since the ‘Man & Machine’ album we start first with the lyrics & then comes the music.
IO: Udo, tell us briefly about the following tracks from Mission No X
UD: Scream Killers: Something is coming from somewhere out of space.
The eye of the Eagle: We have to be more careful with our nature.
Stone Hard: We are still stone hard in away with our music.
Number for a Number: About bad business money wise, it’s about people that only count on money.
Mean Streets: The lyrics about dirty streets, pervert sex things. Raping people.
IO: After all these years of writing and recording how do you constantly come up with new fresh sounding material without falling into the trap a lot of other bands do by repeating themselves?
UD: I think in a way we are lucky, sometimes I ask myself when it comes to record a new album, hopefully we still have enough ideas but we’re always coming out with new ideas.
IO: Udo, more then twenty years on what motivates you to keep making music?
UD: Well, I’m still having fun! For me that’s the most important thing!
IO: I’d like to talk to you about life on the road, you guys are currently out on the road in support of the new album, how have the shows been going?
UD: We’ve just started the first part of our world tour & everything is going well so far.
IO: That’s great I hope the tour continues in that direction for you guys. Accept & U.D.O. has never played shows in Australia, are there any plans in the works to tour here soon?
UD: I would love to tour in Australia. This time we are touring throughout a very big part of Asia so, maybe there is a chance this time.
IO: Well we sure hope so mate, when the time comes to work out the set list, do you find it hard to choose the right songs, I mean there will always be fans who want to hear the old stuff & the occasional obscure song & of course you have to play some new tracks. Do you find it hard to make a set that is for fans of all eras?
UD: This is a nightmare for us [laughs]. This time we made a voting on our website. Only U.D.O. songs so the people can vote for the songs they wanna hear live. So it was a little bit easier for us this time [laughs]
IO: What is the most ridiculous thing you have ever asked for on a tour rider?
UD: We never ask for crazy, we don’t play that game!
IO: Over the years you have shared the stage with so many great bands. Who have you enjoyed touring with the most & could you share a funny road story with us from the tour?
UD: Ozzy Osbourne was the funniest tour I have been on. They are so many funny stories. Oh I remember one show during Tommy Aldridge’s drum solo, Ozzy went out of the hall straight to the next bar, everybody was looking for him so it was one of the longest drum solo’s I’ve ever heard [laughs]
IO: [laughs] oh I bet Tommy was pissed at Ozzy that night [laughs]. Tell us about the first tour Accept did, what fond/horrific memories come to mind?
UD: The first tour was in Holland & wow we had money left from this tour! [Laughs]
IO: Touring the world for so many years must put a burden on family life? Do you travel with family on the road?
UD: They just travel with me when we do festivals! On tour they visit me from time to time or I fly home on off days!
IO: Do you do anything specific to warm up & prepare for a show?
UD: No, nothing special.
IO: You have an amazing & unique voice and you’ve been singing for quite some time. These days is heavy metal still giving you any challenges?
UD: Oh of course! Every time when we record a new album I try something new with my voice!
IO: Udo, I want to talk about the Accept reunion tour, overall were you pleased with the response you received from the fans?
UD: It was a lot of fun for me & I think the people enjoyed the shows?
IO: Will there be a DVD released showcasing the reunion?
UD: I know that the Wacken show was recorded, so maybe there will be a DVD coming out.
IO: Going back to when you first left Accept, what did you think of the vocalists that followed (Rob Armitage, David Reece & Jim Stacey)? Did you keep an eye on what the band was up to?
UD: Sorry, but that is wrong. I never left the band. They fired me in a way. Wolf & Peter were not happy with my vocals anymore & they were looking for a more commercial singer to hit the American market. What a stupid idea! Of course I was keeping an eye on the band. But you know what happened...... They split up!
IO: Going way back to when you recorded the first self titled Accept album, if someone had come up to you & told you that you would still be doing this all these years later & that you would be in one of the most influential bands in heavy metal would you have believed them?
UD: No. I started the whole Accept thing in the beginning as a hobby. If somebody told me that I’d still after 30 years be in this business, I wouldn’t have believe him
IO: Anthrax is just one band that has said many times that if it wasn’t for bands such as Accept, they probably would have never have been playing, when you hear those sort of comments, you must be proud to have helped start that generation of thrash metal bands!
UD: Yeah I am. When I hear those things it makes me proud. It means I made a great contribution in this business!
IO: Udo, you certainly have made a great lasting impression on the business. After all these years & tremendous success what goals have you set for yourself these days?
UD: I hope I can go on for a long time & still write some good songs & make some people happy with our music.
IO: There has been so many highlights in your career, what would you say have been your greatest achievements to date?
UD: The Monsters of Rock 1984 & our first U.S. tour with Kiss in 1984
IO: Out of the amazing array of albums you have appeared on over the years which is your favorite to listen to & why?
UD: Queen "Innuendo." There are so many emotions on this album!!!
IO: Late last year you did some work with Lordi, how did you get involved with those guys?
UD: I got an e-mail from Sony/BMG Finland & they asked me about this relationship with Lordi & told me that Lordi is a big fan of mine. So it was very easy. I told them to send me the song as I have to listen to the song first & what can I say? I liked the song very much so I travelled to Helsinki & did the recording together with Lordi! Yesterday Lordi came up on-stage in Helsinki & he was singing Balls to the Wall together with us, it was a lot of fun!
IO: In your honest opinion what do you think about the direction hard rock & metal music has taken over the last few years?
UD: Oh, what can I say! Still a lot of young bands still come up with this & some of them a very good!
IO: What advice do you have for up and coming rock/metal bands?
UD: I think the most important thing is to believe in yourself.
IO: As an artist what are your opinions on downloading & file sharing, do you think it works for or against many artists including yourself?
UD: I think it takes a while before the music industry can handle this in a good way for artists. But anyway, this is the future & we have to deal with that.
IO: If you could put a band together consisting of musicians passed and/or present who would they be & what would you call the band?
UD: Ritchie Blackmore on guitar, Ken Hensley on keyboards, Cozy Powell on drums & Jimmy Bain on bass guitar. I’d call it Heroes of Rock!
IO: Udo, thanks so much again for taking the time out to speak with us today, as a huge fan I was thrilled to have this opportunity. Do you have any last words you’d like to share with our readers?
UD: Hopefully we can make it once again to the U.S.A. & I would love to make it to Australia. I know a lot of fans are waiting for this & we will do our best for a tour very soon! So stay tuned and keep it heavy!
© Cameron Edney March 2006