Holland's Lords of Metal e-zine recently conducted an interview with legendary heavy metal vocalist Udo Dirkschneider (U.D.O., ex-ACCEPT). A few excerpts from the chat follow:
Lords of Metal: You are about release your eleventh studio album with U.D.O. and I must say that has become a powerful and also fresh-sounding album.
Udo: That's right! Exactly the same amount of studio albums with ACCEPT, haha. But I agree with you on the powerful part. We did a lot of things differently on this album and chose for a more modern sound and different arrangements. It's very important for us to have a fresh sound. Of course we don't want to leave our roots, but we also don't want to stand still.
Lords of Metal: In the past Stefan's [Kaufmann] participation was the greatest in the songwriting. How big was the participation of the rest of the band this time? Does the fact that the album sounds fresh and more up to date have anything to do with the relatively younger musicians in the band?
Udo: The rest of the band was very involved with this album and it was very important for us to change the sound and the arrangements. We had our live sound engineer giving us some advice and eventually we brought him to the studio to work out his ideas. We are very happy with the result and I think we are lucky with him. He's been working with the band for so long and he knows how things should sound and what we were looking for.
Lords of Metal: Despite the modern sound and arrangements the album is very recognizable and still has the classic rock and metal feeling.
Udo: Exactly. We didn't change the music, but still did a lot of things differently as I mentioned. Listen to 'Tears of a Clown', for example; for that song we only used a cello and piano and I think we have some nice challenges for the next album as well. The point is that everything is different nowadays. There are also a lot of changes in the studio and everything is digital. This is a very good development in my opinion because everything goes faster, and not to forget cheaper. Back in the old days you had to make the pieces fall together manually, nowadays when you've recorded the parts you just press a button and everything falls to its place.
Lords of Metal: Maybe not directly related to this subject, but your camouflage outfit seems to become more and more history. At least you didn't use it during the last ACCEPT tour and I remember the promotional photo shoots for the 'Thunderball' album were you posed in a suit.
Udo: I haven't totally put that behind me. Back in the days it was something unique to do. Of course some stupid people started talking about military propaganda and Nazi crap and blablabla. You know how that goes; German, military… but nowadays it's become a style and you see a lot people doing it. But I'm not planning on leaving that behind.
Lords of Metal: I remember you saying that ACCEPT was a closed chapter and that there will be never a reunion. That was five years ago, but still in 2005 the band was back together kicking the stage on festivals.
Udo: I didn't see it as a reunion. A reunion to me is coming back together, getting to rehearsals, doing shows and writing songs together and eventually make an album. That wasn't the case with ACCEPT. It was just for the fans and for fun. We had a great time together and shared a lot of drinks and old stories. But anyway, when we got back together nobody was talking about a new studio album with ACCEPT. Even if you wanted it somewhere deep inside, you still had to wait for a magic moment to let it out. But such a magic moment never came, at least not for me.
Lords of Metal: But I think a lot of people, including myself, were hoping for such a magic moment. I don't know, maybe in two or three years if I have time, we could do some shows together again.
Lords of Metal: But I mean a real reunion, with a new album and a tour to support it.
Udo: Yes, but that means that I have to start writing songs together with Wolf Hoffmann (ACCEPT guitarist) and that would be a problem. You know, it's easy to play the old songs, because they already exist. Especially for me it was easier, because I still do those classics with U.D.O., but for some of the guys it was a bit harder. But everybody did a great job on stage. I understand that people want a new ACCEPT album, but composing songs together would have been a disaster. That way we would destroy more than we would create. We have a good relationship now and it's best to keep it that way.
Lords of Metal: And of course you can't deny having influenced a lot of bands. Not only as a singer, but also in your years with ACCEPT.
Udo: That's actually something I started to realise during the last few years. Some fifteen years ago I would never have guessed that ACCEPT has such a big influence on so many different bands. I would never have guessed that a band like DIMMU BORGIR would cover an ACCEPT song and some very known people appear to have been influenced by what we did with ACCEPT; like METALLICA for example. I see more and more bands playing a cover and there have been some tributes. This all means that we were really creating something and that makes you proud, you know?
Lords of Metal: Of course you have had a busy and exciting life and much to tell about. Have you ever thought about writing an autobiography?
Udo: Actually I am. I have already started working on it and try to get as much material as I can. But it's not going to be a typical autobiography style. I want it to be more like a novel. We'll see how it turns out and when it's ready.
Read the entire interview at www.lordsofmetal.nl.