Five years after announcing that he would embark on a special tour during which he would perform ACCEPT songs one last time under the DIRKSCHNEIDER banner before closing that chapter for good, former ACCEPT frontman Udo Dirkschneider is continuing to play ACCEPT material at select shows, including at the September 18, 2020 U.D.O. concert in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, which was released on DVD and Blu-ray last month.
Asked in a new interview with Made In Metal if he still gets asked about ACCEPT by various journalists around the world, Udo said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Not [by] that many anymore. I think this is now over. Sometimes they ask me, 'Do you listen to what they are doing?' I say, 'Yes.' I mean, of course, [on] YouTube, you see [clips of the current ACCEPT band], and, of course, I hear that. But this is, in a way, far away for me. Of course, it's my history — I was doing ACCEPT; I was creating ACCEPT. I think this is over.
"[People ask me] maybe [there can be] a reunion or something like that. No — there will be no reunion," he continued. "For what? It makes no sense. So if I really have the feeling to say, 'I wanna just do another evening with only ACCEPT songs,' I can do that. And the good thing is I can do it not under U.D.O., I can do it with DIRKSCHNEIDER. And the people know if I'm coming [to their town] with DIRKSCHNEIDER, [the set] will be [only] ACCEPT songs. I don't know — maybe in two years, or whatever, maybe I'll say, 'Okay, let's maybe do another tour with only ACCEPT songs.' Everything is open for me, and that's a good thing. I have the [collaboration with the] orchestra, I have U.D.O., and sometimes I'm working on some side projects. I can do what I want, and that's good."
Dirkschneider also left the door open for U.D.O. to perform select ACCEPT songs in the future, just as it did at the aforementioned Bulgarian concert. "Maybe it can happen," he said. "Maybe I was too quick to say, after three years of playing ACCEPT songs with DIRKSCHNEIDER — it was nearly three years — maybe I was, in a way, a little bit tired. That was also not planned. Normally, it was planned just to say, [let's] make, like, 10 or 15 special shows. After this, maybe I was a little bit too quick to say I'd never play any ACCEPT songs with U.D.O. anymore. Maybe it can happen, the last three songs [of the U.D.O. set] — not in the main set, but maybe two or three songs [at the end], we [can say], 'Okay, [let's] make people happy and say, thank you very much and bye-bye.'
"When Ronnie James Dio was alive, one night he was talking also about all these old songs — the classic stuff. In a way, he said, 'Yeah, sometimes I'm really tired to do this' — all this 'Holy Diver' and also BLACK SABBATH stuff — but he said, 'In the end, the people are coming to a show and they paid for this; they wanna hear this. You are the voice of these songs. You are the voice of ACCEPT, and the people wanna hear the original one.' It's nothing against the other singer — maybe he's doing a good job — but the people, they wanna hear also this classic stuff. He said also, 'Can you imagine DEEP PURPLE without 'Smoke On The Water'? No. Not possible.' In the end, he said, give the people what they want. But for me, it's, like, I can do both. If I really wanna do only ACCEPT songs, I [can do it with] DIRKSCHNEIDER. And in U.D.O., it's maybe then a surprise, [playing] some ACCEPT stuff in the end [of the set]. I mean, of course, U.D.O. has a huge fanbase after 30 years. And they say, 'You don't need to play any ACCEPT songs anymore.' ACCEPT, they're still around — only one [original] guy left. They say, 'Okay, the people hear the songs there. It's maybe not the original voice, but they're doing a good job.' But for me, it's also, I can [choose to] do it or not. And that's it."
Last month, Udo confirmed to Canada's The Metal Voice that U.D.O. will "definitely" play some ACCEPT songs if the band's North American tour materializes in 2021 or 2022.
When he first announced the DIRKSCHNEIDER tour half a decade ago, Udo said that had "to make a clear break for myself — close the book and this is it. And I have the problem that people come to me and ask me to play more ACCEPT songs," he explained. "Other people ask me why I play ACCEPT songs at all, because there are [more than] fifteen U.D.O. records. I want to avoid such things and avoid the repeating questions concerning ACCEPT. I just can't stand that anymore. There is nothing more to be said. U.D.O. exists longer than ACCEPT. We have more records than ACCEPT."
While acknowledging that some ACCEPT fans want to hear the band's classic songs performed by the group's original singer, Dirkschneider explained at the time that "you always have these comparisons [between how these songs are played by ACCEPT and U.D.O.]. I don't want this anymore either. [The current lineup of ACCEPT] also play 'Metal Heart', they play 'Balls To The Wall' and 'Princess Of The Dawn'. And then some people tell me, 'Oh, [current ACCEPT singer Mark Tornillo] is doing it better than you.' And I go, 'That's fine. Enjoy yourself.' But I don't want this anymore. And to avoid all of this in the future, I said, 'We are doing this one more time.'"
Dirkschneider said in 2016 that his vow to never play ACCEPT material again came with one caveat. "If the band ACCEPT dissolves one day in the near future and I am still around with U.D.O., then there is a chance that I put ACCEPT songs back in the setlist," he said. "But currently there is ACCEPT, so go see them [if you want to see those songs performed live]. They are playing these songs."
Udo previously said the original plan was for DIRKSCHNEIDER to only "a few shows," and "then [the tour] got bigger and bigger [due to demand]." But, he added, "I don't want to complain about that."
Back in 2018, ACCEPT guitarist Wolf Hoffmann declined to comment on Dirkschneider's decision to embark on one final tour during which the singer would perform nothing but ACCEPT songs. "I have lots of thoughts about that, but I'm not gonna share 'em with you," he told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk". "I'd rather not comment on that, because that seems so much 'back and forth,' and I think I should stay away from it… You can draw your own conclusions all day long, but I'm not gonna get into it; it's just not worth it.
"I get asked [about Udo] so many times, and, man, it's been so many years — it's such an old story by now," Wolf continued. "We've moved on way past that, and we've had 10 brilliant years [with Mark Tornillo], we're making cool albums; I think we're doing fine. So I don't spend any time thinking about it.
"I'm very proud of the history we have together and all that, but I'm just not gonna get into the current 'he said, she said' whatever — it's not worth it," Hoffmann concluded.