UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER Comments On Recent U.D.O. Lineup Changes: 'I Want To Have Fresh Blood In The Band'

August 25, 2018

Vocalist Udo Dirkschneider (U.D.O. , DIRKSCHNEIDER, ex-ACCEPT) recently spoke with Jimmy Kay of The Metal Voice. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the new U.D.O. album, "Steelfactory":

Udo: "We start[ed] working on this album after the first American tour in March 2017. We [were] not doing everything sending links over the internet and stuff like that. We [were] going into our small studio — the studio of my son, and it's also our rehearsal room — and then we did the whole thing face-to-face. It was really like teamwork, coming up with ideas, doing demo sessions and blah blah blah like this. I think it was a very good thing to do... It's more creative if you do it face-to-face as a teamwork. The 'Steelhammer' and the 'Decadent' album, most of the songs [were] written just by two people, [bassist] Fitty Wienhold and me. This time, everybody was involved. Also, my son [drummer Sven Dirkschneider] was coming up with good ideas [that were] a little bit more modern — of course, [he's] 24 years old, a completely different generation — and it went really quick."

On whether he had any specific goals as the band began to write and record:

Udo: "I never sit down and say, 'Hmm, we have to make an album like this or this and this.' We just start working on a new album and see what's coming up. Sometimes it's a little bit more aggressive; sometimes it's a little bit more melodic; sometimes you put keyboards into that, whatever. This time, I think on the whole album, it's a good mix of songs. We have really fast songs, uptempo songs, mid-tempo songs, ballads, everything."

On whether he would agree that the album has an "ACCEPT flavor":

Udo: "Yeah. I don't have a problem with this [description]. If you're touring nearly three years and nearly 300 shows and play every night ACCEPT songs, of course it influences your composing. It will be a lie to say no. [Laughs] This is definitely an influence in the songs."

On whether he'd be open to collaborating with another former ACCEPT vocalist, David Reece:

Udo: "Yeah, but definitely not at the moment. At the moment, I don't have any time to do any cooperations or doing something together like duets or whatever. Maybe one day, making a special EP or whatever, choosing some people to sing together with, but at the moment, I'm so busy, [it's] unbelievable. There are so many things at the moment going on that I don't have any time to think about doing something else."

On changing his focus from DIRKSCHNEIDER, in which he performed classic ACCEPT material, back to the long-running U.D.O.:

Udo: "After the DIRKSCHNEIDER tour and having success with this tour everywhere, everybody was a little bit nervous, 'Okay, what will happen then with U.D.O.?' But the reaction [to 'Steelfactory'] is fantastic. I was a little bit surprised. The review chain in Europe so far [is] very, very good. [There's] a lot of interest. At the moment, I'm a really happy guy."

On whether he's reconsidered his vow to stop playing ACCEPT songs live once DIRKSCHNEIDER performs its final show:

Udo: "No. This is definitely [still the case]. I said I don't do it. On the next U.D.O. tour, definitely we don't play any ACCEPT songs. ACCEPT is still existing. Mark [Tornillo] is a good singer; he can do that. Then they can go to ACCEPT. If you call the band ACCEPT, the people want to hear these songs. I'm really in a lucky situation — I called [my band] U.D.O. I don't have to do this. If you want to hear it, please, go to ACCEPT."

On the recent departure of guitarist Bill Hudson:

Udo: "The last two guitarists I had — Kasperi [Heikkinen] and Bill Hudson — both of them, they [were] not a real team player. In U.D.O., I'm not a solo artist — we want to work as a team, and that's what we did on this new album. This is very important for us. These two guys definitely [were] not a team player, you know? Bill was not... how can I say it? He was not really interested to come up with some ideas or want to record the album, and that was really strange... We had to do a lot festivals as DIRKSCHNEIDER, so then I was asking [former ACCEPT drummer and U.D.O. guitarist] Stefan Kaufmann again, 'Can you help us out?' We definitely have a good relationship. He said, 'Yeah, no problem.' For him, it was, in a way, easy — he knows all the ACCEPT songs, of course; it was not a big thing for him. [That gave us] time enough to do a lot of auditions with guitar players, and we nearly know which one it will be, but we [will] announce this in the middle of September."

On whether he considered asking former ACCEPT guitarist Herman Frank to join:

Udo: "No. This is not in the best way... I don't want to have all these old memories back or stuff like that. I want to keep going. I can tell you, the new guitar player is 26 years old and unknown. This is what I'm looking for — more modern stuff, young people. They're putting really fresh stuff in there. It's nothing against Herman, but... I want to have fresh blood in the band. That's what I was looking for."

On being bandmates with his son:

Udo: "He's now three years in the band, and he's getting better and better. For him, ['Steelfactory'] was the first album he was recording, and I think he did a great job. He has a lot of influence in arranging, and he came up with a lot of good ideas. That's what I mean about young blood in the band. He did a great job, and I'm really happy to have him, and I'm really proud of him."

"Steelfactory" will be released on August 31 via AFM.

According to a press release, "Steelfactory" sees "U.D.O. return to their core competence, clearly influenced by their past shows with DIRKSCHNEIDER, the songs in their rousingly simple straightness have a hymn character, as it is only known from the past."

The press release continues: "'Steelfactory' has become a timeless metal album and thus the impressive statement of a master of his craft. With its earthy, punchy and handmade sound — with the participation of the Danish producer Jacob Hansen (among others, VOLBEAT) — 'Steelfactory' meets the nerve of the time, which may be triggered again since the successful DIRKSCHNEIDER tour worldwide."

The DIRKSCHNEIDER tour, which was originally supposed to conclude with the band's North American run in January/February 2017, was extended through the fall of 2018.

DIRKSCHNEIDER's final concert will take place at Full Metal Holiday, a destination festival taking place on the Spanish island Mallorca, in October.

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