UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER Defends His Decision To Continue Performing ACCEPT Material With U.D.O.: People 'Still Wanna Hear These Songs'
January 16, 2022
Nearly seven 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 in March 2021. Speaking to El Lado Oscuro about why the ACCEPT tracks are still finding their way into the U.D.O. setlist, Udo said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I was doing DIRKSCHNEIDER for nearly three years and played only ACCEPT songs for three years — I think nearly three hundred shows or whatever. And that was also not planned. It was normally planned to do maybe 10, 15 special shows, but then it was exploding. And after these three years, I really [wanted] to say, 'Come on. I don't wanna play now ACCEPT anymore.' I mean, I have, at this time, 16 albums out with U.D.O., and I said, 'Come on. We have enough own stuff.' But then we did this Bulgarian show, and, of course, the promoter was, like, 'It's a special evening. Maybe you can play some ACCEPT songs.' And I said, 'Okay. Come on. It's the only show this year. We put some ACCEPT songs into the setlist.' And [in 2021] we had two shows — in Belgium [at the] Alcatraz festival and a festival in the Czech Republic, but this was under [the name] DIRKSCHNEIDER. So that was already normally planned also for 2020 for the 'Metal Heart' anniversary show. And then they said, 'Okay, we wanna do these shows now.' And then they said, 'Okay, but you have to do it under DIRKSCHNEIDER.' And then, let's say in the end, for us, it doesn't matter which name — DIRKSCHNEIDER, U.D.O. or whatever. And in the end, it also doesn't matter what kind of songs we are playing except U.D.O.; for us, it was the most important thing to go on stage and play in front of people. And of course, the audience appreciated it. I mean, still they wanna hear these songs. Okay, I don't have to make the whole evening ACCEPT songs."
Dirkschneider went on to say that requests for him to keep playing ACCEPT material also came from promoters in America. "The promoter, they came up and said, 'Yeah, a tour, blah blah blah.' It's also now moved to . And then they said, 'Yeah, but we heard Udo doesn't wanna play any ACCEPT songs,'" he said. "And then my management said, 'Yeah.' [And the promoter said] 'Yeah, but he cannot do America without 'Balls To The Wall'. It's not possible.' They were really asking, this has to be in the setlist. Then I said, 'Okay. Come on.' I know 'Balls To The Wall' in America is huge — a huge song. So I said, 'Yeah. Come on. It doesn't matter.' And now, all the people, they come and [say], 'Yeah, when you go on tour, maybe you can put three or four songs of ACCEPT in there.' Of course, they're always asking for 'Balls To The Wall', 'Metal Heart', 'Fast As A Shark' and, let's say, 'Restless And Wild' or stuff like that. So we will see. Maybe on the next tour we put it in the end as an encore.
"In the end, [it's about giving] people what they want," Dirkschneider reasoned. "Somebody also was saying, 'Can you imagine [a] DEEP PURPLE [concert] without [them playing] 'Smoke On The Water'?' I said, 'Not really.' So he said, 'Okay. You're in the same situation. They wanna hear some classic stuff.' So that will be definitely happening."
Last March, 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 2022.
When he first announced the DIRKSCHNEIDER tour in 2015, 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 wanted 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.