Four and a half years ago, former ACCEPT and current U.D.O. frontman Udo Dirkschneider announced 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. Asked in a new interview with Talking Metal if DIRKSCHNEIDER is now officially retired and whether we will ever see him singing ACCEPT classics again, Udo responded: "It was planned to come to America with U.D.O. in November/December. We had a six-week tour going on in America, but we had to cancel this [due to the coronavirus pandemic]. But I will tell you the truth. [Laughs] All the promoters and all the people said, 'Please, please, can you please play two or three ACCEPT songs also with U.D.O.?' And I said, 'Yeah.' I mean, to do a show in America, a gig in America, without playing 'Balls To The Wall', it's nearly impossible. [Laughs] Yeah, it was their big wish. They said, 'Please, please, please…' Maybe only this song ['Balls To The Wall']. This is very important. So we said, 'Yeah.'
"Normally in Europe, definitely with U.D.O., we don't play any ACCEPT songs," he continued. "The good thing is, if we want, we can say, 'Okay, we come under DIRKSCHNEIDER again and we play only ACCEPT songs.'"
When he first announced the DIRKSCHNEIDER tour, 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 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 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.