U.D.O., the German metal band led by former ACCEPT frontman Udo Dirkschneider, has collaborated with Das Musikkorps der Bundeswehr, the military band of the German federal armed forces, on an album called "We Are One", to be released on July 17 via AFM Records/Soulfood Music. The LP contains 15 new songs that were developed and arranged by U.D.O. together with Lieutenant Colonel Christoph Scheibling. Two other former ACCEPT members, Stefan Kaufmann and Peter Baltes, were part of the songwriting too, as well as the German Armed Forces composers Guido Rennert and Alexander Reuber.
Speaking to Canada's The Metal Voice about how Baltes came to be involved with the project, Udo said: "This was not planned. [Getting] Stefan Kaufmann [involved] was planned from the beginning on. He was helping us out on the last concerts, on the guitar. And he was sitting also with us together when we were talking about that we maybe wanna do an album. And he said, 'I wanna be the sound engineer. I have some ideas.' And then I said, 'Okay, no problem.' I mean, I never had any problems with Stefan Kaufmann. And then, one day, I was in Germany, and he said, 'Yeah, you have to do some demo vocals in the studio.' Then I said, 'Okay, I'll come then.' Then I came into the studio, but he didn't tell me this before, and Peter Baltes was staying there. Peter was there; he was doing some stuff with Stefan about his projects. Peter, after he left ACCEPT, he's doing so many things. And we were talking a lot of things. Then Peter said, 'You're doing a very interesting project. I have also some ideas, if you don't mind.' I said, 'Hey, Peter, no problem.' I mean, I never had a problem with Peter. Then Stefan and Peter, they came up with really good ideas."
He continued: "I'm not a guy to say, 'No. Nobody can come up with some ideas.' I mean, for this project, the most important thing was that we have really, really good stuff, and for me, it doesn't matter who was writing the songs or whatever. And [Peter] was really happy to do something like this. And also Stefan, I think, was really happy. Stefan did a great job. He was mixing in the end."
Asked how it was to reconnect with Peter and if there is any chance of Baltes joining U.D.O., Udo said: "It was a lot of fun to talk to him. I never had any problems with Peter. It was like we saw each other just yesterday, [meeting up for the first time] after 15 years, and also talking to him after 15 years.
"Peter in the band, to be the bass player in U.D.O.?" he continued. "He's doing so many projects; he's really busy. And we were not really talking about this. 'It would be great to have you now as the bass player in U.D.O.' [We'll] leave it like it is. If he does some stuff and maybe asks me to sing a song on his album — I think I heard he's doing a solo album — no problem, but to play in a band together again, I don't think so."
Udo's son Sven, who plays drums for U.D.O., added: "It would be strange as well, as we formed a very strong five-piece band. This is a very strong team, and everybody's getting along very well. So that would be a bit strange to now just say, 'Hey, but Peter's playing now, because he's Peter.' You would rip apart something we built up. And as you might know, we were looking for the right people for some time now, and now it works perfectly. And everybody's doing an amazing job — everybody's so good on their instruments — and we just found a good band. That would be strange."
The songs on "We Are One" are about the different challenges we are currently facing, climate change ("Future Is The Reason Why"), the worldwide refugee movements ("Live Or Die", "Fridays For Future", "Children Of The World") or the pollution of the environment ("Mother Earth"). With the track "Pandemonium", both parties, U.D.O. as well as the German Armed Forces, also take a clear position against society's right wing. The song "Rebel Town" is a hymn for a 30-year-reunited Germany.
02. We Are One
03. Love And Sin
04. Future Is The Reason Why
05. Children Of The World
06. Blindfold (The Last Defender)
08. Mother Earth
09. Rebel Town
10. Natural Forces
11. Neon Diamond
12. Beyond Gravity
13. Here We Go Again
14. We Strike Back
15. Beyond Good And Evil