UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER: U.D.O. Is 'More ACCEPT Than ACCEPT Is At The Moment'March 31, 2023
In a new interview with Australia's Silver Tiger Media, ex-ACCEPT singer Udo Dirkschneider spoke about what it has been like to work again with his former ACCEPT bandmate Peter Baltes on U.D.O.'s recent tours. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Yeah, [Peter] was helping us out on [U.D.O.'s] European tour and South America. Our [previous] bass player Tilen [Hudrap], he had a serious health problem. He was collapsing in Munich at a show [last September]. And then for us, it was, like, 'What can we do? Stop the tour or try to get a [new] bass player?' I was already in contact with Peter. I did together with him a classic album with the German armed forces, and we did [the] DIRKSCHNEIDER & THE OLD GANG [project], so I was in contact with Peter. Then I called him and said, 'Peter, I have a problem — a serious problem. I need a bass player. And maybe can you help us out?' And then he said, 'Yeah, okay. Give me one day.' And then he said, 'Yeah, I'll do this.' And it was a lot of work for him to do all these U.D.O. songs. And then he said, 'Yeah, I'll help you out, as long as you're looking for a new bass player.' But we will see. I get the feeling that he wants to join the band. And he had so much fun. He said, 'Wow. This is great. I have so much fun with this band. It's really nice.' We will see."
Udo went on to say that he is "happy" to be playing with Peter again.
"Peter is a great bass player — for me, one of the best in heavy metal," Dirkschneider said. "He's a legend. And of course, I worked with him for a very long time together. He's a good singer, he's a good songwriter. Maybe we will see what the future will bring. So, you never know."
Udo also touched upon the fact that the current lineup of ACCEPT only features guitarist Wolf Hoffmann from the band's original incarnation.
"I don't wanna say anything wrong, but I think now we [in U.D.O.] are more ACCEPT than ACCEPT is at the moment," he said. "There's only one [original ACCEPT member] left [in ACCEPT]; that's Wolf Hoffmann. So, [it's] interesting — yeah, very interesting."
Three years ago, Baltes and former ACCEPT drummer Stefan Kaufmann were part of the songwriting team for U.D.O.'s album called "We Are One", a collaboration with Das Musikkorps der Bundeswehr, the military band of the German federal armed forces.
Earlier this month, Baltes said that he was "extremely unhappy" toward the end of his four-decade tenure with ACCEPT. The 64-year-old German-born musician discussed his decision to leave ACCEPT in an interview with Scott Itter of Dr. Music. He said: "The statement that came from the band literally five minutes after I announced that I'm leaving [back in November 2018], that I wanna spend more time with my family, well, that wasn't true. No, no. I was extremely unhappy. And I found out a few things. I'd been in the band forever, and I found out in the end, in this incarnation of ACCEPT, I wasn't even really a member; I was a hired gun. And it's these things that come out where you don't have any input, insight, and you start getting bitter. And there's no reason to, but somebody else's ego is just so big or whatever — two of 'em — that it just takes them there, and they just need to control everything and have everything and you name it. That's what got [original ACCEPT singer] Udo out back then, and I think in the end it hit everybody. So I was the last one standing, but I couldn't stand it anymore. I needed happiness in my life, and there was no happiness there. It was just a dead horse. So I left after the tour. And in my case, it was the best I ever could have done."
Baltes also talked about what it was like to play bass for U.D.O. on the group's fall 2022 European tour.
"In retrospect, when I stepped on stage in Berlin [in September 2022] with Udo after so many years — the last time was 2005, I think — it was a moment that I can't even describe it," Peter said. "We went on stage first, and then Udo comes, and he starts singing. And the first note brought me back instantly to our days when we played little clubs. The man is such a legend, and his voice… And it's nothing to do with you're short, you're tall, you're fat, you're skinny, none of that — you're in shape or you're not — none of that matters to me, to him and the audience. [What is important is] when something is authentic. And that's what got me at that moment. I was, like, 'Man, this is the real deal.' I wasn't used to that; I wasn't. I totally forgot. And you can into this where you think, 'We've been doing this all our life.' No, we didn't. We played kind of like it, with people that kind of sound like it. But no. He's the real deal, and the power that comes out of his voice is second to none. Sheer power, meaning volume, power. Bruce Dickinson [IRON MAIDEN] has power. When he sings, you can see it — he has power. Some singers, they have power. And Ronnie [James Dio] had power. Udo has power. That's certain power that just captivates you in your ears, in your stomach, and you go with it."
Baltes was replaced in ACCEPT by Martin Motnik.
Two years ago, ACCEPT guitarist Wolf Hoffmann was asked by SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" if he had had a chance to talk to Peter since his departure from ACCEPT and if he had gotten clarification on why Baltes left the group. Wolf said: "No, man. That's kind of the sad part about it. He kind of made that decision alone, and we never really had a sitdown and a man-to-man talk that I was hoping we'd have. He just announced it to the world, and that was it, and at that point, it was almost too late. I have to respect his decision.
"I miss him very much, and I think he's always gonna be my buddy or whatever," Wolf continued. "But right now, we don't really have much in common. Because when somebody leaves the band, it's usually that we never really see them much again, as sad as it is. I wish we would, and maybe one day we will. But right now, we don't, really. But we didn't have any fights or anything. I can only speculate why he left the band, but I'd rather not."
Hoffmann was also asked if he was surprised to see Baltes working with Udo on some new music in 2020. He responded: "Yeah, I probably shouldn't say much about that. Again, I can only speculate what that was all about. At the end of the day, we do our thing, and everybody has to know for themselves what they wanna do. Yeah, let me not say as much about that as I can, please."
In January 2021, Hoffmann told Australia's Metal Mal that he was "a little bit heartbroken" when Baltes left ACCEPT. "I felt it was not only a sad day for ACCEPT, it was also a sad day for rock and roll, or heavy metal, in general, because I thought we were gonna be doing this until the sun goes down — I don't know; until forever," he said. "But he all of a sudden decided otherwise, and he made that decision, and that was it. And that's sad, but what can you do, man? I decided, along with everybody else, the show must go on, and we continue without him. So this is what we did. And here's the new album — without Peter. But it's still sad. I still miss him sometimes. It's just the way it is."
In November 2019, Hoffmann told Powermetal.cl that he no longer kept in touch with Baltes after the bassist exited the group a year earlier. "Unfortunately, when somebody leaves the band, they're always kind of out of sight, out of mind," Wolf explained. "It's very sad. I wish it wasn't that way, because we've been friends for so long. But the reality is I haven't really heard from him — even though I reached out a couple of times. He's almost like he wants to disappear or he wants to leave the music business altogether. It's sad and I still don't quite understand what really happened. But it is what it is, and we move on."
Back in 2015, Hoffmann dismissed Dirkschneider's comment that the band's then-lineup — which included Baltes and ACCEPT's singer of more than a decade, Mark Tornillo — performed live "without any emotion." "It's just hilarious at this point," Wolf said. "It's just a big joke in our lives. And we just go on about our lives, and we do our thing, and we just… We let these things go by and laugh about it. He's actually sort of our press agent, in a way. He keeps us [in the news]."
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