There is classical voices in the hard rock and heavy metal history and one of the singers that have been around forever were performing in Falun at the Sabaton Open Air 2019. His name is Udo Dirkschneider and before he started his band U.D.O. in the late 80’s he were fronting the German heavy metal machine Accept. I got the opportunity to talk to Udo backstage at Sabaton Open Air and I met a relaxed man who has turned 67 years old.
First of all I would like to say welcome back to Sweden and what’s your relation to Sabaton?
-Our relation to Sabaton is really good. We were playing here a couple of years with Dirkschneider and I have also been invited to sing on stage with Sabaton. The guys in Sabaton are great and when we were playing in Umeå a couple of weeks ago our gear didn’t arrive so Sabaton let us use their guitars and the rest of the guitar equipment. Really nice guys and a really good relation.
You released ”Steelfactory” last year. Is there any plans of a new album?
-Yes we have planning to enter the studio in april next year to record the new album. Their have been a lot of touring the last years so we will take it kind of slow, to be honest this tour isn’t over yet either. We will go to Usa, Canada, South America and Russia before we can say that the tour is over.
Are you pleased with the new line-up?
-I’m very pleased. We have a new guitar player, Fabian Dee Dammers, who is very good and very young. He is really open minded and he is working very well with Andrey Smirnov. I also have a new bass player, Tilen Hudrap, who were replacing Fitty.
I was coming to that, why did Fitty leave the band after so many years?
-He told me he was tired of touring and I hope that’s the truth. Fitty was a member for many, many years. Now we have Tilen in the band, earlier he was a member of Vicious Rumors, and Sven of course on drums.
Are you proud of Sven?
-Definitely. I have my own son in my band and he is a great drummer. I’m really happy with my band right now, there is a lot of energy.
The setlist for this tour. Is it songs from the whole career or is it any particular record you choose songs from?
-Tonight it will be the main songs. It will be a 105 minute set and we will play some songs from the latest album ”Steelfactory” since we are still on tour on that album. We also have enough material with U.D.O. so there will be no more Accept songs. We made a three year tour with Dirkschneider where we played only Accept songs. From the beginning we thought of two or three shows with Dirkschneider but it exploded and promoters from all over the world getting in touch with us so here we are after three years on the road.
You should also remember that Accept is out there playing so I don’t see why two bands on the road are going to play Accept songs. We will be back in Europe in december and by then I think we would change the setlist a little bit.
When you started with Accept back in the 70’s could you believe that your career would last for over 40 years?
-Not a chance, definitely not. I have to say that I’m very lucky in many ways, doing the right thing from the beginning and my voice has worked for all these years.
What’s your thoughts about the future for hard rock and heavy metal?
-There is a lot of bands out there for sure, Sabaton and Powerwolf are doing great and Helloween have done this special thing with three singers. In Germany Rage and Doro still doing their thing and a band like Kissin’ Dynamite has a bright future I think, still you need a concept to make it out there, the music ain’t enough anymore. In the 80’s it was not easy but much easier than it is today. We were in the studio for three months and after that we went on tour and we were selling records.
The business have changed a lot and today you don’t sell records in the same way we did back then. It’s very hard for new bands but I’m kind of optimistic that metal will be there in the future. Luckily for me I was there when metal became huge around the world and my back catalogue is still selling pshysical records as well. I think it would be difficult for me to start now wearing make up or having another image on that stage.
You have had a long career. Do you have any special memories?
-The greatest memory must be when Accept became big in the Usa with ”Balls To The Wall”, that was huge. We were supporting Judas Priest 1981 and that was a great experience. We supporting Kiss as well and we learned so much from those bands. I’m 67 years old now and I could have stayed home doing something else but why should I? I like to do this and there is still a lot of fun doing this. The band is young and hungry.
I don’t know when I stop but it will not be with a huge farewell tour. If you have to stop you stop and it’s nothing more to it. I am thinking to do something with the military orchestra again and there is so many things I still can do with my music. When it comes to an end I would like to work with new, young musicians.
Name the song that give you the most joy playing live?
-I have to say ”Faceless World”. We will not play that song at Sabaton Open Air because we need a keyboard on stage. I love to do ”Faceless World” live in the future but tonight you have to content yourself with ”Heart Of Gold” from the ”Faceless World” album.
Thank you very much Udo and good luck tonight.