Interview conducted November 03 2016
Interview published December 23 2016
To say that the Dirkschneider Back
To The Roots tour has been a success is an understatement. After a well-deserved
break, it resumed with a string of dates in Sweden including Umeå,
where Metal Covenant of course attended, also for an interview with main
man Udo Dirkschneider. After a couple of
missed opportunities earlier in the year, it was a big pleasure to sit
down and talk to the German heavy metal icon who was in a terrific mood,
no doubt happy to be out entertaining audiences again.
Mozzy: So, now you're back on tour again;
is that fun after having a break?
Udo: Yeah, of course. We did the first part of
the Dirkschneider tour and now we do the second part. But we did a lot
of festivals during the summer. We had a break in September and October
which was good (smiles).
Mozzy: Getting some rest.
Udo: Yes, a little bit of rest. So now it's the
second part of the tour, in Europe until nearly the end of the year.
Then we have two weeks off before we go to America and Canada.
Mozzy: The Dirkschneider touring goes into
Udo: Yes, into 2017.
I have to say it's great you're coming back to Northern Sweden because
we don't get many bigger concerts up here as it's usually Stockholm, Gothenburg
and so on, you know.
Udo: Yeah. I was in a way a little worried about
coming back to Sweden, if people would be interested (laughs) but there
are some different cities this time too. So what can I say? The first
two shows have been sold out, so that is great.
Mozzy: We are grateful to have you back.
So, the Dirkschneider tour has been really successful, with sold-out shows
and big concerts. Did you expect that?
Udo: To be honest, not really. When we started
thinking about doing something like this, I was a little tired about
this discussion about comparing who's playing the songs better - Accept
or U.D.O. And for me, it was like
with U.D.O. we have enough albums
to do our own set.
So we said, let's do one special tour, with maybe
10 or 15 shows (laughs), calling it Dirkschneider and playing the Accept
songs one last time. And then, I don't know, this thing exploded completely.
It's unbelievable (laughs). I'm really surprised, but it means that
people want to see it, so why not do this then.
Mozzy: All positive for sure. I guess that
a big part of it has to do with people wanting to hear the original voice.
Udo: It's always like that. The singer they (Accept)
have now is a really good singer, but I mean
when I listen to
it, I think it is a nightmare for him to sing these songs. He is doing
it quite well, no problem.
Mozzy: I think so too. Still, it isn't quite
Udo: It's always like this, you know. Like when
Bruce Dickinson was not in Iron Maiden, it was not really the same,
or when Rob Halford was not in Judas Priest. The voice is always very
important for a band.
Mozzy: Back to that show in Sundsvall again
that we talked about before, what an atmosphere there was. The crowd was
singing so loud in there.
Udo: Yeah! It's also a great feeling onstage
when you see people enjoying the show and all the songs, you know. So
what can I say, I'm really happy at the moment.
Mozzy: I was going to ask you just that,
how it feels to get that sort of response. It must be amazing.
Udo: Yeah, like I said, it is a lot of fun. Also
to see that the people really enjoy this, which makes you quite proud;
that you're doing something for them, you know.
Mozzy: You also played at Sweden Rock in
the summer which was a big show, with lots of pyro and so on.
Udo: Yes. Tonight the venue is big but it does
not make sense to bring the pyro and all that stuff just for a single
show. But we will have it at a lot of shows on this tour, in Germany,
Czech Republic and Italy and what else. They will be big stages with
the whole show.
Mozzy: It's obvious that your younger bandmates
enjoy their time onstage as well.
Udo: Yeah! They play the songs very well. They
put in the old sound and style but also make the songs a bit fresher,
you know, to make it a little more modern. But yeah, they enjoy it as
And having Sven, your son, in the band must be special?
Udo: It is, and it's also interesting for me
to see how he's playing the Accept songs. He was working with Stefan
Kaufmann (former Accept drummer, then guitarist in U.D.O.) who showed
him some special things about the Accept stuff. But then Stefan said
'he's playing the songs much better than I did' (laughs).
Mozzy: Cool. I read about that, Stefan helping
you out when you started this.
Udo: Yeah, I'm still good friends with Stefan.
When this thing came up I asked him if he could come to the rehearsal
room to show Sven some stuff and maybe also some guitar stuff for the
guitarists. He was there for three or four days working with the guys,
like 'maybe you should play a bit more like this and this' and so on.
He knows exactly how to do this, you know.
Mozzy: Does he miss playing, or is he still
Udo: No. He's just working in the studio, and
he's now more into video stuff. He's producing some bands but most of
the time he's doing some video stuff.
Mozzy: You have just released a live album
from the tour. How do you think that turned out? I have just heard a couple
Udo: It's going very well. For me, you know,
we had to put out a live album from this tour because it will never
happen again. So it was planned already, to do a live album. There will
also be a DVD.
Udo: It was planned to come out at the same
time, we filmed it at the same time when we recorded the audio for the
live album. But when we watched the footage, we were not satisfied with
it so we said that if we put out a DVD we want to give people the best,
There were some camera problems, one camera was
broken and there were some things missing. But we will record a show,
I don't know exactly when but it will definitely happen on this tour
and a DVD will come later on.
Mozzy: Playing these Accept songs, do you
have some favourites, maybe some that you haven't played with U.D.O.?
Udo: Yeah! You know, with U.D.O. we were always
playing the classic Accept stuff. But now, we play Neon Knights, Wrong
Is Right, Monster Man
stuff like that. And TV War, Losers And
Winners. For me, I really like to play Head Over Heels, and Neon Knights.
Mozzy: Head Over Heels is a favourite for
me as well.
Udo: And Wrong Is Right I don't think we ever
played with Accept, really. Maybe just one or two times, then the other
guys did not want to do it. But for us it works, it's a really good
Mozzy: I guess these songs bring back memories.
Udo: Yeah, of course! On one hand, it is a bit
sad that this is the last time playing them. But on the other hand,
you have to look forward and in a way close the book, you know. Accept
still exist and are still touring, and the only thing I can say that
if you want to hear the Accept songs, go and see Accept, you know.
I mean, I always say
People go 'is there
really no chance you will play Accept songs again?', and I'd say there
is a little opening. Let's say it in this way: if Accept split up, stop
or whatever and I'm still in the business, then there will definitely
be some Accept songs again. But as long as Accept are around, no.
I think it's a wise and understandable choice you've made. I looked before
I came here and there are 15 studio albums with U.D.O. to choose tracks
Udo: We will start working in March on the 16th
(laughs). I mean, there is a lot of stuff you can play with U.D.O (laughs).
We have a huge following with U.D.O. as well; when we did the last tour,
the Decadent tour, it was really successful. So for me it's not such
a bad thing to stop with the Accept stuff.
Mozzy: I guess you're also looking forward
to play some U.D.O. songs which you haven't played before.
Udo: Oh, definitely!
Mozzy: What about the guys in Accept, do
you have some contact with them?
Udo: No. There is no contact anymore. I don't
know, people are asking what they are thinking about this (the Dirkschneider
tour), but I have no idea (laughs). I've never read that Wolf (Hoffmann,
Accept guitarist) or Peter (Baltes, Accept bassist) has said something
about this. There is silence.
Mozzy: I did an interview with Peter last
year actually. He talked a bit about the early years, when all you did
was playing and rehearsing. It brought back memories for him as well.
Udo: Oh yeah! Always.
Mozzy: You received an award from Metal
Udo: Yes, the Maximum Metal award (laughs).
Mozzy: That must have felt good.
Udo: Yeah! It felt good. It was a little surprising
because very few people get these. But all I can say is, thank you very
Mozzy: What are your future plans then?
Udo: Well, the plan at the moment is touring
in February and then we start working on the U.D.O. album in March.
Then we will see when the release will be. Maybe we do something else,
like an orchestra thing. They have asked us already if we want to do
more of those shows.
Mozzy: I saw a bit of the orchestra show
at Wacken last year, that was cool.
Udo: It was, it was really good.
Mozzy: Well, I think that was it from me.
Udo: OK, thank you!
of the gig the same night