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dinsdag 28 juni 2011
U.D.O.: About robots, animals and heavy metal!

Interview with Udo Dirkschneider from U.D.O. by Vera in May 2011

One of the main German metal forces still stands proud after more than thirty years of activity. First as front man of German speed metal outfit Accept, now already many years the captain of his own U.D.O. band. End of May the next studio album, called ‘REV-Raptor’ was released. We talked with the German general of pure Teutonic heavy metal: Udo Dirkschneider. In the beginning he was a bit reserved, but soon it turned into a debonair conversation. So keep on reading till the end...

You recently came back from a South American tour with U.D.O. Please tell me about this experience?
Well, what can I say? We did Mexico. We have been there before. Brazil, we have been there before as well, but new was Peru, Argentina and Chile. It was a fine tour and the shows were sold out in Chile and Argentina. People were very enthusiastic. I think this is a whole new market for U.D.O. We’d love to go back there and do a longer tour.

Did you manage to see something from the countries as well?
Yeah we always plan a few days off and film. You can see those tour diaries on our website. That’s also interesting for the fans. In Mexico City we had a little bit of time, in Chile too and also in Sao Paulo. But the rest is just travelling. You take a hotel, you see the airport and you see the venue.

But the reason for our conversation is the new record ‘REV-Raptor’, so let’s focus on that for a while. Of course you and guitarist Stefan Kaufmann are the main composers, but I heard that the input of the other members increases with every album. Is that true?
Yes, they did already a bit on ‘Mastercutor’ and ‘Dominator’, but Igor (Gianola – guitars) has come up with two songs: ‘Pain Man’ and ‘Fairy Tales Of Victory’. Fitty (Wienhold – the bass player) was coming up with two songs: ‘I Give As Good As I Get’ and ‘REV-Raptor’, the title track. And they have always been involved in arrangements for all the songs. It takes a while to write songs. It has to be the right songs for my voice and this is not so easy.

I think your voice is still improving. At least there is more diversity on the new album…
Yeah, I am surprised about it too. I’m happy with that, I can sing in lower ranges now. It is strange. That means for me, and for the song writing, that we can do more different stuff. We are more open-minded to other things. Without rejecting our trademark sound of course.

Being a rebel should be the theme of the new album. Is that so?
Yes, ‘REV-Raptor’ is a rebel bird. REV is also an English word for rebel and raptor is an English word for bird. You can see it in different ways. Like a bird who is a bit like a machine, or a robot. It is a fine picture for fantasy.

I see that you can vote for a favourite set list on the website. What is the result?
We are not finished yet, so we still have to wait for the final result. But I had already a first look and I think they are choosing nearly the same songs as we have in mind for our next set list on the European tour. But now, in the summertime, we are doing the festivals and that will be a different set list than we will have on the European tour. When you do festivals, it is more like a party. People want to hear a kind of best of. On a specific tour we go deeper into new stuff.

So we won’t hear that much new songs, for example, at the Alcatraz festival in Belgium in August?
When it is a festival, we only play one or two new songs.

What about the parachute jump you are going to do, a duo jump with a fan as mentioned on the website?
I did it already a couple of times. How can you explain this? If you do it once, it is like a drug (laughs). You jump out at 400/500 metres height, YEAH! (laughs) When I did it the first time, I was a little bit nervous, but as I said, after that I got addicted to it. We will see who’s winning this and you can also win a gorgeous weekend where I live in Ibiza.

What struck me was that you protest against the fur industry in China and since I love animals it moved me. Can you tell something about that?
What can I tell about this? Well, I would love to spend more time with animals, but I don’t have the time for it. If you have a busy schedule with touring and records and being away from home so many times, it is hard to be involved seriously. It is not possible to have an animal when you live the life I live. But I am very much into animals. My parents always had animals, like rabbits and birds and dogs and cats and all that stuff. I am very much into that, our management as well. Stefan Kaufmann has also six cats. It is a shame to see what people do with animals sometimes and that’s why we support protests against non-friendly operations against animals for money’s sake or whatever. It must be stopped!

Are you a vegetarian?
No. I don’t eat that much meat, but I am not a vegetarian. Now when I live on this island in Spain I eat more fish. I live in Ibiza, already two and a half years.

Next year U.D.O. has been around as band for 25 years. Will you celebrate this with something special?
(thinks) Yeah next year U.D.O. exists 25 years and I will turn sixty. I think there will be something coming up here. (he remains hazy) That will be a surprise! (smiles)

OK, I respect that. You did already two video clips for the new album. Can you tell something about that?
The shooting was in Germany, in Hamburg. We did a shooting for ‘Leatherhead’ and this time we wanted to have more of a live feeling in this video clip. I think it turned out really well. The second video is for the ballad ‘I Give As Good As I Get’ and this is completely different (laughs). You see only my face and you see Igor when he is doing his guitar solo. I cannot really explain it, you have to see it. It is a little bit different.

As always the record was recorded at the Roxx Studios of Stefan Kaufmann. But what was the role of Manfred Melchior?
He has nothing to do with the recordings, he only did the mastering. He is doing that for us since a long time.

What about the bonus tracks?
We have two bonus tracks on the EP, but these are old songs and then we have two bonus tracks on the album. ‘Time Dilator’ and ‘Heavy Metal W.O.A.’ That’s a Wacken hymn. For Japan we have another bonus track and on the digipak once more another song. So many bonus tracks, I know. We are not so happy with that. For example, for Japan, it is just lost. It is only known in Japan.

As you have been active in several eras, what is your favourite one? The seventies, eighties, nineties or now?
(laughs and thinks) Every era has been good. In the seventies it was very exciting to play the first time on stage and recording an album. In the eighties of course, we were getting very popular. That was also exciting, going to America and foreign countries for the first time. Then I started with U.D.O. in 1987. That was something new and fresh, with different members. I cannot pick out a favourite era; they all have their own experiences and memories. But I have to say, at the moment, with U.D.O. I have the most comfortable feeling. Fitty is already 15 years in the band, the guitar player Igor is already 13 years in the band and the drummer is already 7 years in the band. So that means in a way we are longer together in a band than I was in Accept, you know. We did already more albums. I feel very comfortable now with this line up, everybody can call it a family.

What are the plans for touring?
After the festivals we start a European tour at the end of September till nearly Christmas.

To round off, the question we cannot ignore, if you don’t mind… What do you think of the new Accept album with another singer in your place?
I think it is a very good album. I expected that even before they came up with it. I mean, they had over ten years time to compose new songs. Of course, then you expect a good album! The singer is very good and they did a very good tour. What can I say?

OK. So no hard feelings between both of you?
Yes, there are hard feelings. There were a lot of things going on. Now everybody’s just telling a bit trash, but anyways, for me it is like Kindergarten you know. I don’t know why he (Wolf – Vera) is doing this and I am a little bit too old to start a war. The fans will make up their minds! I’m happy and successful with U.D.O. and of course everybody knows that they asked me to do the reunion. But Wolf is telling I was not interested. That’s also not true. Of course I was interested, but we already did one reunion in the nineties and it did not work out. Then I said okay, if I do that, I have to give up a very successful band like U.D.O. and I want Stefan Kaufmann on the guitars, and if this reunion does not work out again, after maybe one album or two or whenever, then I cannot come up for the third time with U.D.O. Then I have to continue under the name Accept. But the rights on the name are with Wolf. Then he said: “No we do not want to do this”. Then I said, okay, under these conditions I cannot join you. I wish you all the best and thank you very much. Can you imagine that I come up for the third time with U.D.O.? Then people really start laughing. So… people can blame Wolf that the original line-up did not come together again. It is not up to me!

Geplaatst door Vera op dinsdag 28 juni 2011 - 01:24:16
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