Interview With UDO Dirkschneider - Let The Mastercutor Speak Out!!
German Master(cutor) UDO Dirkschneider is certainly so stranger the world of metal, been the Godfather of German Metal in the late 70s, to mid 80's with 'Accept', the band who brought you 'Restless & Wild' their finest album, 'Metal Heart', 'Balls To The Wall', 'Breaker' were known as such classics that people today still speak about U.D.O. and Accept, especially when Accept wrote the song 'Fast As A Shark' in 1982, still to this day that song was way ahead of times time and still speaks in large volume to this day. UDO has just released his 12th release under the name of U.D.O and still going strong in his mid 50's. With the awesome release of 'Mastercutor' released in 2007 through AFM saw the album receiving rave reviews. Now the band are back with their new album 'Dominator', UDO speak out when I asked him a few questions about his history as a singer, the new album and what the future holds for him and the U.D.O.. So sit back and let the show begin!!
Well it's a pleasure finally speaking the the master(cutor) at last, so I would like to get the ball rolling by asking you about Accept. From the albums that you recorded with the band which is your favourite and why? Do you have any albums that you really didn't like?
"Well it's a pleasure doing the interview for your website. To answer your question, I would have to say that my favourite album with Accept has to be 'Breaker' because it was a very important album for me were we found our own sound and style. I would have to say that the 2nd album by Accept 'I'm A Rebel' is my least favourite because there was some good and bad songs on that album and we were still search for which direction we should take and sound like."
I have to say my favourite album has to be 'Restless & Wild', because every song on that album is a masterpiece to say the least. I especially like 'Fast As A Shark' as it was way ahead of its time. When I met you at BYH this year you told me you were not doing that song live. I was so disappointed as I love that song and have never seen your band live, so what was the reason for not playing such as classic Accept song? It's that your trademark?
"Well we didn't play that song because every band had a strict curfew with their times, we all had a certain amount of time to play and that was it. We played for about an hour or so and as we were not the headliners there was nothing we could of done about it."
As a singer, who are your vocal influences? Who did you grew up with that inspired you to become a singer?
"Well I was listening to a lot of stuff like Sweet, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath, and 10 yrs after but I was never influenced by any of these singers, I just listened to many things. I found out that I had a really crazy voice as a singer (laughing), like 2 singers in 1. One minute I would be a guy with a rough voice and next minute a crazy screaming guy. So I wanted to create my own style which I think I have done just that. I listened too a lot of singer but never wanted to sound like them, that is why I created my own style."
I was listening too your brother band who released an album called 'Bootlicker' through Nuclear Blast, damn he really does sound like you. is this a Dirkschneider family thing? (Laughing).
(Laughing) " Maybe, I really don't know. He had the same problem, they said he had a great voice but we have the original been me."
How do you keep your voice just good shape? What exercise to you do to keep it in top form?
"Well there is no secrets, I do nothing really, the only thing I do is to see my doctor twice a year to check everything, but I think it is nature in a way. I think I am very lucky with my voice."
You have been around for many years now as a singer and artist, in which you have recorded 2 DVD's now, one of them was with Accept and recorded live in Russia, so why did you record that back then at that time?
"Well it was a live album and the DVD was more of a un-official recording of the DVD, like private stuff and what was going on in Russia. (ED: How hard was it back then to be playing in Russia with all that was going on back then with that country?) Well what can I say about Russia? It was about 11yrs ago when I first went there and we were very surprised to see what was going on there and I never expected a reaction like we got over there. Now after 11yrs U.D.O. is really big in Russia and we can tour everywhere in Russia and this is a country that excites me and I really don't know why?"
Moving on, where would you say is the biggest market for your music, which countries or country?
"Well Russia is one of the biggest for the band, Spain also has a big following and Scandinavia and Germany since last year. Japan isn't as big as it use to be, but we are also getting a big fan base in Mexico and we had 8000 people there at 1 of our shows and now the rest of South America is also becoming a big fan base for the band. I have 35 dates planned in the U.S. and Canada later this year, and we go to China for the 1st time and I have heard things for the band there are really starting to pick up."
Looking back at the U.D.O. albums which is your favourite of past albums and why? Is there also any you didn't like that much?
"Wow, that's a tough question to answer, for me I would have to say that I like 'Animal House', 'Faceless World', and then the 'Man Or Machine' album, also 'The Holy'. As for least favourite I really don't think I have one."
You see you have gone through a few record labels, changing contracts, why was that and are you finally happy with AFM?
"Well in the beginning after I did the 'Time Bomb' album in 91 I did the re-union with Accept and after that the deal with RCA was over and then when I started doing to U.D.O. band again I did 'Solid' & 'No Limit's with G.U.N. Records with had links to BMG, the same as RCA and then the contract was over so from the 'Holy' album to 'Man Or Machine' with Breaker Records, which is my own label. The distribution was handled by Nuclear Blast. (ED: Are you still doing the Breaker Records and is the new album distributed through AFM?). Well the whole back catalogue is on my own label and then we signed a deal with AFM Records. We have released a few albums with AFM such as 'Mission No X', 'Thunderball', 'Mastercutor' and the new album 'Dominator' so were is a big adventure between the 2 of us."
Before we talk about the new album, lets talk about 'Guitar Hero', the song 'Balls To The Wall', can you actually play the song on the game and who did the idea of Accept song come about on the game?
"I really don't know how the song came about it is up to the record label. We had people coming up to us and asking if they could use 1 of our songs for the game, but it is up to the publishing company to sort that out. (Laughing) I can sing it for sure, but play the guitar parts, no way!! My son can play it but not me."
So you signed to AFM Records, how long is your deal with them and are you happy with the way things are going so far?
"Well at the moment we have 1 more album to record for the label and after that we will see if we will re-new a new contract. We are happy with the label at the moment and it is a small company who are very creative and if you are in a big company then Sony then you become yet another number like the rest of the artists. With AFM Doro and ourselves are the 2 main acts on their label and we can talk to them about the new album etc... and that is a good thing to be signed to a smaller label, you have more contact with them direct.
"Besides AFM, who else approached you to sign to their label?
"Well I really didn't want to go to any other labels to be honest. AFM offered us the best offer and we had a talk as a band and we knew they were the right choice for us to sign too. "
The album 'Mastercutor' was a great album and very song, how well did that album sell for the band?
"Well it was a great success for the band, it was a step forward for the band in Europe and also in South America and it went very high in the charts in Germany at #39. It was a big step forward and I get the feeling with the new album 'Dominator' there will be yet another step forward."
So why did you decide to call the album 'Mastercutor' that name and what other names did you have in mind for that album?
"Well we had no other names for the album, and the story behind the Mastercutor lyrics were all about these stupid talk shows on the TV, TV game shows, and my son came up with some pictures for the cover of the album and we got this face and I told him and the band that this would be the 'Mastercutor', who became the host for all the TV shows."
Who is the 'Mastercutor', is he a friend or yours?
"No he is not a friend of mine, he is a actor."
So what songs from the 'Mastercutor' do you like & why?
"Well I like the songs 'Mastercutor', 'Tears Of A Clown', there are way too many songs on that album that I like. When that album came out everybody was saying that it was the best album I had done, but now there saying the new album 'Dominator' is their best."
Will it be hard to make the next album even better than the new one? Like is it harder to better the last one for you?
"Well when we started working on a new album we never think of what the next album will sound like or what we did in the past. We just sit down, write lyrics and music and if they fit well together than we have a good album. I think the new album has more different stuff to that of our previous albums as we go back to the more modern sound and roots and I think it fits perfectly. I have no idea what will come up on the next album, but I don't want to think about that right now."
Looking at the current live DVD 'Mastercutor Alive', why wasn't it released through AFM Records and why did you decide to release it through ZYX?
"Well there was a point were AFM did not want to do a DVD for some strange reason, so we went to look for another company who would be interested in releasing the DVD, which happened to be ZYX, which AFM had no problem about us going to another company. They said they didn't want to spend too much money on a DVD and I understand that I DVD is not cheap to record, so ZYX were very interested in doing this with us."
So lets talk about the new album 'Dominator', so why the title and why the (tor) at the end of the new album and the Mastercu(tor) album?
"Well in the beginning we were not thinking about the title, the meaning behind the Dominator lyrics were that a lot of people want to dominate people, in business, politics, etc... The reason why we decided to call the title 'Dominator' was because we wanted to go on with this character, last time he was the mastercutor and now he has become the dominator. That is why we named the new title of the album because he has changed his character. (ED: I was wondering if the Dominator was actually you, UDO as the terminator). Yeah it could be me (laughing), and the album was inspired by the film. (ED: Could the next album be titled the something 'tor'?) (Laughing), that could be quite true haha!! I really don't know but we will be carry on with this character, we will see."
So who did the artwork for the next album?
"Well it was a guy from Nurnberg Germany, who was also working for the video company and was also doing the pictures and artwork. I think the artwork is great, I'm very happy with it."
On the new album you have 10 songs, how long did it take to write those songs?
"Not too long to be honest, we started with the lyrics and then we know what kind of atmosphere the album will be based upon music wise. We collect all the ideas we have and most of the songs are wrote by Stefan and myself and I think it took us 3-4 weeks to come up with about 35 ideas. In the end we recorded about 19 songs and chose 10 of the best ones for this album. The bonus CD has a trax track and the E.P. has 2 further songs which are not on the album, making a total of 13 songs used so far. One other song with go to Japan and we still have 5 songs left for the future. It was very hard to leave them out so we will use them at a later date."
What songs from the new album do you like and why
"Well I like the song 'Whispers In the Dark', 'Stillness of Time' and the title track 'Dominator'. I like them all to be honest but those ones stand out the most for me."
The album was produced by yourself and Stefan, is it easy working with Stefan when it comes to producing the albums?
"Oh yeah there is no problems between us when it comes to recording and producing the albums together. Stefan and I is like one person, he knows what I want and I know what he wants, so together we work really well together."
So before we come to an end, how well is the new album selling for the band?
"Well the reviews are brilliant from the press, everybody like this album and there is a lot of interest from the music media. Sales are doing really well too."
What about plans to tour
the UK and Europe so?
"Yes we will come to the UK in January 2010 for a couple shows, so keep your eyes open for that!! Of course Europe will be in there and like I said earlier China too.
What do you think of the Accept tribute albums that are released?
"I like them, I actually did a tribute to Accept with the song 'Ecstasy' (laughing) and it was quite interesting to hear how bands play Accept songs. I really like them, it's an honor."
Well UDO, thanks for taking your time out and for calling me for the interview, before we come to an end, do you have anything to say? I'd love to see you play at Bloodstock 2010, you certainly would get the crowd moving and banging heads!!
"Well I am looking forward to coming back to the UK, it's been a long time since I last came. yeah I'd love to play Bloodstock, I've heard good things about it. In the meantime, thanx for the interview, to my fans stay heavy!!"
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