Let the Rev-Raptor take your soul - UDO Speaks out
Udo Dirkschneider has Germany's godfather to what Rob Halford is to the British, with UDO Klaus from The Scorpions is also another godfather in the German metal scene with a history that speaks for itself. Udo Dirkschneider has recorded some of the finest metal albums to come out of Germany with his previous band 'Accept' releasing such classics as 'Restless & Wild', 'Metal Heart', 'Ball To The Wall' and later on after his departure from Accept the little man with a huge voice released album under the name of 'U.D.O.'. The band recorded several albums such as 'Faceless World', 'Time Bomb', 'Holy' with various labels and later on released albums for AFM Records such as 'Mastercutor', 'Dominator' and his new album 'Rev-Raptor'. It's been a year or so since I last interview Udo Dirkschneider, so it was time to catch up on what's been happening with the band since the last album. Here is what Udo had to say to the following questions, in the meantime check out the new album.
Well it's a pleasure to speak to you once again Udo, so let's start the interview by asking you how well the last album sold for the band?
"Well the 'Dominator' album was a very successful album with sales and touring, and the fans at the shows really loved the new album. We were very satisfied with the last album indeed as we had lots more promotion, and a good video and more radio stations played songs from the last album."
You released the DVD from the 'Mastercutor' album, why didn't that get released through AFM?
"Well AFM didn't seen interested in doing the DVD at that time, so we went with another company and it sold really well actually."
I guess the big question is, when will you be touring the UK? I remember the last time you were booked to play here and we had some really bad snow with airports closed. So I guess it is about time you hit the shores of our country don't you think?
"Well we have always tried to come over but the promoters don't seem that bothered about booking us, but this time around I think we will come to the UK at the end of October 2011, early November for 2-3 shows. I am looking forward to coming back to the UK, it has been too long."
Just before you release your new album you have released your EP titled 'Leatherhead', so please tell me a little bit about the record. Who produced the EP and the album?
"Well the album is produced by Stefan Kaufmann (our guitarist) who has been producing our albums for some time now. We know each other so well we really didn't see the point in having a producer come in when we can do it ourselves. If we feel that we need somebody from the outside that is when we shall approach somebody else. We did some experiments with the new album in which we tried to make a very modern sound on the new album and on a couple of songs we tried to change the EP versions from the album versions, especially with the title of the EP 'Leatherhead'. We wanted to change to album version on the EP to see what kind of reaction we would get from the fans and we are living in 2011 and not 81 anymore. The song writing for the new album is back to our roots. We tried to mix the old fashion stuff with a modern sound and I think it has worked really well for us and I think we have done the right thing."
So why did you decide to call the EP 'Leatherhead'? Was there any other titles?
"Well the song for the EP came from the record company so we left it up to them to sort out and I think it was the right move to choose the song 'Leatherhead' for the EP, which means he is a leading of a street gang and not to be messed with. The EP contains 2 songs from the album 'Rev-Raptor', 1 is called 'Rock & Roll Soldiers', 'Free or Rebellion', 'Run' and then there is a video clip for 'Leatherhead'."
So what kind of reviews as the 'Leatherhead' EP been getting form the international press so far?
"Yes so far we have, just about all over in Europe for promotion we have had some excellent reviews from journalist."
Moving on, lets talk about the new album 'Rev-Raptor', why the title?
"Well 'Rev' stands for 'Rebel' and 'Raptor' is a bird but it looks good when you first see the title (Laughing), and the meaning of the title is our mascot who is constructed to be a police robot who is getting out of control he became very dangerous who would take over everything. (Ed: I guess you could say he is a little bit like Robocop'?) Yes in a way, and when you type in this name into the internet 'Rev-Raptor' which is also a comic character. The artwork was done by the same guy who works for the comic so we had no problems there, the title and artwork came naturally."
So Udo, how many songs will be released on the album? Is there any bonus songs on a digi pk?
"Well on the normal CD there will be 13 songs, digi pk will have 14 songs and 2 video clips.
So who writes the songs within the band, has anything changed since we last spoke?
"Well most of the song writing is written by Stefan and myself and with this line-up of U.D.O. we have been together now for many years and the rest of the band are now involved with some of the song writing. Fitty has helped write 2 songs on the album and our guitar player Igor has been involved in 2 songs also so the band are getting more and more involved with helping on our records. It is Stefan and myself who writes all the lyrics, with the music been the whole band."
How long did it take to prepare to get the ideas and song writing for this album?
"Well we are always working on songs, we don't leave it till the next album is about to come out. When we 1st started work on this album we had over 25 ideas, and when it came to record the CD we sat down and went through the songs which we felt would be best suitable for the album. In the end we ended up with 17 songs, and in the end we recorded 16 songs and finally made 15 songs. We started work on this album last June 2010 and it was planned to put the album out in January 2011 but Stefan had a big problem which he couldn't work in the studio for 2 and a half months, so we had to stop the recording till he could come back and record. The album is out on 20th May, so we are lucky as we have our own studio so we don't feel pressured into finishing the album."
So what are the songs about briefly?
"Well each song is different, we have some aggressive songs, some heavy ones and a ballad 'I Give As Good As I Get', is about trying to do things the best you can and you don't get things back that you hoped for. The song 'Terrorvision', is about things on the TV, nothing is for free anymore. Next is 'Dr Death', is about a guy who was killing 15 people who was a serial killer. Then you have the song 'Renegade' were the CIA is paying people to kill people so we have a lot of different meanings on the songs on this album."
Which songs on the new album stand out for you and why?
"That is a tough question, for me personally I like 'I Give As Good As I Get', and I think this is a different U.D.O. album and I can't do anything different with my lower vocal range so I can do more melodic stuff. I also like 'Leatherhead' as it has a modern sound."
You must of influenced so many musicians and singers over the years.
"Yes I guess I have, for me vocal wise I guess I have a distinct sound."
This album has a very industrial sound, why is that?
"I think we had to do this, head for a more modern direction, and we have not changed our style of music it is still classic heavy metal but with a modern sound. There is a new and younger generation now and we have to cater for them but like I said keep to our roots. For me you can't go back and we don't want to be stuck in the 80's and we want to keep going with the modern stuff. We will not loose our roots, it is very important to us."
Moving on before we finish, what festivals have you got planned for this year?
"Yes we will do 'Rock Hard', we play 1 in Finland, 1 in Norway, 2 in Sweden, 1 in Belgium, no Wacken, no Bloodstock. England has always been a problem for us, I don't know why? We will play in South America, and the European tour will start in September."
What countries would you like to play which you haven't yet and why?
"I would love to play in Australia, we have never been there unfortunately we nearly got there but the record companies were not interested in doing any promotion for the band. It is also very expensive for us to go to Australia. I'd like to play in China too."
Well UDO, thanks for doing the interview once again, do you have anything to say to your fans as usual?
"Yes please support the band, check out the EP and the album it's a great CD. We also hope to make it to the UK finally this year. Keep metal alive!!"
Thank's to Mike for the set up of the interview & UDO himself.