Interview with UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER
Interview by Mark Dean
This tour is billed and promoted as a farewell to Accept. I just wondered why you have made that decision now?
Let’s say it this way, for me it’s now time to close the book. Still Accept is in existence, and still on tour. A lot of people are complaining, and saying “Who is better? U.D.O. or Accept?”
Some people say, “Why do you not play more Accept songs?” And then other people say, “Why do you play Accept tunes? Why not do U.D.O. stuff?” All this stuff going on with Jorg, where he is trying to make a bad thing out of it. I’m tired of it. I said, “Okay, U.D.O. need a break.” But it was not planned to do a whole world tour with this. (laughs)
Those songs are so popular, though. That’s probably why. They have enduring quality and appeal to many generations of fans.
They were just supposed to do 15 shows, but then it goes more and more and more and more. Now we are going on tour until the end of the year with this. It’s good to see that people really like it. I enjoy to do this for me, or for myself. Now I want to make a cut, say, “Okay, that’s it.”
Maybe a just a little door is open if Accept plays … I’m still continuing.
One of my later questions – what about putting the set together? Was that very difficult for you?
It was very difficult. Let’s say it this way, I think we putting set list together. I was also putting some songs in the set list I like to do for the last time on stage. I think so far, I think the set list works. A lot of people really enjoy it. We play nearly two and a half hours sometimes.
Was it nice as well to revisit some of the old songs you haven’t played in quite some time?
Yeah, of course. To be honest, it’s also sometimes a little bit sad to do this. I really like the songs, but you have to say one day, “That’s it.”
I first saw you on the Russian Roulette tour back in Belfast in 1986.
Oh, Jesus Christ. A long time ago!
With Dokken. I just wondered if you had any memories of recording out the Russian Roulette album or that tour.
Yeah, of course. The Russian Roulette album in Europe was the best-selling tour ever for Accept. I remember we had Dokken and we also had UFO on tour. Yeah, really good memories and remembrances on this tour.
When Accept decided to go on without you, did you feel betrayed? From former friends and, former band members?
Yes, but they were asking me to do the reunion. I did already want a reunion with Accept. This time I said, “Okay, if I do this then …” there were a lot of things I was talking about. Wolf said, “No, under this current conditions, I don’t want to have it.” I said, “Okay, have a nice day and good luck.” That’s it.
Accept started way back in 1976 and here we sit, 40 years later in 2016, talking about Accept. How do you explain the band’s enduring popularity?
We had our own style with Accept. We were inspiring a lot of young bands, especially with the Breaker and the Restless and Wild album. I thought still after 40 years it would fade, but it’s good. That means that you did something in this business, music-wise. In a way, you can say I’m proud of it.
Looking back at those Accept albums, would you have a particular favourite or was it just a general good time for you?
Let’s say that, I always mention Breaker and Restless and Wild both in our history.
You’ve pretty much answered this, you’ve been asked a few times about an Accept reunion. Does this tour close the door on that reunion?
People are always going to want reunions of a classic lineup.
I know, but there is no way back. It’s too much.
Outside of music, do you have any kind of interest and hobbies? Spare time?
Hobbies … When I’m home, I’m chilling. I’ve been so busy with touring and doing some other stuff. In the meanwhile, also some classic stuff. We put out a “Nailed to Metal” night. We did a Wacken Festival show, with a big orchestra. I’m constantly working on music that when I’m home.
I understand that you need a complete unwinding down. Many rock musicians have left this year, Lemmy and David Bowie, amongst others. Are there things that make you more aware of your own mortality?
You mean like healthier stuff? Yeah, I try to be healthy as possible. On the other hand, I think I am really lucky. My voice, I’ve never ever had any problems with my voice. I never canceled a show about my voice.
You don’t see retirement anytime soon?
No, the only thing I’ve stopped is now, for 13 years, I’ve stopped smoking. I’ve thought, when I stop smoking, my voice changing … I try to live as healthy as possible. Of course, I’m not a monk. Of course sometimes I get drunk, we have a party, whatever.
Everybody needs to unwind.
Not every night we’re going, “Ugh.” That was maybe 25 years ago or whatever.
Again, you’ve probably covered this … When the tour ends, you’re going to make a DVD of the tour. Will there be any sadness at saying goodbye to those songs and that part of your life?
Maybe? I don’t know. We have so many plans that involve going on.
You’re thinking positively.
Yes, maybe I can do this for 10 more years. I always say, “As long as you’re healthy, and as long … Very important thing, I enjoy it.” It is more important than to be healthy, enjoy it, this is the most important thing.
I love to be on tour, I love it still. I love to play in front of people. To see you’re doing the right thing, see smiling faces, they’re having fun. As long I have this feeling, there’s no … A lot of people are already asking, “When do you want to retire?” I always say, “I don’t know.”
You’re still enjoying it.
Yeah, we have already plans until 2019.
Not for a few years yet. I was going to ask; Decadent was your last solo album. I just wondered as fans are always going to want more and more music all the time. I just wondered if you had new songs written or if that something … Not yet.?
No, I think our guitar players have already some ideas, but at the moment we are not thinking about an album. The next album we will start recording in beginning of late year, very slowly.
That’s great. Thank you very much for your time. I’m looking forward to the show tonight.