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Interview with Udo Dirkschneider of U.D.O. on Mastercutor

Udo Dirkschneider is one of those names in the metal world that is just as recognizable and ranked up there with the likes of Bruce Dickenson, Rob Halford and Dee Snider. As well as his vocal style. Truly as unique of a voice as any.

Breaking through internationally in 1981 with Accept’s third album ‘Breaker’, Udo has been on a non-stop metal barrage for the past two decades and is about to put yet another decade notch in his belt with his bands latest release.

U.D.O. started belting out some serious metal sounds back in 1987, and does not seem to want to ever stop. With the latest U.D.O. album, ‘Mastercutor’, this true metal icon has put out an excellent (what heavy metal should sound like) album.

In order for me to catch up with Udo and his busy time schedule, this interview was conducted at 5 am. I was half asleep and tired as hell the rest of the day, but just being able to have a chance to chat with the “Grandmaster of heavy metal” was well worth it.

JH: First off, can you fill us in on the new album?

UD: Yes, what can I say about the new album ‘Mastercutor’? I think first, we have a wide range of songs with various tempo ranges. It does have a more modern sound than any of the albums in the past. So far we are really happy with the album.

JH: Is there a general theme or concept behind it?

UD: I don’t really want to say that there’s a concept behind it. There are a lot of things going on and the Mastercutor is sort of the director of the show. So maybe a little theme to it as he is running the show.

JH: How would you say it compares or differs from your past few albums?

UD: Well, we changed the sound in a way. I think the last album was a bit more of what you would call a safety album. And for me it was a little too quick to recording process. It went too fast.

JH: So the recording went a lot smoother this time?

UD: Yes.

JH: So the feedback has been pretty positive for ‘Mastercutor’ so far?

UD: I’m sorry, could you repeat that? You’re very far away.

JH: Well yes I am. I’m in America.

UD: Ha,ha yes you are. Good point, that’s true.

JH: So the feedback has been pretty positive for ‘Mastercutor’ so far?

UD: Yeah, I mean it’s really good so far. I hope it continues. We were a bit nervous about how some would take it. The new sound and all. But so far it’s very good.

JH: How much, if any, do you rely on reviews?

UD: After 30 years, of course I read them, but I think the most important thing is the fans. Seeing how people react when you are playing a song is when I know whether we’ve done a good job. That and album sales.

JH: How well do U.D.O. albums move over here?

UD: I don’t know. I mean, the album is coming out this month. But the last two albums the record company didn’t do very much with in America. What is really important is to tour. I have new management now, new agent, new booking agents and we’re all working very hard to come over to America. I fact they just told me January/February we will be touring over there next year.

JH: What does your tour schedule look like for this year?

UD: We already do a tour in May in Mexico and this summer all of Europe. Germany. And all over Europe.

JH: After 30 years in the business, you ever get tired of going out on the road.

UD: Oh no. I would have to say I still have the same fun going out on tour. I’m still getting nervous when the album is coming out and I’m still getting nervous when we start touring by playing new songs in front of people. I guess the most important thing is for me is to still have fun while on tour.

JH: How many more tours/albums you feel you have left in you?

UD: yeah, What? How many albums? Tours?

JH: Yeah. You feel you can just keep on going?

UD: Ah, yes I could. I mean, like I said, as long as I’m have fun at it, I will still be doing it. That the most important thing. It has been fun for all these years. I’m healthy, my voice is fine. Maybe 5, 10 years. Who knows, you know?

JH: Okay, one Accept question. Any chances for another reunion?

UD: No. I mean we did sort of one in 2005 and played some shows in Europe and Japan, but a reunion with writing new songs, recording a new album and going on tour will definitely not happen.

JH: I think after all these years, everyone should know everything else about your career and Accept.

UD: Yes they should. A lot of people still ask them though. I don’t want to say that we will never play a live show again, but not as a full on reunion.

JH: If given a second chance, is there anything in your life you would want to go back and do differently?

UD: No, not really.

JH: I understand that you started your own record label?

UD: Yes. For my own albums. But at the moment everything is on hold. I really can’t wait to start working with some new, young bands. I really enjoy that. But as with the time now I’m way too busy. Maybe next year.

JH: So you’re not signing any new bands now?

UD: Maybe when I find some more time yes.

JH: So what’s up next for the band?

UD: We do a lot of shows and festivals up till September. And then touring after that through March or April of next year.

JH: Anything you want to add?

UD: Yeah, what can I say. Hopefully we coming back to America soon. I’m looking forward to that.