Udo Dirkschneider Of U.D.O. Discusses "Rev-Raptor"
Band Photo: Accept (?)
Udo Dirkschneider shouldn't need an introduction, but here's one anyway. Coming from the legendary band Accept ("Metal Heart" was my first tattoo), Germany's powerhouse vocalist Udo Dirkschneider has just released his band U.D.O.'s thirteenth masterpiece "Rev-Raptor."
Just before U.D.O. sets off an a huge European tour, I got a chance to talk to the legendary Udo Dirkschneider about the new album, constant touring, and just how you make a set list with thirteen albums of material to choose from.
Buick: How are you today?
Udo Dirkschneider: Fine, thank you very much. I’ve been up doing interviews for a few hours so, it’s been a long time today for me.
Buick: Yeah, and I have to ask you some of the same questions. You just released “Rev-Raptor.” How have your fans liked it?
Udo: What can I say? So far in Europe, the reaction is fantastic. I mean, what can I say? We went very high into the German charts, in Switzerland, in Norway, in Sweden…yeah, the reaction is fantastic. So it looks like we did the right album. And, yeah, what else can I say? We are very happy at the moment.
Buick: That’s great. And I was interested in the name of the album, and I looked up what a Rev-Raptor was, and I found that it’s a Zoid [figure in a line of bio-mechanical creatures]. How did that influence the album?
Udo: I mean, Rev-Raptor, a rev is another English word for rebel, and raptor is a bird, so it means rebel bird. But the meaning of Rev-Raptor for us is “He is a rebel,” “He is a half human, half machine, and he wants to control everything.” So that’s the meaning of the Rev-Raptor,” but we don’t have a concept about this album, like, all the lyrics go together or something like that. All the lyrics are different.
Buick: Ok, and it was supposed to be released earlier this year, but your guitarist Stefan had some medical issues. Is he doing better?
Udo: We had to make a break for over three months, but he’s totally recovered. Thank God, that was the most important thing that he is completely recovered. And hopefully nothing is coming back and we don’t have the same problem again, but it doesn’t look like it.
Buick: Yes, especially since you’re about to go on the festival circuit for the summer, you definitely don’t want him being hurt because that must be extremely strenuous.
Udo: Yeah, I mean we’re looking forward to doing all the festivals all over Europe. They’re quite often huge festivals that we’re doing this year. All of the festivals are going until the end of August, and we start a European tour until the end of December until Christmas. We’re already completely booked through the end of the year. And then next year we have a break for two months, and then we start touring in Russia, a long tour in Russia. And South America is calling back, we’re just back from South America, but it was very successful so they want to have us back already next year in May. And, yeah, what can I say? We are working very, very hard to America with the new album. I mean, now it’s ten years already since the last time we’re in the U.S. I did a tour together with Saxon. So I think it’s time to come back.
Buick: Absolutely. How long do you think you would stay in America?
Udo: When we come over to America, I hope we do a coast-to-coast tour. I mean, definitely six or eight weeks. That’s what we are looking for, we’re looking for a good package. And our manager, at the moment, is in contact with a lot of good promoters in America. So hopefully it will work out this time. We would love to come back to America.
Buick: Great I’d love to see you if you come near the south.
Udo: Yeah, with Saxon in 2001 we did a lot of shows in the south. I hope so.
Buick: And how is it different playing those humongus festicals then playing a small, sweaty club?
Udo: How can I explain this? I mean the festival is always a big party, you know? The people want to hear all the classic songs. What we do on the big festivals is, like, play the best of setlist. And when we do a club, we’re much nearer to the audience, it’s more rock and roll. If you’re on a big festival, and you play in front of, I don’t know, 40,000 people…it’s different. But in a club when you’re on tour, like, it’s much closer and it’s more intense, the whole thing. On festivals we usually play more Accept stuff like “Princess,” “Metal Heart,” and “Balls to the Wall,” and maybe one more. But when we do our own tour, a real headlining tour, then maybe we play two or three accept songs. But in the encore, not the main setlist. But we have so many U.D.O. songs already, this is the thirteenth album. The people say, “Why do you still play Accept songs?” Being that Accept is back in business, let them play all the songs, but also, a lot of people want to come and listen because they want to hear the real voice.
Buick: How do you choose a setlist from thirteen albums plus some Accept songs?
Udo: This is a nightmare. I mean, what we are doing…we make a vote on our homepage, and the people can choose songs that they want to hear. And then we know, in a way, what songs we have to put into our setlist. It makes life a little bit easier, but on the other hand you cannot satisfy everybody. It’s impossible.
Buick: And during your tour earlier this year you released a few tour diary videos that were really fun to watch.
Udo: Yeah. That’s what we always do when we are on tour so we can show the people what is going on on tour.
Buick: Do you ever have to censor yourself or is everything on the video for real?
Udo: This is real. I mean, we don’t do anything…made for this video. This is real. It’s like what happens; sleeping on the plane, laughing, talking. No, this is what happens.
Buick: Is there anything else you would like to say?
Udo: Yeah, what can I say? I mean, I hope that people like the new album and I hope they buy it. And we’ll do our best to come over to America and do a coast-to-coast tour. Stay heavy.
Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.
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