By Jay Oakley
You've decided to close the book on performing Accept music in your solo career. What brought about that decision?
Lets say it this way. I'm a little tired, ya know. When Accept came back with the reunion and I was still also playing, of course, some Accept songs, people were always comparing who is better, who is doing this and this and this and I got a little bit tired of it. I've done U.D.O. now for over twenty-five years and we have already fifteen albums out. Also, there is a huge fan base for U.D.O. and they ask why I'm still playing Accept songs because if people want to hear Accept songs they can go to Accept now, they're still in the business and you have enough material to play just U.D.O. songs. So, while sitting down with the management and talking to a lot of people I said, "OK, I'll do it one more time. I'll make a special tour of just maybe ten or fifteen shows and we'll play only Accept songs and that's it." [Laughs] But, it was just exploding and when we we are finished with the American tour we will be nearly one year on tour with the Dirkschneider thing. I was also really surprised about this, I wasn't expecting this reaction on this tour.
Along with the tour, you have a corresponding live album that's being released this month called Back To The Roots. Did you decide to release a live album as a "Thank You" as part of this tour or were the shows going so well that it seemed like the right thing to do?
If you do something like this and the tour goes so well and remember it will never happen again like this so we planned already to do a live album. We were also filming one show but when we were looking at the material, it was not good enough for us. We want to give the people, our fans, the best so I don't know when but we are thinking of filming the whole thing again. So, I don't know when but there will be a DVD about this tour.
Well, I personally live in Maryland and you have a show with us at the beginning of February next year in Baltimore so I would love you to record that one.
[LAUGHS] We can not put out two of them.
No, of course, sir. From my understanding of the lineup of the Dirkschneider band because live album, are you still playing on tour with your son, Sven?
Oh yeah! Of course, he is now a member of U.D.O. and the Dirkschneider thing. He's with me and I think he's doing a great job.
How is it having your son, your family constantly out there with you?
Lets say it this way, with the band, he is a member of a band. He doesn't have any privilege. He's just the drummer of U.D.O. and Dirkschneider. If we have to talk about some private things then we do it outside the band. In the beginning, when I said, "OK, my son will be the drummer now in U.D.O. and Dirkschneider." the rest of the band members were a little bit hesitant. But, I made it clear right from the beginning I said, "Don't worry, he is a member of the band and if something happens then I will talk with him in private." But, so far, everything has worked well and no problems at all. But, I want to be honest, I'm really proud of him. He's doing a really, really good job and he's perfect for the band.
When you conclude this tour and you finally put Accept to rest, what is your next plan for U.D.O.? Do you have an album in the works?
Yeah, we've started slowly collecting ideas. So, after the American and Canada tour we have some time off in February. We want to rest, everybody goes on holiday or whatever and then on the first of March we start working on the new U.D.O. album.
I like to talk a little bit of history and the one thing I wanted to ask about was Accept's original name. The band was called Band X, so what brought about the change to Accept?
Yeah, Band X, that was in '68, '69. I ended up buying an album by the band Chicken Shack and the album was called Accept. We just felt that was a good name for a band. So, I made it international and it was accepted. Yeah, it was not a big reason and I thought at the time, "OK, I'll change the name from Band X to Accept." That was it.
Are there any places on this tour that you're really excited to go to for the first time, if you haven't been there already or return to?
Yeah, I will definitely say that we're coming to America with the whole thing. I hope it will be very exciting but I'm really looking forward to this. So, right now we're in Europe. We've done a couple of shows already and we'll go to Scandinavia and that looks like it will be again Sold Out and I've heard already some shows in Germany that will be Sold Out. In a way, I'm really speechless about this, it's something else. On the upper hand, the people want to see this and that makes me proud.
Since you mentioned the fans that want to see this tour as well as all your U.D.O. fans that were wondering why you were still playing Accept songs. The fans have so much love for you, they treat you with so much respect so what is it that the fans have given you over all these years of music?
What can I say? Without the fans we are nothing. [Laughs] They are the most important thing and it's good to see what I did with Accept and also now with U.D.O. is what I give to the fans. To see that they still like it means that you did the right thing. It's very good.
When you formed U.D.O. you were still in Accept and your first solo album (Animal House) came out with the Accept guys assisting in the writing. Was there ever a time that you felt working on your solo career wasn't the right decision or did you always feel strongly about your music and writing?
After all these years, it's not so funny when you're fired from your own band. I was creating it. They made it really clever and easy for me. They said I could have the whole album, Animal House, that was normally planned to be the next album after Russian Roulette. Then I was looking for positions because there were hundreds of positions that wanted to be in the solo project. But yeah, everything was easy. I did the album and I was going directly on a European tour, then I was going to America and opening up for Guns N' Roses.
Ya know, at the time I really wasn't thinking about what was really going on. Everything was so easy, ya know. But, after a couple of years I really started thinking and was like, "Accept is my name and not the name of Wolf Hoffmann." He was not in the band when I was creating this. This is history and I think there were a lot of things not done in the right way but it is like it is. Now, Accept has success with what they are doing now, I have success with U.D.O. and now with the Dirkschneider thing so everybody can be happy. I don't want to look to much back at things. This is history, it's done, forget about it.
Your good friend, Doro Pesch, was recently in town performing. I was there really early and she needed a ride to her hotel so I took her up there and brought her back. We were making small talk and she's such a wonderful, genuine person but I've got to tell you Udo, she had such wonderful things to say about you. How has your relationship blossomed and when did you meet her for the first time?
Doro, [Laughs] I met her before she was in Warlock. Long, long, long time ago and I was always from time to time in contact with Doro and we always had the idea to do one song together. When I did the Man And Machine album there was one song, "Dancing With An Angel," and I thought that could be the right song. I asked Doro if she was interested in this and she said, "Yes, of course, I want to do this." I was also doing something together with her on the Classic Diamonds album (Doro solo album,) we did "Breaking The Law" from Judas Priest. We have a good relationship and we talk to each other about what's going on.
Give a message to the fans. Leading into this tour with all this Accept material, what would you really love to say to your fans?
First, I'm really happy to come back to the US but not as U.D.O. this time, I come with Dirkschneider and we're only playing Accept songs. I think you will have a lot, a lot of fun and you will see a really good show. I'm looking forward to this.
Are fans going to get the opportunity to meet you? Are you doing meet and greets or will you be hanging around?
So far, what I know is there are some meet and greet stuff going on at every concert.
Udo, I want to thank you so much for taking some time out of your day, some time out ofmy morning to sit down with me and talk a little history about Accept, the tour with Dirkschneider and what you have coming up later with U.D.O. It's a real honor, sir and I appreciate your time.
OK, thank you very much. Have a nice day.