Metalholic caught up with U.D.O. founder and former Accept frontman, Udo Dirkschneider the day after his 61st birthday. We talked about the band’s new album “Steelhammer“, two new members, the 2013 anniversary re-issues of the classic U.D.O. albums, and the band’s live CD/DVD release, “Live in Sophia“.
This month U.D.O. returns to North America in advance tour support if its fourteenth studio album, “Steelhammer“. The record marks many firsts for the band. Vocalist Udo Dirkschneider, along with bassist Fitty Weinhold, produced the new effort. Recent releases have been produced by longtime U.D.O. guitarist and former Accept drummer, Stefan Kaufmann. In 2012, Kaufmann retired from the band due to health issues.
Another change for U.D.O. in 2013 is Kaufmann’s replacement; Russian guitarist Andrey Smirnov. Smirnov is a multi-instrumentalist who has been involved with numerous projects over the years including being the lead vocalist, guitarist, primary songwriter and founder of the Russian modern metal band Everlost. The 29-year-old played all the guitars on the new U.D.O. record.
Shortly before recording “Steelhammer“, longtime guitarist Igor Gianola also announced his exit from U.D.O. The decision was offered as a conflict with his schedule with the band’s requirements. Dirkschneider went back to his stack of demos and tabbed former Amberian Dawn guitarist Kasperi Heikkinen.
With two new fret wizards, a new producer, and the songwriting absence of Kaufmann, fans might be concerned, but one listen to the first single from the new record, “Metal Machine” and its clear, U.D.O. is as powerful as ever.
You can check out the full 2013 Udo Dirkschneider interview below and check out our 2011 interview as well:
April 09 – Amityville, NY – Ollie’s Point
April 10 – New York, NY – Gramercy Theatre
April 11 – Poughkeepsie, NY – The Chance
April 12 – Montreal, QC – Foufounes Electriques
April 13 – St-Ferdinand, QC – Style Metal
April 14 – Toronto, ON – Mod Club
April 18 – Cleveland, OH – Peabody’s
April 19 – Detroit, MI – Harpo’s
April 20 – Joliet, IL – Mojoe’s
April 21 – Seattle, WA – Studio Seven
April 23 – West Hollywood, CA – Whisky A Go Go