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U.D.O. - Close to the fans

Heavy Metal veterans – that’s what U.D.O. are, and now they release a new studio album „Dominator “. The STALKER met Udo Dirkschneider and Fitty Wienhold for an interview at the BANG-YOUR-HEAD-Festival.

Hello guys! How are you?
Udo: Everything is great, nice of you to ask!

Are you still challenged by recording a new album? Is it more fun or hard work?
Udo:Recording a new album is still a challenge. You always try to make the best you can. Surely the latest record shows how far the band got until now. We try to combine everything to give the fans all they want from us.

How much time do you need to record your new album?
Fitty: It is quite hard to say this. We started last year May or April. We started with lyrics, some vocal-lines, then some ideas came from everywhere. Then we had a break in summer, after we toured through Russia, so we really started recording between October and November.
Udo:We did not stress ourselves and took as much time as needed. We tried until it sounded good for us. In that way we wanted to get the maximum out of it.

Do you have a main Songwriter? Udo, I think it is you, aren’t you?
Fitty: Me and UDO wrote some songs – this is not meant as disrespect of the others – sometimes their ideas fit in and sometimes not. Everyone has some rights in decision according to the songwriting or the creation of a song.
Udo:If you have lots of ideas some parts will fit in and some not. Everyone is more or less enthusiastic about his part in songwriting.

What would you prefer: playing live or recording is a studio, playing a festival or in a club?
Udo: Every club-gig and every festival is something special, so it is quite the same. At a festival there is a big party, you meet with friends, drink some beer. Going on a real tour is something different. We rather play live than in a studio.

Fitty: This question is easy to answer: live you are closer to the fans than in the studio. In the studio you are alone without the people around you. And Metal or Rock’ n’ Roll is live, so it is clear that we prefer playing live. At a festival you see i.e. some fellows and always some new young bands you can listen to. And it is important for young bands to play live in front of a big crowd.
A tour is something you can prepare and it guides you away from your every-day-routine. So it is fantastic.

Could you describe the typical U.D.O.-Fan? Does such a person even exist?
Fitty: I give you a good example. You surely have heard that Accept have reunited again. So there is a good example for: the other Accept-Musicians asked us to make a reunion and the people thanked us not to cancel U.D.O. You have to remember, U.D.O. are together since twelve years. U.D.O. made more albums than Accept did. U.D.O. exists longer than Accept had existed.

How were your old albums created?
Udo: Well, “Animal House” was our first album and the first line-up has been some kind of approaching in music business with U.D.O. In our early years we made some good compositions and did some live-shows too, all very successful. Every CD has its own recognition value, so to say its own character. This is something special with U.D.O. Man and Machine sounds different to Solid. With our new album we got to a high level but not to the end.
Fitty: We are still open for new influences but we never lose our common ground. You just have to listen to our albums and you will know, what I mean. We like to make some experiments with new sounds or effects and technique. We try to fit in modern times and are interested in new sounds but we don’t want to copy anyone. So U.D.O will always be U.D.O.

Which album do you like the most?
Udo: We always like the last one most.

What do you think about the underground-scene and underground bands?
Fitty: This topic is hard, because the new bands have a much harder way to go than we had, because there are so many bands. Labels are the best example: more and more small labels close so it is hard for an underground-band to get a deal.

Moreover, many people download the stuff instead of buying it. So therewith you will get no money.

In opposite to now, in earlier days it had not been that big. We played in schools, clubs, etc. and you are always close to the people. The ways today are much harder and as a band you should learn to use the internet. The internet is used too wildly, I think. I is not organized well. If it will be organized in a better way, things will be better in general.

Udo: I ask myself: how can a band today get close to the audience? It is very sad, because the old bands are gone someday and the Metal scene should stay alive.

The offspring scene is there. It is not long ago when we saw a new band, I actually cannot remember their name, but they were awesome.

What music do you hear besides Metal?
Udo: Everything. At home I sometimes listen even to the radio.

Of which CD in your collection are you most embarrassed?
Fitty: Modern Talking…but it is good too (lol)
Well, I have some trash between my other CD’s and I really should clean it up.

What do you do besides music?
Udo: After a tour we have not much holidays. We relax a bit but that’s it. It goes on. You have to organize everything, you have your discussions with the management, you prepare the shows, etc.

We really could not say: well let’s make some holidays now, because it goes on. All the arrangements are made before a tour or show, you know. It is a bit stressful, but in a positive way.

And now something completely different: do you have special memories from your school-time?
Fitty: I muddled school though. I often missed it to go there because of music.

My children are for example good students – yes I really read the certificates of my children – (and hide my own, lol)

We are the generation of Rock´n´Roll and we lived the way of Rock even in school. You may know the stories from the Flower-Power-Time – rumor at the street (viva la revolution!) and so on. That was our own experience and it is a special part of us now. I do not want to miss one single day of it.

You may think that this sounds stupid, but our school-time was one big party. For example after school you walked away with some people you did not know before. One had a guitar, one his girlfriend and the third had some beer. So we met and became a community. No idea why but there was a party somewhere – somehow – always pretty cool!! Until now I have not the slightest idea how we got our exam (lol)

If you would not have become musicians, what would you be now?
Fitty: My parents had a factory for tools. I had the choice to adopt it. Now my brother owns it. I feel good as a musician. Those days I decided for something different – music – I do not know, if I would have been happy with any other job, but I do not think so.

I recommend young musicians to learn a real job. Music is something you can always do.

Some last words?
Udo: I hope you like the new record, best wishes to the future. Thanks a lot for your support.

Author: Markus Seibel, photos U.D.O., M. Seibel
Date: 2009-08-19

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