This is a long story. What I did after the final record and the final tour with Accept, Wolf and Peter didn’t want to do it anymore. They wanted to stop making music. For me, I didn’t want to stop. I said okay, I’ll do UDO again. So the first thing I did was to ask Stefan Kaufmann to be the guitar player in UDO and he said “yes, of course I want to do this.” I knew it from the very beginning on that he was very much into guitar playing and he’s a very good guitar player. Then I was looking for some other members and I found very good positions and then I started with the first album. With the first studio album after the split up with Accept, in a way it was a hard time for UDO in the beginning because everybody was thinking “oh, okay Udo is doing a solo album again. Accept is coming back.” That was a little bit hard in the beginning. But then already with the second album, it was getting better and better and then finally with the Holy album that we had, what can I say? Everything worked out perfect so we worked with the Holy album and then we did a live album, Live From Russia, and it came out very good. With the last album, Man And Machine, we just finished our first part here in Europe. We were touring in Europe for two and a half months. It was very successful. What can I say? I’m very happy with the band that I have. The whole summertime we are doing festivals in all Europe. I think the most important one is the Wacken festival in the beginning of August and then we start touring again in the beginning or middle of October. We start touring in Russia and then we do the rest of Europe until the end of the year and then we are looking for a good tour in America.
Some of the fans wanted to know if you guys were going to come over here or not.
We've been there with the Holy album. It was in the end of 2000. We've been on tour with Saxon in America for nearly two months. It was after a long time for me to come back to America and what can I say? For me it was very interesting to see how the heavy metal scene is going in America and it worked out very well. The album is coming out tomorrow I think. We will see what's coming up and if we find a good tour in America then we will be coming back. I get a lot of e-mails from America so it looks good.
The American fans will be very happy to hear that. You did a double live CD called Live From Russia and there are five live Accept tracks on there that have never been on any other release.
Yeah, we did a lot of Accept songs on this album that have never been released live. When we started thinking about the live album, of course the people expected that we also put some Accept songs on this album. Then we said okay, we don't want to put the classic songs on this like "Balls To The Wall" and "Metal Heart" and "Princess Of The Dawn" and "Fast As A Shark" and all this classic Accept stuff. Stefan and I knew that the people were always asking about songs from the Russian Roulette album and some different songs from the Breaker album. A very old song, "I'm A Rebel" from the second Accept album and then we did a vote on our home page. Then we could see which songs the people like most on this album and it was very interesting. I think in the end we did the right thing. Everybody was satisfied. Of course some people said "oh why don't you put 'Balls To The Wall' on this album?" Accept already has three live albums out and always all the classic songs on these but I think either way we did the right thing with the Accept songs.
You asked the fans what they would like on the album. They told you and unfortunately you can't please everybody. That particular song has already been on a number of live releases that they probably own.
It's always a problem for us. It was a problem also when we started touring this year in Europe. The hardest thing that we have at the moment is to put together a live setlist for all the songs. Of course the people want to hear Accept songs. Of course we have to play these. We already have out eight studio albums now of UDO and of course a lot of people want to hear a lot of songs from these albums. This is very hard and yet you cannot please everybody. We always try to put songs in a setlist when we go out on tour maybe with some surprises. I think also on this tour we put the right songs in the set list.
Some people can't accept that you're doing something completely different and that UDO is not Accept. I think most of the set list should be UDO material and a few songs from Accept. Fans should accept that this isn't Accept.
In a way what we try to do is we want to keep the spirit of Accept alive. Definitely the style of UDO is not completely different from Accept. Of course certainly we have the same voice and now with Stefan Kaufmann, he was a very important person in Accept. He was one of the main songwriters and he was doing the sound of Accept and for me he was a very important person in Accept. Of course with Stefan together, this is 50 percent of Accept and when you listen to the new album, it's going back toward the roots of Accept and that's what we want to do in the future. We want to keep the spirit alive and I don't have any problems with playing Accept songs with UDO. It's just a different name.
Man And Machine is your eighth UDO release. It sounds a bit like Accept. "Dancing With An Angel" features Doro Pesch.
Yes. This was not planned. I've known for a very long time and this idea was not new. We already had this idea 10 years ago when we did the reunion with Accept. That time it did not happen for some business reasons. There were a lot of problems between the major record companies and so on. We already had this ballad finished in the studio. We already had the whole vocals on it and then Stefan came up with this idea and said if maybe this can be the right song to pick up this idea again that we had a long time ago. Then when I was calling Doro and I asked her and then she came to the studio and here we go. It was easy and I think in a way this song is a little bit different but I like this song very much. I think it is a very good ballad.
Tell us about some of the tracks on the new album.
Lyricwise, the title song "Man And Machine", the meaning of the lyrics are that humans are creating all machines like robots, bionic stuff, and computers and what we have to do is keep an eye on all this stuff that not one day the machines are ruling the humans.
Like The Terminator.
Like that. Another example is "Network Nightmare". The lyrics are about surfing in the Internet and chatrooms can be a drug. Sometimes we are losing a little bit of face to face communication and that's about "Network Nightmare". "Private Eye" is a song that we've been watching everywhere. We have video cameras nearly everywhere. On the street when you go to…I don't know. Maybe on the toilet they have some video cameras.
I wouldn't be surprised.
That's the meaning of the lyrics in "Private Eye". That we have been watching and been losing our privacy. Another song, "Black Heart", was a little bit inspired by the thing that happened in New York on the 11th of September. We don't need any bad terrorists and dictators. We don't need this shit. Definitely not. Another song, "Hard To Be Honest", sometimes you have to lie. Not big lies but always sometimes you use little lies. It's sometimes very hard to tell somebody the truth especially in the music business. It's not only the music business but it's like if you come too late to work, sometimes you say "oh my car was not working". "I missed the train." You were sleeping too long. That's the meaning of the lyrics to "Hard To Be Honest". You have to lie a little bit.
Sometimes you do. If someone you know is wearing a really ugly outfit you don't want to come out and say that.
Sometimes it's very hard to say but I think that sometimes it's better to tell the truth and don't lie. Another song, "The Dawn Of Gods", is a metal anthem. It's about the music that we're doing. We like to make this music and in a way you can say this music is our religion. We like to have heavy music and we don't want to change anything.
You have a long term contract with SPV.
Not as a band contract. The thing is I have my own record company and what SPV is doing, they're doing the distribution for me. That means in a way I control everything.
They're distributing some of the old Accept albums.
Yes, of course. I have all the rights on these albums and they're doing the distribution for me. The reason why I did my own record company was when I started with UDO again, the first two albums I had a contract with Gun Records here in Germany. They were quite good in Germany but they were not good in the rest of the world so that was a problem for me. Then in a way when the contract was over, I didn't want to sign for one more record. Then I was talking to myself. "What can I do? Find another contract with another record company or start my own record label?" Then I said "okay, I think I know enough in this business and if I do something wrong then I did it by myself." So here we go. So far I think it was the right choice.
Breaker Records is your label.
You're planning on releasing a DVD.
We're working on it but at the moment there's a little problem. It was planned to put out the DVD the end of September or October. Now an Accept DVD is coming out. That means I think we have to wait a little bit longer. It is very stupid to put out a UDO DVD and an Accept DVD at the same time. That makes no sense. I have to talk to some people how we want to do this when we come out with the DVD but definitely there will be a DVD out with UDO.
Is there going to be a U. S. release of it?
I think the DVD of Accept will be just out in Europe so far. It's not out in America. We're already working on the DVD but now we have to see when we put this out. It makes no sense to put out both at the same time. That makes no sense.
You have a point there. An individual who apparently runs an online radio station wanted to know if you feel that online radio stations help you or hurt you as an artist.
It helps a lot. I think it's a good thing. Especially here in Europe, you have nearly nothing on the radio with heavy metal music. It only likes pop music and dance music, rap, hip hop, and all that. With the heavy metal music, it's nearly no radio airplay in Europe. Some private radio stations. It's like that all over the world.
Do you think online stations should be required to pay a fee to broadcast your music? Apparently the music industry is trying to force online radio stations to pay broadcast fees.
They have to pay?
They want them to pay. I guess corporate radio stations pay fees and they're saying online ones should as well. They're starting to give these people a hard time.
Really? This is very strange.
Do you have any other comments?
Hopefully we find the right tour for America and I look forward to coming back to America. We'll find something to come and tour in America. So that means the beginning of next year definitely we'll come over and I look forward to this.