Interview – Udo Sirkschneider of U.D.O.


Arguably, one of the most distinctive voices in Heavy Metal history has been Germany’s Udo Sirkschneider. Embedded as a fixture on the scene four decades now, Udo came to prominence as during his reign as vocalist of Accept during the band’s formidable years, helping establishing them as leaders in Heavy Rock. Upon his initial departure from Accept in 1987, Udo decided to stay true to his roots and form a brand new band simply called U.D.O. Now fifteen records deep into a strong career with his own band, U.D.O., Udo continues his dominance, provoking affection and support from Metal faithful. Recently we sat down with the vocalist for a personal look at his time in Heavy Metal, the development of U.D.O., their new album Decadent, and much more. – You have been involved in Rock/Metal for over four decades now.  It all started with major success in your time with Accept and continued when you formed U.D.O.. Tell us what has the journey been like for yourself through the years?

Udo Sirkschneider – As you stated, I started with Accept and it was a long time ago and then in 1987, I started with U.D.O.  The first four albums were very success.  Then I had a little reunion with Accept, but it did not work out.  After three albums, then I started again with U.D.O.. Now I am on the fifteenth album with U.D.O. and the band has been quite successful.  Everything is fine, I have a really good lineup with the band, and I am very happy at the moment.

Brain Metronome GmbH
RCA – That is great to hear. When you initially departed from Accept back in 1987 many fans of Accept followed you to the new project U.D.O., were you surprised at the time to see how much positive support you received from the start?

Udo Sirkschneider – Yes at this time, Accept were trying to be more commercial or whatever they were searching for. What they were searching for, I do not know.  They fired me, I was in a way lucky though.  They wanted to do something different so I used all the songs I had and I received great support from the beginning with U.D.O.

RCA –  Yes, and it was great people were supportive right from the start. U.D.O. has certainly had a long and consistent run of releasing new material.  What has been the key for you creatively write new music so often?

Udo Sirkschneider – In a way, you can say I come out with a new album every two years.  I always have ideas for lyrics and some melodies.  Now in a modern day you have a mobile phone to use as a microphone and I can sing out loud some melody that I have on my mind or some words or hook line or whatever.  We are constantly working on new songs.  In a way we are lucky. because maybe some people maybe cannot do it like this. I am constantly working on new songs.

AFM Records
AFM Records – Speaking of new music, the band’s fifteen studio album Decadent recently came out in North America. What was the writing and recording process like this time around for the band?

Udo Sirkschneider – Well we started last year in May of 2014.  We had a session to come together with all the ideas we came up with.  Then we started creating songs, and the whole process was over the summer.  We did it in the Spanish Islands; we had a studio down there.  We were slowly working very easy on this album.  We had a couple of recording session.  In between the sessions, we would change a little bit here, change a little bit there.  We were finished recording at the end of September. It takes a while, but we are in a situation where we have our own studio,  so we did not have to pay for it. – That is absolutely a benefit to give yourself time to relax. This record certainly has a slew of very strong tracks and it also has a very traditional old school Heavy Metal vibe.  Was is it your objective to bring forward that classic sound on Decadent?

Udo Sirkschneider – I never started to think about if I had to do it like this or that.  The current two guitar players that I have now, Kasperi Heikkinen and Andrey Smirnov, came up with awesome really old school stuff.  So, we have some old school roots in our songs, but also we have some modern stuff in there.  This album is a really good mix of everything. – It is definitely a great mix of old and new. The record certainly has a warm sound to it. A lot of modern productions lose that warmth.

Udo Sirkschneider – Yes, that was a problem I had with Stefan Kaufmann production wise.  Nothing against Stefan at all, he is a brilliant songwriter. In the end he wanted to production wise use the computer. This time everyone was at the studio and we were recording face to face. There were real amplifiers and cabinets. For me it was important to step away from all the modern computer production. Of course it is digital, but I tried to make it more warm.

AFM Records
AFM Records – It definitely shows in the recording. As you mentioned you are happy with the current line-up. U.D.O. has seen some line-up changes over the past couple of years. Do you feel that this line-up is one you can go forward with for a while?

Udo Sirkschneider – Yes, I hope so,  you never know.  There will always be some private problems or health problems.  Stefan had problems with his back, and couldn’t walk on stage anymore.   From the old line-up,  there was Mathias Dieth who is now a very well known lawyer in Germany, but didn’t keep making music. You know sometimes things happen.  Especially a guitar player eager to be a lawyer, he was in the band for fifteen years and then he came up to me telling me he was too busy.  What can you do, when someone says I don’t want to do it anymore? So, I hope the two new guitar players don’t have such problems.  They are really young so maybe they don’t have family problems (laughs).  They are not married and don’t have girlfriends at the moment.  They really want to do it and hopefully they will stay for a long time. – That is good to hear. It is important to keep everyone in the lineup happy and healthy. Heavy Metal certainly has changed a lot over the years and a lot of sub-genres have developed from the original roots.  In your opinion what do you think of the current state of Heavy Metal music as a whole?

Udo Sirkschneider –It is the type of music that I never really feel was gone.  For some years in the ’90s it was a little bit gone because of underground music and Grunge stuff like Nirvana.  But now it’s really strong, especially in Europe. – Yes, it seems that in Europe Metal has always been strong. Now, yourself as a vocalist sounds great all these years later. What do you do to keep your voice in shape and sounding as it does?

Udo Sirkschneider – In a way, I do nothing. (laughs)  I am very lucky.  The only thing I do is go once a year to the doctor to check everything and he has said to me that there are no problems at all. I never warm up before I go on stage.  I am just really lucky with my voice. – Wow, good for you, that is excellent. Out of curiosity, what are some of your musical influences?

Udo Sirkschneider – My musical influences are from a long time ago. (laughs)  I started with the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and stuff like that.  I was into all kinds of music.  Rock bands like AC/DC were coming up when I was young, and I wanted to do something like that.  But I never was trying to be AC/DC or something like that.  Very early when I started in a band at around sixteen, we were always writing our own stuff.  I found out very early that I have a different voice and that was a good thing.

Rolling Stones
ATCO – Yes, you have a voice which has been very prolific in Metal. Some fans may argue that you are one of the most underrated voices in metal.

Udo Sirkschneider – Maybe.(laughs) I am still here after forty years. My voice is, you hate it or you like it, there is nothing in the middle.(laughs) – Well, most Metal followers are on the positive side of that equation. My last question for you is regarding films.  On CrypticRock we cover music and  Horror movies so we like to focus on all genres.  Are you a fan of horror films and if so what are some of your favorite horror films?

Udo Sirkschneider –I like more action movies.  I was a really big fan of  the Rambo series. I like stuff like that.  As far as Horror, The Shining (1980) with Jack Nicholson was a really good movie; I liked it a lot.

Orion Pictures
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. – Yes, The Shining certainly is. Do you have time to keep up with some of the newer films?

Udo Sirkschneider – At the time I am so busy, I do not have time to watch many movies. (laughs) When I have a few weeks off here and there I will watch some new movies.

Tour Dates:
Mar 06, 2015 D-Würzburg – Posthalle
Mar 07, 2015 D-München – Backstage
Mar 11, 2015 D-Hamburg – Markthalle
Mar 13, 2015 D-Kiel – Pumpe 6
Mar 14, 2015 DK-Kolding – Godset
Mar 18, 2015 D-Bochum – Zeche
Mar 19, 2015 D-Losheim/Saarland – Eisenbahnhalle
Mar 20, 2015 D-Andernach – JUZ
Mar 21, 2015 D-Memmingen – Kaminwerk
Mar 22, 2015 D-Ludwigsburg – Rockfabrik
Mar 25, 2015 D-Nürnberg – Hirsch
Mar 26, 2015 D-Berlin – C Club
Mar 27, 2015 D-Leipzig – Hellraiser
Mar 28, 2015 D-Regensburg – Airport
Mar 31, 2015 GB-London – The Garage
Apr 03, 2015 GB-Nuneaton – Queens Hall
Apr 09, 2015 E-Madrid – Sala Caracol
Apr 10, 2015 E-Valladolid – Polideportivo
Apr 11, 2015 E-Zaragoza – CC Delicias
Apr 12, 2015 E-Barcelona – Sala Salamandra
Apr 14, 2015 E-Ibiza Wacken Cruise – tba
Apr 16, 2015 E-Valencia – Sala Rock City
Apr 23, 2015 S-Stockholm – Klubben
Apr 24, 2015 S-Borlänge – Liljan
Apr 25, 2015 S-Gothenborg – Trädgårn
Apr 26, 2015 S-Malmö – KB
Apr 30, 2015 N-Oslo – Vulkan Arena
May 01, 2015 N-Haugesund – Karmoygeddon Festival
May 02, 2015 N-Trondheim – Byscenen
May 05, 2015 Forum Palace Vilnius, Lithuania
May 07, 2015 Nosturi Helsinki, Finland
May 08, 2015 Leipeatehdas Vaasa, Finland
May 09, 2015 Finlandia Klubi Lahti, Finland
May 30, 2015 Beast Of Rock 2015 Brunflo, Sweden
Jul 30, 2015 Wacken Open Air Wacken, Germany

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