Last updated

U.D.O. Rockharz 2019 20.jpg
U.D.O. performing in 2019
Background information
Origin Solingen, Germany
Genres Heavy metal
Years active
  • 1987–1992
  • 1996–present
Labels AFM, Breaker, GUN, RCA
Members Udo Dirkschneider
Andrey Smirnov
Dee Dammers
Sven Dirkschneider
Past membersPeter Szigeti
Frank Rittel
Mathias Dieth
Thomas Franke
Wolla Böhm
Dieter Rubach
Andy Susemihl
Thomas Smuszynski
Stefan Schwarzmann
Frank Fricke
Jurgen Graf
Lorenzo Milani
Stefan Kaufmann
Igor Gianola
Francesco Jovino
Kasperi Heikkinen
Bill Hudson
Fitty Wienhold
Tilen Hudrap
Website www.udo-online.de

U.D.O. is a German heavy metal band founded by lead vocalist Udo Dirkschneider in 1987.



Following Udo Dirkschneider's departure from Accept in 1987, he formed his own band called U.D.O. He recruited guitarists Mathias Dieth and Peter Szigeti, bassist Frank Rittel and drummer Thomas Franke. They released their debut album titled Animal House on 3 November 1987, which was entirely written by Accept. They would tour with the likes of Guns N' Roses, Lita Ford and Zodiac Mindwarp. Rubach, Rittel and Franke departed the band, and guitarist Andy Susemihl, bassist Thomas Smuzyszki and drummer Stefan Schwarzmann joined. The follow-up album Mean Machine was released on 10 January 1989.

Susemihl left the band, with U.D.O. now as a four-piece. The band shifted to a lighter approach with the third album Faceless World , which was released on 25 February 1990, achieving great success; this being their best selling album so far. It was produced by former Accept drummer Stefan Kaufmann. The fourth album Timebomb was released on 3 April 1991. It was a more heavier album than their previous releases. In 1992, Dirkschneider put U.D.O. on hiatus to reunite with Accept.

U.D.O. performing in 2004 UDO Band live.jpg
U.D.O. performing in 2004

In 1996, Dirkschneider reactivated U.D.O. with a brand new line-up; Stefan Kaufmann, now undertaking guitar duties, with guitarist Jürgen Graf and bassist Fitty Wienhold from Bullet, and Stefan Schwarzmann returning to the band. They took part in the 1997 compilation album A Tribute to Judas Priest: Legends of Metal , in which they recorded the song "Metal Gods".

On 24 March 1997, U.D.O. released the fifth album Solid . It was featured on the Rock Hard magazine reader charts for more than a year after its release. The album was followed up with No Limits on 20 April 1998, featuring a similar songwriting approach from Solid. The album features a cover of the Austrian pop band Supermax's hit single "Love Machine". After the conclusion of the band's tour, Stefan Schwarzmann quit the band. New drummer Lorenzo Milani replaced him.

The seventh album Holy was released on 18 October 1999, which received critical acclaim. It was a return to the guitar-driven sound similar to the Balls to the Wall -era Accept. A world tour followed with dates in the United States and several other major countries. The band known as Vanize, fronted by Udo Dirkschneider's brother Peter, supported U.D.O. during the tour. Line-up changes occurred during the second part of the tour with Gotthard guitarist Igor Gianola replacing Jürgen Graf. The tour spawned the first live album Live from Russia , which was released on 15 October 2001, a 2-CD release featuring many of the classic Accept songs that have since become staples of U.D.O.'s set.

On 24 July 2002, the eighth album Man and Machine was released, receiving a somewhat lukewarm reception. Despite standout songs such as the title track and "Private Eye", the album was ultimately less successful than Holy. It is notable for the song "Dancing with an Angel", featuring a duet performance of Dirkschneider and vocalist Doro Pesch. [1] [2]

U.D.O. released their ninth studio album Thunderball on 29 March 2004. The follow-up album Mission No. X was originally due for release on 4 October 2005, but was pushed forward by one week and was released on 30 September 2005 instead. It was the first album to feature Edge of Forever drummer Francesco Jovino. [3] [4] [5]

On 18 May 2007, the eleventh album Mastercutor was released. [6] [7] In August 2007, bassist Fitty Weinhold was unable to perform with the band due to "private reasons". He would be temporarily replaced with former Majesty bassist Marcus Bielenberg for touring purposes. [8]

U.D.O.'s twelfth studio album Dominator was released on 21 August 2009. [9] The next studio album Rev-Raptor was originally due for release on 14 January 2011, but was delayed until 18 March 2011 due to the recurrence of Stefan Kaufmann's back problems. [10] [11] It was delayed again, but was officially released on 20 May 2011. [12]

In September 2012, Kaufmann announced his departure for health reasons. He would continue to work in the surroundings of the band and produce for other bands in his own personal studio. [13] On 15 January 2013, Russian guitarist Andrey Smirnov was recruited as the new member. [14] A week later, Igor Gianola left the band "due to conflicts between band appointments and his private life and business." Following his departure, former Amberian Dawn guitarist Kasperi Heikkinen joined the band. [15] The fourteenth album Steelhammer was released on 20 May 2013. [16]

In December 2014, drummer Francesco Jovino left the band for personal reasons, joining Primal Fear in 2015. [17] [18] He was replaced by Udo Dirkschneider's son Sven in February 2015. [19] U.D.O. released the fifteenth studio album Decadent on 23 January 2015. [20]

U.D.O. at Wacken Open Air 2015 U.D.O. with Musikkorps der Bundeswehr - Wacken Open Air 2015 04.jpg
U.D.O. at Wacken Open Air 2015

In February 2017, Heikkinen announced his departure citing personal reasons. According to the band, no bad blood or drama were involved between the two. [21] In March 2017, guitarist Bill Hudson was announced as the new member. [22] On 24 April 2018, Hudson parted ways with the band "due to a difference in their individual visions for the future", according to Dirkschneider, adding that there was no "negative feelings on either side." [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] In June 2018, Stefan Kaufmann temporarily rejoined the band only for the summer festival appearances until a new guitarist was found. [28] The sixteenth album Steelfactory was released on 31 August 2018, with the first single "Rising High" being made available for streaming. [29] On 19 September 2018, bassist Fitty Wienhold announced his departure from U.D.O., but stated that he would remain with the band if needed, " as a friend, as an advisor...whatever." [30] The band soon recruited German guitarist Dee Dammers and Slovenian bassist Tilen Hudrap as their new members. [31]

During U.D.O.'s touring in Europe in early 2019, Dirkschneider performed as a handicap after experiencing left knee pain. He vowed to continue without doctors' advice and without causing disappointment to the fans. [32] The band was originally scheduled to perform at the Wacken Open Air festival in 2020 by performing Accept's 1985 album Metal Heart in its entirety to celebrate its 35th anniversary, with the addition of Das Musikkorps der Bundeswehr, [33] but the festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [34] In 2020, U.D.O. collaborated with Das Musikkorps der Bundeswehr to record an album titled We Are One, which was released on 17 July 2020. It reached number 8 in the official German album charts, the second highest position for any U.D.O album in 34 years, right after Steelfactory, which peaked at number 7. [35]

A live album titled Live In Bulgaria 2020 – Pandemic Survival Show was released on 19 March 2021. It was recorded live on 18 September 2020 in front of 2500 fans in Plovdiv. [36] The seventeenth studio album Game Over was released on 22 October 2021. [37]


U.D.O. performed under the name Dirkschneider for an occasion in which Udo Dirkschneider described as his "farewell to Accept", stating that he would no longer perform Accept songs again in the band's live shows. [38] [39] In early 2017, they performed in North America. [40] A 2-CD live album titled Live: Back to the Roots was released on 28 October 2016. [41] An updated version titled Live: Back to the Roots – Accepted! was released on 4 August 2017, featuring a DVD of their performance from Brno, Czech Republic. [42]

The band continued to perform Accept songs for at least another year, due to the request from fans. [43] They returned to North America in early 2018 after a positive reception from their first visit the previous year. [44] In 2018, Udo Dirkschneider put his side project to a close as he did not want to cause confusion between his main band and his side project. [45]


Band members

Current members

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Accept (band)</span> German heavy metal band

Accept are a German heavy metal band from the town of Solingen, formed in 1976 by guitarist Wolf Hoffmann and former members Udo Dirkschneider (vocals) and Peter Baltes (bass). Their beginnings can be traced back to the late 1960s, when the band got its start under the name Band X. Accept's lineup has changed over the years, which has included different singers, guitarists, bassists and drummers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Udo Dirkschneider</span> German heavy metal singer

Udo Dirkschneider is a German singer and songwriter who rose to fame with German heavy metal band Accept. After leaving the band in 1987, he formed U.D.O., with which he has also enjoyed commercial success.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stefan Kaufmann (musician)</span> German drummer and guitarist

Stefan Kaufmann is a German drummer and guitarist, best known as a member of the heavy metal bands Accept and U.D.O.

<i>Solid</i> (U.D.O. album) 1997 studio album by U.D.O.

Solid is the fifth studio album by German heavy metal band U.D.O. It is the first in six years, when frontman Udo Dirkschneider put the band on hiatus and reunited with Accept. Accept's drummer Stefan Kaufmann joined U.D.O. as a guitar player on this album. Guitarists Fitty Weinhold and Jürgen Graf from Bullet were hired as new members.

<i>No Limits</i> (U.D.O. album) 1998 studio album by U.D.O.

No Limits is the sixth studio album by German heavy metal band U.D.O. It was recorded and mixed by Stefan Kaufmann at Roxx Studio in Pulheim. No Limits is the last album to feature guitarist Jürgen Graf.

<i>Holy</i> (U.D.O. album) 1999 studio album by U.D.O.

Holy is the seventh studio album by German heavy metal band U.D.O. It was recorded and mixed by Stefan Kaufmann at Roxx Studio in Pulheim and is the band's first album with guitarist Igor Gianola, who had played with Ronni Le Tekrø in Wild Willy's Gang. The band recruited drummer Lorenzo Milani after the release of the album; in the liner notes "guess who" replaces the name of the drummer.

<i>Thunderball</i> (U.D.O. album) 2004 studio album by U.D.O.

Thunderball is the ninth studio album by German heavy metal band U.D.O. After their previous studio album, U.D.O. had released the DVD Nailed to Metal and an accompanying live CD titled Nailed to Metal: The Missing Tracks in 2003.

<i>Mission No. X</i> 2005 studio album by U.D.O.

Mission No. X is the tenth studio album by German heavy metal band U.D.O., released on 30 September 2005 via AFM Records. The original release date was announced for 4 October, but was pushed forward by one week.

<i>Mastercutor</i> 2007 studio album by U.D.O.

Mastercutor is the eleventh album by German heavy metal band U.D.O., released on 18 May 2007.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Accept discography</span>

The discography of Accept, a German heavy metal band, consists of 16 studio albums, five live albums, nine compilations, 25 singles, four video albums and 11 music videos. Formed in Solingen in 1976, Accept originally consisted of lead vocalist Udo Dirkschneider, lead guitarist Wolf Hoffmann, rhythm guitarist Gerard Wahl, bassist Peter Baltes and drummer Frank Friedrich. The band signed to Brain Records and released their self-titled debut album in 1979, which failed to chart. After Friedrich was replaced by Stefan Kaufmann, I'm a Rebel, Breaker and Restless and Wild followed over the next three years, the last of which gave Accept their debut on the UK Albums Chart when it reached number 98.

"I'm a Rebel" is a hard rock song written by Scottish musician Alex Young, that has been recorded and released by Accept and U.D.O.

<i>Dominator</i> (U.D.O. album) 2009 studio album by U.D.O.

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<i>Rev-Raptor</i> 2011 studio album by U.D.O.

Rev-Raptor is the 13th studio album by German heavy metal band U.D.O., released on 20 May 2011 via AFM Records. It is the final album to feature Stefan Kaufmann and Igor Gianola.

<i>Steelhammer</i> 2013 studio album by U.D.O.

Steelhammer is the 14th studio album by German heavy metal band U.D.O., released on 24 May 2013 via AFM Records. It is the first album with guitarist Andrey Smirnov. Second guitarist Kasperi Heikkinen joined the band after all recordings were completed. It is also the first album without Stefan Kaufmann as guitarist since the 1997 album Solid, as well as the first without guitarist Igor Gianola since the 1999 album Holy. Steelhammer charted at #21 in Germany, #23 in Sweden, #38 in Finland and #67 in Norway during its first week. Music videos were made for "Metal Machine" and "Heavy Rain".

<i>Decadent</i> (U.D.O. album) 2015 studio album by U.D.O.

Decadent is the 15th studio album by German heavy metal band U.D.O. It was released on 23 January 2015 in Europe and 3 February 2015 in the United States through AFM Records. On 12 December 2014, "Decadent" was released as the first single. It is the last album to feature drummer Francesco Jovino as well as guitarist Kasperi Heikkinen.

<i>Man and Machine</i> (album) 2002 studio album by U.D.O.

Man and Machine is the eighth studio album by German heavy metal band U.D.O., released on 24 July 2002. A music video was made for "Dancing with an Angel" featuring a duet performance with Udo Dirkschneider and Warlock vocalist Doro Pesch.

<i>Steelfactory</i> 2018 studio album by U.D.O.

Steelfactory is the sixteenth studio album by U.D.O., released on 31 August 2018 by AFM Records. It is the first album to feature Udo Dirkschneider's son Sven as the new drummer. The first single "Rising High" was made available for streaming on 15 June 2018. A music video was made for "One Heart One Soul". A lyric video was made for "Make the Move". Steelfactory is the final album to feature bassist Fitty Wienhold when he announced his departure in September 2018.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">U.D.O. discography</span>

The discography of U.D.O., a German heavy metal band, consists of 17 studio albums, six live albums, three compilations, 17 singles, six video albums and 19 music videos. Formed in 1987 by eponymous vocalist Udo Dirkschneider following his departure from Accept, the group originally included guitarists Mathias Dieth and Peter Szigeti, bassist Frank Rittel and drummer Thomas Franke. Shortly after the release and promotion of their debut album Animal House, Dirkschneider dismissed all band members except Dieth, and rebuilt the group with guitarist Andy Susemihl, bassist Thomas Smuszynski, and future Accept drummer Stefan Schwarzmann. Mean Machine, released in 1989, reached number 31 on the German Albums Chart. Susemihl was subsequently replaced by Wolla Böhm.


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