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UDO Band live.jpg
U.D.O. live in 2004
Background information
Origin Solingen, Germany
Genres Heavy metal
Years active
  • 1987–1992
  • 1996–present
Labels AFM, Breaker, GUN, RCA
Associated acts Accept, Gotthard, Bullet, Edge of Forever
Website www.udo-online.de
Members Udo Dirkschneider
Andrey Smirnov
Fitty Wienhold
Kasperi Heikkinen
Sven Dirkschneider
Past members Stefan Kaufmann
Peter Szigeti
Frank Rittel
Mathias Dieth
Thomas Franke
Wolla Böhm
Dieter Rubach
Andy Susemihl
Thomas Smuszynski
Stefan Schwarzmann
Frank Fricke
Jurgen Graf
Lorenzo Milani
Igor Gianola
Francesco Jovino

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



After Udo Dirkschneider left Accept in 1987, a large fan community followed him to U.D.O.

Starting with the first albums Animal House in 1987 and Mean Machine in 1988 U.D.O. proved to be pure heavy metal without any Trend-Sound influences. Both albums continued where Accept had left off in 1986 with Russian Roulette. Apart from Udo, Animal House was recorded by Peter Szigeti (guitars), Frank Rittel from Warlock on (bass), Mathias Dieth from Sinner and Gravestone (guitars) and Thomas Franke (drums).

From 1987 - 1989 they toured with the following line-up: Udo Dirkschneider (vocals), Mathias Dieth (guitar), Andy Susemihl (guitar), Dieter Rubach (bass) and Thomas Franke (drums). They toured with Guns N' Roses, Lita Ford and Zodiac Mindwarp.

By Mean Machine (released in 1988) the band had a different line-up: only Udo, Mathias Dieth and Andy Susemihl remained. New additions were Thomas Smuszynski (bass) and Stefan Schwarzmann (drums).

U.D.O. achieved success with the album Faceless World, produced by ex-Accept drummer Stefan Kaufmann. U.D.O.'s follow-up album was Timebomb, and it was their last for five years.


U.D.O. performing live at Norway Rock Festival in 2009

From 1992-1996 Accept reformed their classic line up, and Dirkschneider put U.D.O. on hiatus to record three albums with his old Accept colleagues. After another break up, Dirkschneider returned to U.D.O., with Stefan Kaufmann (guitar), Jürgen Graf (guitars), Fitty Wienhold (bass) and Stefan Schwarzmann (drums). Udo Dirkschneider and Stefan Kaufmann then recorded tracks for the Tribute to Judas Priest compilation of Judas Priest cover songs, U.D.O. performing the track "Metal Gods".

1997 saw the band return with Solid, the first full-length U.D.O. album to feature the guitar work of Stefan Kaufmann. Solid featured on the Rock Hard magazine reader charts for more than a year after release.

Solid was followed by No Limits in 1998, and featured a similar songwriting approach as the previous year's effort. The album also featured U.D.O.'s first returning lineup since the band's inception ten years prior. The album also featured a cover of the Austrian pop band Supermax's hit single "Love Machine".

With the release of the critically acclaimed Holy a return to the guitar-driven sound similar to Balls to the Wall-era Accept. A world tour followed with dates in the United States and several other major countries. Lineup changes occurred during the second part of the 1999 tour with Igor Gianola, ex of Gotthard, replacing Jürgen Graf. When the No Limits tour concluded, Schwarzmann quit the band, and on the Holy tour (2000) Lorenzo Milani took his place behind the drum kit. The tour also spawned U.D.O.'s first live album, Live from Russia a two-disc affair which featured many of the classic Accept tunes (with the exception of "Balls to the Wall") that have since become staples of U.D.O.'s set.

2002's Man and Machine received a somewhat lukewarm response. Despite standout songs like the title track and "Private Eye", the album was ultimately less successful than its predecessor. It is notable for spawning a promo video of "Dancing With An Angel", featuring a duet between Udo and Doro Pesch (of Warlock).

The next two studio releases – 2004's Thunderball and 2005's Mission No. X – were slightly livelier affairs, with the band's touring of Germany, South America, and Eastern Europe. Sonically, the former shared much in common with Timebomb, while the latter followed No Limits.

It was with 2007's Mastercutor, that U.D.O. returned to form. The album was the most financially successful in years and received universally high marks from musical critics and metal fans alike. Mastercutor Alive, was filmed recorded and released on CD and DVD in 2008 during the band's tour in support of the album. Udo's appearance on Finnish metal band Lordi's 2006 album, The Arockalypse, exposed U.D.O. to a wider audience..

U.D.O.'s twelfth studio album, Dominator, was released on 21 August 2009. U.D.O.'s next studio album, Rev-Raptor was released on 20 May 2011. A live DVD offering, Live in Sofia, was released in 2012 which was filmed in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2011 during the band's tour..

In September 2012, Stefan Kaufmann, longtime guitar player in U.D.O., left the band for health reasons. He continues to work in the surroundings of the band and produces for other bands in his own ROXX studio. In early 2013, guitarist Igor Gianola left the band "due to conflicts between band appointments and his private life and business." They were both replaced by Andrey Smirnov and Kasperi Heikkinen.

The next album, Steelhammer, was released on 20 May of that year. A live DVD came about in 2014 from a show in Moscow, Russia in 2013 featuring the new guitar players.

A new live DVD titled Navy Metal Night, was released in 2015. It was filmed in 2014 in front of a sold out audience accompanied by German navy orchestra Marinemusikkorps Nordsee. The band performed with another orchestra group, this time with the German Federal Armed Forces Orchestra at the 2015 edition of Wacken Open Air.

In late 2014, drummer Francesco Jovino left the band for personal reasons. He went on to join fellow German power metal band Primal Fear (band). His replacement was Udo Dirkschneider's son, Sven.

U.D.O. saw the release of the fifteenth studio album, Decadent, which was released on 23 January 2015.

In October 2016, the band released an Accept only live album titled Live - Back to the Roots, who went under the name Dirkschneider, which was Udo Dirskchneider's final send-off of ever performing any Accept song from his solo band. They will continue to tour as Dirkschneider into 2017.


Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]

  • Live from Russia (2001)
  • Nailed to Metal – The Missing Tracks (2003)
  • Mastercutor Alive (2008)
  • Live in Sofia (2011)
  • Steelhammer - Live from Moscow (2014)
  • Live - Back to the Roots (2016) (as Dirkschneider)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Best Of (1999)
  • Metallized - 20 Years of Metal (2007)
  • Celebrator - Rare Tracks (2012)[2]


  • They Want War (1988)
  • Heart of Gold (1990)
  • Faceless World (1990)
  • Two Faced Woman (1997)
  • Independence Day (1997)
  • Lovemachine (1998)
  • Dancing with an Angel (2002)
  • 24/7 EP (2005)
  • The Wrong Side of Midnight EP (2007)
  • Infected EP (2009)
  • Leatherhead EP (2011)
  • Steelhammer (2013)
  • Decadent (2014)

Music Videos[edit]

  • They Want War (1988)
  • Break the Rules (1989)
  • Heart of Gold (1990)
  • Independence Day (1997)
  • Dancing with an Angel (with Doro Pesch) (2002)
  • Thunderball (2004)
  • Blind Eyes (2004)
  • The Arbiter (2004)
  • Trainride to Russia (2004)
  • Mean Streets (2005)
  • The Wrong Side of Midnight (2007)
  • Black and White (2009)
  • Leatherhead (2011)
  • I Give As Good As I Get (2011)
  • Metal Machine (2013)
  • Heavy Rain (2013)
  • Decadent (2014)


  • Nailed to Metal - The Complete History (2003)
  • Thundervision (2004)
  • Mastercutor Alive (2008)
  • Live in Sofia (2012)
  • Live from Moscow (2014)
  • Navy metal night (To be released in July 31 2015 in Europe and August 18 2015 in the U.S)[3]

Band members[edit]

Current members[edit]



  • Udo Dirkschneider was part of the Christmas Metal Symphony Tour by the Magnum Opus Rockestra in December 2013.
  • In 2012, late 1980s members Dieter Rubach and Andy Susemihl both reunited for the band of Julian Thome.
  • In 1991, Andy Susemihl and Mathias Dieth were both featured on the album Human Greed by the studio project APE.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]