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U.D.O. with Musikkorps der Bundeswehr – Wacken Open Air 2015 04.jpg
U.D.O. live in 2015
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
Sven Dirkschneider
Past members Peter 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

U.D.O. is a German heavy metal band founded by lead vocalist 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 two albums Animal House in 1987 and Mean Machine in 1989, 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 U.D.O., 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 to 1989, they toured with the following line-up: Dirkschneider (lead vocals), Mathias Dieth (guitars), Andy Susemihl (guitars), Dieter Rubach (bass) and Thomas Franke (drums). They toured with Guns N' Roses, Lita Ford and Zodiac Mindwarp.

By Mean Machine, the band had a different line-up; only Dirkschneider, Dieth, and Susemihl remained. New additions were Darxon and Running Wild member Thomas "Bodo" Smuszynski (bass) and Stefan Schwarzmann (drums).

U.D.O. achieved success with the 1990 album Faceless World, produced by ex-Accept drummer Stefan Kaufmann. U.D.O.'s follow-up album was Timebomb in 1991 which was their last for seven years.


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

From 1992 to 1996, Accept reformed their classic line up and Dirkschneider put U.D.O. on hiatus to record three albums with his old bandmates. After another break-up, Dirkschneider returned to U.D.O. with Stefan Kaufmann (guitar), former Bullet members Jürgen Graf (guitars) and 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, performing the track "Metal Gods".

1997 saw the release of Solid, the first full-length U.D.O. album to feature the guitar work of Stefan Kaufmann. 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 in 1998 and featured a similar songwriting approach as the previous year's effort. It 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".

In 1999, the band released the critically acclaimed Holy, which 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. Lineup changes occurred during the second part of the tour with Igor Gianola of Gotthard, replaced Jürgen Graf. When the No Limits tour concluded, Stefan Schwarzmann quit the band. On the 2000 leg of the Holy tour, Lorenzo Milani was the new drummer. 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 Dirkschneider and Warlock vocalist Doro Pesch.[1][2]

From August to December 2003, the band recorded their ninth studio album Thunderball, which was released on 29 March 2004. The next album, Mission No. X, was originally due for release on 4 October 2005, but was pushed ahead by one week and was released on 30 September 2005. An EP titled 24/7 was released on 27 June 2005, entering the German singles charts at No. 82.[3][4][5]

On 18 May 2007, the eleventh album Mastercutor was released. It entered the German charts at No. 39.[6][7][8]

U.D.O.'s twelfth studio album, Dominator, was released on 21 August 2009.[9] U.D.O.'s next studio album, Rev-Raptor was released on 20 May 2011.[10]

In September 2012, Stefan Kaufmann left the band for health reasons.[11] He continues to work in the surroundings of the band and produces for other bands in his own ROXX studio. In early January 2013, Russian guitarist Andrey Smirnov was recruited as the new member.[12] 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.[13] The next album, Steelhammer, was released on 20 May.[14]

In late December 2014, Francesco Jovino left the band for personal reasons, joining Primal Fear in 2015.[15][16] He was replaced by Udo Dirkschneider's son, Sven.[17] U.D.O. released the fifteenth studio album Decadent on 23 January 2015.[18]

In February 2017, Kasperi Heikkinen announced his departure citing personal reasons. According to the band, no bad blood or drama were involved between the two.[19] In March 2017, guitarist Bill Hudson was announced as the new member.[20] On 24 April 2018, Hudson parted ways with the band "due to a difference in their individual visions for the future", according to Dirkschneider, and added that there was no "negative feelings on either side."[21][22]

In June 2018, Stefan Kaufmann rejoined the band, but serving only as a temporary replacement for the festival appearances until a new guitarist would be announced.[23] The sixteenth album Steelfactory was announced shortly after, which will be released on 31 August 2018. The first single titled "Rising High", was made available for streaming.[24]

Dirkschneider (2015-2018)[edit]

In 2015, Udo Dirkschneider announced his plans to embark on a special tour in 2016 which he said was his "farewell to Accept", playing Accept songs one last time before he closes the chapter for good.[25][26] In June 2016, a North American tour was announced for early 2017.[27] A 2-CD live album titled Live - Back to the Roots was released on 28 October 2016.[28]

In a message post on Facebook, Dirkschneider confirmed that he would continue to perform Accept songs for at least another year.[29] After a positive reception during their North American tour in early 2017, Dirkschneider announced a second run of shows in early 2018.[30] The previously released Live - Back to the Roots live album was re-released on 4 August 2017 as Live - Back to the Roots - Accepted!.[31]

During a November 2017 interview with Czech magazine Spark, Dirkschneider said that his side project would no longer continue in 2018 as he did not want to cause confusion between U.D.O. and Dirkschneider.[32]


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)
  • Live - Back to the Roots - Accepted! (2017) (as Dirkschneider)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Best Of (1999)
  • Metallized - 20 Years of Metal (2007)
  • Best Of & Live (2009)
  • Celebrator (2012)[33]


  • 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)
  • Rising High (2018)
  • One Heart One Soul (2018)

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 in 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)
  • One Heart One Soul (2018)


  • Nailed to Metal - The Complete History (2003)
  • Thundervision (2004)
  • Mastercutor Alive (2008)
  • Live in Sofia (2012)
  • Steelhammer - Live from Moscow (2014)
  • Navy Metal Night (2015)

Band members[edit]

Current members[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "U.D.O. Confirm Track Listing For "Man And Machine"!". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 21 December 2001. 
  2. ^ "Dirkschneider And Pesch Team Up On U.D.O. CD". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 10 January 2002. 
  3. ^ "U.D.O.: New Album Details Revealed, Audio Samples Available". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 7 June 2005. 
  4. ^ "U.D.O.: 'Mission No. X' Cover Artwork Posted Online". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 20 July 2005. 
  5. ^ "U.D.O.: 'Mission No. X' To Arrive One Week Earlier". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 24 September 2005. 
  6. ^ "U.D.O.: 'Mastercutor' Bonus Tracks Detailed; 'The Wrong Side Of Midnight' Video Available". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 9 May 2007. 
  7. ^ "U.D.O.: 'Mastercutor' Enters German Chart At No. 39". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 30 May 2007. 
  8. ^ "UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER Discusses New U.D.O. Album 'Mastercutor'". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 16 June 2007. 
  9. ^ "U.D.O.: 'Dominator' Artwork Revealed". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 6 July 2009. 
  10. ^ "U.D.O.: Complete 'Rev-Raptor' Album Details Revealed". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  11. ^ "GUITARIST STEFAN KAUFMANN LEAVES U.D.O.; BAND SEEK REPLACEMENT". Bravewords.com. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  12. ^ "U.D.O. Announces New Guitarist". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  13. ^ "Guitarist Igor Gianola Leaves U.D.O., Replacement Announced". metalunderground.com. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  14. ^ "U.D.O.: 'Steelhammer' Track Listing Revealed". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  15. ^ "DRUMMER FRANCESCO JOVINO LEAVES U.D.O.; BAND SEEK REPLACEMENT". Bravewords.com. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  16. ^ "Primal Fear - Drummer Aquiles Out, Francesco Jovino In". metalstorm.net. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  17. ^ "UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER's Son SVEN Joins U.D.O. As Band's Drummer". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  18. ^ "U.D.O.: 'Decadent' Track Listing Revealed". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  19. ^ "Guitarist KASPERI HEIKKINEN Quits U.D.O. And DIRKSCHNEIDER". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  20. ^ "U.D.O. And DIRKSCHNEIDER Joined By Guitarist BILL HUDSON". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 31 March 2017. 
  21. ^ "Guitarist BILL HUDSON Exits U.D.O. And DIRKSCHNEIDER After Only A Year". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 24 April 2018. 
  22. ^ "Guitarist BILL HUDSON Sets Record Straight Regarding His Exit From DIRKSCHNEIDER". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 14 August 2018. 
  23. ^ "U.D.O. Rejoined By Guitarist STEFAN KAUFMANN For Summer Festival Appearances". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 2 June 2018. 
  24. ^ "U.D.O. To Release 'Steelfactory' Album In August; First Single 'Rising High' Now Available". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 15 June 2018. 
  25. ^ "UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER To Embark On Special ACCEPT 'Farewell' Tour In 2016". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  26. ^ "UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER Explains Decision To 'Close The ACCEPT Chapter'". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 8 October 2015. 
  27. ^ "UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER Announces North American 'Back To The Roots - Farewell To ACCEPT' Tour". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  28. ^ "DIRKSCHNEIDER To Release 'Live - Back To The Roots' Album In October". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 18 August 2016. 
  29. ^ "UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER To Continue Performing ACCEPT Classics For At Least Another Year". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 21 March 2017. 
  30. ^ "DIRKSCHNEIDER To Return To North America In Early 2018". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 9 June 2017. 
  31. ^ "DIRKSCHNEIDER To Release 'Live - Back To The Roots - Accepted!' In August". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 13 June 2017. 
  32. ^ "Former ACCEPT Frontman UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER Doesn't Want To Confuse People By Continuing Namesake 'DIRKSCHNEIDER' Band". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 18 November 2017. 
  33. ^ U.D.O. To Release Rare Tracks Album "Celebrator"

External links[edit]