Fits “like ass on bucket”

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Heavy metal with timpani and trumpets: Udo Dirkschneider’s band UDO and the music corps of the Bundeswehr release a joint album with “We Are One”.

It was an unusual sight when a complete orchestra in the Bundeswehr uniform sat on the huge festival stage in Wacken in 2015. The music corps performed together with the heavy metal band UDO, and a series of rock-hard rock songs shone in a new light thanks to the original arrangements. The crowd and the participants liked the gig, as well as a later appearance at the “Military Metal Night” 2018. So it only makes sense that “We Are One” (available from June 17th) is the first album to be developed together Compositions follows. At the meeting in Berlin, Udo Dirkschneider (front man of UDO) and Christoph Scheibling (conductor of the Bundeswehr Music Corps) talk about a collaboration of a different kind.

The two ensemble bosses together at the press conference – with a bit of bad luck that would not have been possible. Before the corona lockdown, Udo Dirkschneider traveled almost back to Germany from his adopted home of Ibiza. Lieutenant Colonel Christoph Scheibling and the music corps, on the other hand, were on a concert tour when public life was shut down. “We had given a concert the night before in the Liederhalle in Stuttgart and were on our way to Karlsruhe when it was said over night:” That was it. no more events, “recalls the conductor. But as in many cases, the difficult situation also made time for other things. Scheibling explains that the album could be finalized in peace. Udo Dirkschneider agrees and at the same time points out:” The This has of course had a major impact on our business. The whole canceled tours are really hard for some. “

The planned appearance of UDO and the music corps at this year’s Wacken Festival was also canceled. The room now has a catch-up appointment at the same location next year. The album “We Are One” is released on schedule. A little irony of fate resonates when it is said that the project is about the “critical inventory of a world”, “in which we all leave our mark and in which we all have to take responsibility in our own way”. Dirkschneider: “When we started writing, Corona was not up to date at all. And suddenly it fits like a pail on a bucket. Also in relation to other topics that we deal with. Climate change, silent revolution, racism. It’s all up to date. “

Dirkschneider becomes a rapper

The music is just as multifaceted as the topics addressed. “The multicolor makes up the album,” says Scheibling, who speaks with visible passion about the work he has accomplished. “In terms of quantity, we could have made a double CD. That was about 30 songs,” he says of the highly productive creative process. Due to the large number of participants, this turned out to be a real challenge. With Stefan Kaufmann and Peter Baltes, in addition to the orchestra, two former Accept musicians were also involved, with whom Udo Dirkschneider wrote German rock history in the 80s. While Kaufmann had already participated in the “Military Metal Night”, the situation was different with bassist Baltes. It was more of a coincidence, admits Dirkschneider: “We hadn’t spoken to each other for 15 years since the Accept Festival reunion. Not in an evil sense, but because it didn’t happen.”

Composers and arrangers were also added by UDO and the orchestra. It was a kind of mutual assembly, said Lieutenant Colonel Scheibling. All in all, it took a little under a year for everything to be ready, and the sound of the songs will surprise many fans: “It is not a picture in a new context, like existing songs. It is something completely new.” Dirkschneider adds: “We were able to move freely on our side and did not have to pay attention to certain things, as is naturally the case with UDO due to expectations.”

The sheet on the album ranges from a speed metal piece like “We Strike Back” (Dirkschneider: “To be honest, I was a little surprised that the song was taken with double bass and so”) about the duet refined by a saxophone “Neon Diamond” and hymnic rock songs such as the title track or “Rebel Town” to instrumental pieces that were created in an orchestral environment. There is also a debut: In “Here We Go Again” Dirkschneider sings for the first time with his son Sven, who normally sits on drums at UDO. “That wasn’t planned either,” says the 68-year-old. “I was still in Ibiza and a demo song was needed. I couldn’t do it there.” So the youngsters were allowed to go. With success. And not only that: Dirkschneider raps in the song too. Has he done this before? “No,” replies the rock veteran as if shot out of the gun. “It just happened. I recorded it and sent it to the studio. The question came back: ‘Are you really serious?’ And I replied: ‘Yes, of course!’

“Many people are a bit critical of the military”

So it is now: the first joint album of a heavy metal band with the Bundeswehr symphonic wind orchestra. And if any rock musician is the right one for this combination, then Dirkscnheider. Some people may remember that Accept and Udo Dirkschneider once stepped on the stage wearing camouflage clothing. “Other bands ran around in spandex panties, we in military garb. That came from the ‘Rambo’ film. And we had carnival medals on our uniforms, nobody understood that either. But: A German band in the military in the 80s, that was already hot. ” Well, it definitely worked, the trademark still stands today: “I can’t get out of my camouflage suit at all,” laughs Dirkschneider. “I tried it once, but it keeps popping up. It’s just an image that people connect me to.”

But would a project like “We Are One” in the 80s also have been possible? Dirkschneider and Scheibling are skeptical: “I think the protest attitude was too high for that,” Scheibling explains. “Within the Bundeswehr, efforts were made to maintain or improve the image on other channels. It was international, the peace movement was at its peak. After the turnaround and the east-west relaxation, that changed,” he recapitulates back then. And adds that the orchestra is much better trained today: “We couldn’t have represented this competence in the 80s.”

If someone had predicted such a collaboration back then, he would have thought that he was crazy, Scheibling smiles. Then points to the Chancellery, which is opposite the restaurant where the conversation is taking place. “We often perform over there, for example.” However, one must finally clear up the clichés about military music. “We are not afraid of contact. And if one can all do it in the same way, then it is the music.” Udo Dirkschneider nods. “A lot of people are a bit critical of the military. But children, we make music. I don’t have to think about any military matters.”




© 2020 Frank Hoensch/Frank Hoensch
UDO and the Bundeswehr Music Corps

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