Days have been really warm in Sweden this August, on an unusual way. Someone could say ‘hot’, as the temperatures can be around 29-30 degrees Celsius. Swedes are not used to this extreme heat wave which has appeared due to the global warming crisis. However, there is a lot going on, hard rock music – wise. It is also a very busy period, especially for Lugnet, where the band is warming up and gearing up for the release of their new album, upcoming gigs in Stockholm and other cities and we could definitely say that “the heat is on”! We met Fredrik Jansson-Punkka(drums) in Gamla Stan, Stockholm, where we had the opportunity to catch up, remember old (or not so old?) days and speak about ‘Tales from the Great Beyond’, this exciting album, soon to be released in a record store near you.

Antonis Mantzavinos


Hej Fredrik, nice to see you again, I appreciate the time you too to be with me on this interview. How are things for you?

Hej, I am doing well, thank you! Hope the same for you, good to see you again.

 

I assume that things are quite busy and exciting on Lugnet camp nowadays. The new album is out soon, gigs have been scheduled, give us a bit of info about the current situation of the band, towards the upcoming days/weeks.

Right now we are just rehearsing, we will have a release party on August 28 for the new album, here in Stockholm, and after that we will try to play as much as possible on these hectic times and be out touring, as much as we can really. And depending on how much busy we will be touring, we will start writing the next album. We have a lot of material just there waiting, so we will do as such.

 

Speaking about the new album, we would like to know more details about the writing process. How did it work with writing the songs, the riffs, the lyrics, and the ideas overall?

On this album, we had more time to spend writing it. For the first 2 records, we wrote 8 songs and that was it, more of less. This time, we started writing actually just before the pandemic started, and when we realized we re not gonna get anywhere, we rehearsed a lot. US in the rehearsal space, both of our guitar players they brought so much material and so many ideas, contributing massively on this record, which worked out brilliant I must say. They basically wrote 90-95% of the album, the bass player wrote one track and I wrote 2, and the rest is from Micke and Matte. And you know, as I said, we already have a bunch of material just waiting, so we spent one year focusing more on the songs than we usually do. Hopefully you can hear it when you listen to the album, I mean, there is so much effort there, work, I think you can tell that it took a lot of time for us to do it. For instance, the single we released ‘Pale Design’, that was the very last song we wrote and recorded. And we wanted something different, more uptempo, more diverse.
We wanted to make an album exciting for us to hear it ourselves, but also it should be more diverse for everyone as well, with more layers and ideas, different moods, ‘shades and lighting’ as well sort of.

 

To my humble opinion, this is a brilliant record. It has all the Lugnet DNA, the band’s character, but it delivers a fresh point of view, a modern approach on all aspects: vocals, riff ideas, the production, and most of all: the actual song writing, which is progressive, for what we have heard so far from Lugnet. What is Lugnet trying to achieve on this album?

One of the goals is trying to develop, to try new things, this is very important for everyone in the band. If we did the same album for the second time in a row, that would be devastating for us, it would not make sense for us. It is not how it works. Since we have different members on the band for example, Micke has brought so much energy to the group, fresh ideas, we have also Matte in the band who is one of those guys, a musical genius who can play pretty much everything. So, to have someone like this in the band, saying ‘We need this specific instrument for this track’ and he goes ‘Oh sure, I can fix that, no problem’, this is very convenient and it has worked great so far. It makes everyone’s life easier. Now it is a solid lineup, where people want to commit their time and dedicate all their efforts in the band, and they really wanna play altogether. This is very important to get what is needed for a band, make things working and go somewhere.

Everyone’s working for the same goal. Its fun to rehearse! Its fun to rehearse with these guys! We put a lot of time and effort on this, so, you must be committed on this and it has to work. It is not a full time job but it’s almost like this!

I am not blaming anyone of course or pointing fingers, but before, we did not kick anyone out from the band. All previous 3 members left themselves, for their own reasons, but they were not as committed as needed, they did not think hat was fun, which I respect of course, and I don’t have any hard feelings, I met them after some time and it was nice to meet them actually. But being in a band is something different. You have to be able to work as a group as well. Some people actually are difficult to work with them, and I am definitely one of them for sure! I can tell you that, this is not news!

 

One of my favorite moments of the album is the instrumental ‘Svarv’, a very beautiful, mellow, and nostalgic folk instrumental song. What was the idea behind it and who actually wrote it? This is an excellent example of balancing the right way: acoustic guitar, accordion, bass, flute, and some percussion. Simply brilliant! Did you have guest musicians on this or not? I am really interested to know more about ‘Svarv’ – which I also found out that in Swedish, it means ‘torn machine’. So, tell me more about this song overall.

Matte wrote it. And he wrote it while playing everything on it, a one man show thing! HE is absolutely brilliant. I think it started like this: we have a common Dropbox, where we put all our ideas, our riffs and  everything, like a pool, where someone can send something and the rest listen to it and decide. Matte wrote that part and sent it there and we said ‘Ok, that sounds nice, let’s put it in the record’. So, this and the last song of the album as well ‘Tåsjö Kyrkmarsch’ he wrote them also. Those 2 took their place in the album immediately. And also, we consider the album from the vinyl perspective as well: the record should not be long, it should be approx.. 45 mins, tops, and the track listing should be good as well. This piece ‘Svarv’ it was fantastic to have it in the middle of everything, finishing Side A of the vinyl, letting the listener to catch their breath sort of, and then change to Side B and continue. Like you clean your pallet, before you go to the next course. Its just nice to breathe for a while and then move on. About the name, I guess you need to ask him next time you meet him! I didn’t think about the title honestly, but loved that song. Actually, I had a couple of suggestions in Latin at first, but then he took the name Svarv and I am happy as it is.

 

I believe that the whole band has excelled on this record: You with your solid and characteristic drumming, Johan has done a fantastic job in vocals, so focused and driven. Lennart, Matti and Micke doing what the know best, they all shine on this album. How is it to work with these guys, on and off the stage, the rehearsal room, etc.?

Just working with them is so fun and I really like it.

They are very easy going, fantastic musicians and everything is so easy while being and working with them.

We do not argue at all about anything. And the musicality with these guys is just amazing. You can ask pretty much about anything and they will definitely deliver it, it is great! Imagine the biggest box of colors, we can do pretty much everything! You name it. And Matte, for example, he was in a band called ‘Wizard’ in the 80s and he is also involved in his solo stuff, also played with a band called ‘Badge’ (together with Lennart).

 

Is that Lennart that you know the most time, right, and started the band? How did it start?

Yes, It’s just me and him from the start. I met him at Sweden Rock Festival in 2009, where I was playing with my older bands and we were having a beer after the gig in the bar, he came to us and we started talking.
He said to me ‘we should jam one day’, and I Said ‘Ok, sure thing’. I didn’t think about it a lot at that time, I mean, I knew who he was and that he was a great player, but, I had no idea where all this would end up with me. And then he called me 3 years later, suggesting to put up a band together. And we got together and that’s how it started..

 

What are the plans for promoting the record or touring? Any shows abroad?

Nothing scheduled abroad. But we’re playing on a ferry! We might be in Finland, but I don’t know the time, and we will be in this case on international waters!

 

Have you planned any gigs with Wooden Fields? The album was simply fantastic and I can’t wait to see you guys playing the album live!

Yeah, we play in November in Stockholm, in an old brewery close to Globen, so its going to be really cool.

 

Some more personal questions now with short answers:

  • First LP you ever bough yourself: KISS ‘Best of Solo Albums’
  • First rock/metal gig you ever attended as a fan and where: I went with my cousin, who lived up north, I think I was 12 y/o, we went to see 3 local bands who played in Kramfors. But the very first ‘REAL’ show I went to, was Yngwie Malmsteen in 1990 at Stadion in Stockholm.
  • What’s the gig that you have played yourself, and you will never forget because it was super special for you: There is a lot of them.. Ohhh… If I had to choose one, we played at Stadion in Stockholm with Witchcraft in 2008. We were touring with Motorhead, I have seen so many shows at that venue growing up, and that was very special to be able to play there with my band! That was very cool and fun. But there is a hundred of them of course!
  • If you could assemble a band of your favorite musicians, who would be your picks (guitar, bass, drummer, vocals, keyboards): Bill Ward, David Gilmour, Geezer Butler, Paul Rodgers, or Ian Gillan on his prime and Vincent Crane!

 

Last but not least, what’s your message to your fans?

Is there anyone out there?! (laughs)

If you have listened to our records, bought the albums, downloaded the music etc. I wanna say a big ‘thank you’, it really means so much to me and us. We will try to play as much as possible in the near future and meet as many people as possible! See you out there!

 

Always a pleasure to meet you in person and talk with you, thanks for your time, see you quite soon again, actually next week in Akkurat!

Absolutely, always a pleasure to meet you and speak with you. See you in a few days!

"ΔΕΙΝΟΝ ΕΣΤΙ" is an accomplished album, containing first class songs, and comes to put Social Scream in the high ranks of the Greek heavy metal scene. Myth of Rock came in contact with the band and eight below you can read what we discussed with the band ...


Some months ago you released the “ΔΕΙΝΟN ΕΣΤΙ” album. Which are your feelings?

Greetings from Sparta Greece , thank you so much for that interview …

 The main feeling , speaking personally , is mainly the pleasure that one more SOCIAL SCREAM full album spread  it’s  message to everyone listening out there .

 What would you change now in this new album, if you had the opportunity?

Nothing . Everything came on time to be recorded and to be released  once more .

Why did you name your new album “ΔΕΙΝΟΝ ΕΣΤΙ”? Where do the lyrics of the new

songs refer to?

The album is dedicated to all the fallen souls that passed away during the awakening era of 20220 – 2022 . This is the reason of the album‘s name , based on Ancient Greek Tragedy.

How would you define the music of Social Scream?

Heavy Metal , hopefully .

How much do you think that you have progressed as a musical act in this new

album?

It comes naturally and it’s always the next step of SOCIAL SCREAM ... Growing up as an individual makes that new step to be as it’s meant to be .

This new album was self-released. Why did you release it on your own and not via a

record label?

 Trying to explore new ways of distributing our music , maybe with a more face to face attitude through live shows as always , plus our web pages , inviting our fans to find our music on Bandcamp and Itunes which is under the band’s control and only .

Which are your favorite tracks off the new album? Why?

I still can not name a favorite track because the way I see it , ΔΕΙΝΟΝ ΕΣΤΙ is a complete music story written under the terrible circumstances of that situation we experienced all this time . Maybe LUNA DARK track could be a recommendation of ΔΕΙΝΟΝ ΕΣΤΙ though …

I liked very much the album cover. Can you give me all the details?

Thank you . It’ s based on Greek Ancient Tragedy , so the character you see is NEMESIS , one of the Erinyes …

Giannis Stergiou is responsible for that great art cover and album’s booklet  as well .

 The sound production of the new album was not so satisfying, in my opinion, the

sound wasn’t very clear. What do you think about that?

You are the first with this opinion , so this is certainly a very objective matter .

We really love this production .

How is a Social Scream song composed?

Until now all music and lyrics come out from the same person when the time is right , when inspiration strikes .

How did the COVID-19 pandemic affected you as band and as individuals?

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, I guess … Everyone in the band faced the whole thing differently , and still does . Time will tell as the affects , still happen …

Your future plans? Maybe some live shows?

Yes , live shows and as much connection to people as it gets .

Your message to the fans!

Stay safe , enjoy every minute in life , live , love and …. STAY METAL !!!


https://www.facebook.com/Social-Scream-107056361805637/?ref=page_internal

https://www.instagram.com/social_scream/
https://social-scream.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqCnippQ4oKHzY1rm_52ieA
https://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Social_Scream/3540384773

https://e-band.gr/

https://music.apple.com/album/1621034809?app=itunes&ls=1

 

Scorpions and Alice Cooper are giving a live show in Athens, Greece, so they gave a joint interview to the Greek media on July 4th, 2022. Myth of Rock was present at this press conference, which took place at the Public store. Below you can read what happened that day in this important meeting.

by Dimitris Zacharopoulos

As soon as the news of the Scorpions/Alice Cooper concert in Athens was shared, every fan of the Scorpions and Alice Cooper was stoked - a feeling of euphoria filled our heart, knowing that in some days, we would enjoy this mythical live event! Myth of Rock got an invitation for the joint press conference of the artists and as you can understand, we couldn't say no. I was at the Public store one hour before the conference, just to secure our seats and get familiar with the place. I could see the seats, where the artists would sit, I read the names and was excited. In a matter of minutes, the place was full with journalists and photographers from the Greek media. At 12.45 pm Alice Cooper and the members of Scorpions entered the room and we all were shouting and applauding with sheer joy. The artists took their seat and with a big smile on their face, they saluted us. Klaus Meine and Alice Cooper made an introduction, and then they were available for our questions. I must mention that the Greek Sting Fan Club gave a present to Scorpions and Maria Papalambrou gifted all the musicians with a copy of Caroline Rovithi's new book, “All you need is Greece”.


Klaus Meine: Thank you so much for coming up this morning to see us, it is great to be back in Athens, this time we have a fantastic package for you. Together with Alice Cooper we will rock this town again, we can’t wait to share our new show, our new songs from the new album “Rock Believer” with our fans in Greece. We are very excited to be back.

Alice Cooper: We are finishing our European tour right now and we are very excited especially for this show. We have played with Scorpions before, we had a great time. I remember we did a Russian tour together, that was really fun […] you know, we are both hard rock bands, it will be a loud, hard rock, guitar-driven show. People say that “rock is dead”, they shall come to this show, rock is not dead!

Klaus Meine: Exactly, that’s what we also say, that’s why our new album is called “Rock Believer”! There are so many rock believers out there! It is so great to see all these new generations joining the party, it is so much fun to play for all generations of fans, to see so many kids singing classics like “Rock You Like a Hurricane”, “Black Out”, all these songs! I am sure that Alice sees the same thing every night.

Alice Cooper: It is surprising, when we came to Europe this time, we saw so many young people in the audience, and I think it is, because they found their parents record collection and the parents played along our songs. These kids grew up with our songs and now realise whose songs are these. It is a really young audience, all through Europe. There is a new generation of rockers out there.

Maria Papalambrou: We have a limit of age (7 years old) in the concert for security reasons, and people keep asking, “We can’t I take my child with me?!”. There are so many children aged five and six years old, who want to be in your concert!

Alice Cooper: The limit of age is 7 or 17 years old?!Haha!

Maria Papalambrou: 7!!

Klaus Meine: Last time we had a tour with Alice and his band we were in Russia, and our plane dropped in the middle of the flight a thousand meters or something, and we were like, “Oh my God”!

Alice Cooper: I don’t know if you remember, guys, that at the end of your show you had cheerleaders! I remember seating there looking at these beautiful girls, haha! At the last show of the tour we were the cheerleaders, when you finished your show, haha!!

Klaus Meine: And of course, we have great memories, coming back to Athens, last time we came here we played in Kallimarmaro, it was a huge honor from the city to play in this very original, Olympic Stadium, which was used for the first Olympic Games. And it was such an amazing experience to play in this beautiful place, so fantastic … so many shows we have played here, I remember the one we played in the Lycabettus mountain, where we did the MTV Unplugged. We have many, many loyal fans in this country, for so many years, it feels like we are coming home, it is always very special for us. It means a lot to us.

Alice Cooper: It is mythological, haha!

Klaus Meine: Mikkey Dee, our drummer, has a Greek family background!

Mikkey Dee: Yes, when we come here, it is like coming home, I see my relatives, and of course, all our crazy fans!

How much future do you see for innovations in hard rock music?

Alice Cooper: I guarantee you right now that there are many teenage guys and girls in garages, learning to play Scorpions songs, and Alice Cooper songs, and Guns n’ Roses songs, and Aerosmith songs. I think when Gene (Simmons) said “rock is dead”, he meant it financially. The spirit of rock n’ roll is not dead at all. There are so many good bands, like Foo Fighters and Green Day and hundreds of others, look at all these young bands coming up, like Greta Van Fleet. They are pure rock n’ roll, hard rock bands. Rock n’ roll is never going to die, the reason why we are here is rock n’ roll. Grunge had its period, punk had its period, emo had its period, hard rock goes right through all of those. The Rolling Stones are still playing and they are still great. So, hard rock is not going to die – at all. Fifty years from now you will be asking the same question!!

How do you understand the special relationship between Scorpions and the Greek fans? How do you this relationship evolving in the future?

Klaus Meine: It is something that is really hard to describe, you know […] There is something in the music, there is a certain vibe. The Greek fans always like the hard rock side, the hard rock songs, but they also love the ballads. All the beautiful Greek ladies, who come to see us, enjoy it very much, when we play ballads, like “Still Loving You”. There is something in the music, like they say, “let the music do the talking”, there is a connection right there. Of course, in all the other countries of the world, where we play live, people might say something similar … It is something difficult to describe, I think our fans know exactly what it is and we know what it is, because it is in the feelings […] It is very, very motivating and inspiring seeing all these kids there being “rock believers”, you know … “Scream for me, screamer, I am a rock believer, just like you”!

Pawel Maciwoda: To this point, I would like to add that Scorpions music and Alice Cooper music is not super aggressive, it is about peace, love, understanding, forgiveness, and all these positive things. That’s why this music is not dead, because it carries a positive message.

Klaus Meine: Talking about positive messages, I remember that some years ago, in our Russian tour Alice Cooper invited me on the stage and I was about to kill him with the guillotine, hahaha!!!


  • Klaus Meine and Alice Cooper said that during the COVID-9 pandemic, they were given the time to write material, since they didn't tour - they even have enough material for two albums!
  • Asked about the Desmond Child show some days in the Herodium, Alice Cooper said that he owes too much to Desmond Child for his excellent songs. Klaus Meine revealed that there is going to be again a new co-operation between Scorpions and Desmond Child and not only for one or two songs.
  • The Scorpions singer said that during their on-going tour, at the Las Vegas residency, he changed the lyrics of "Wind of Change" - he put Ukraine where Russia is mentioned.
  • Alice Cooper referred also to his latest studio album, "Detroit Stories". He said that it is dedicated to Detroit and its hard rock scene, he made the whole album during the pandemic at his studio, like so many other rock musicians did. He said to the press that they couldn't go on stage and that was difficult for them. They are used to the adrenaline of the stage. If you ask Paul McCartney, if he has written his best song yet, he'll say no. If you ask them if they've written their best song, they'll say no, and that's what keeps them going.

  

   

Sands of Eternity were on a long hiatus, but now they are back with a great new sophomore album! "Beyond The Realms Of Time" is a fantastic melodic power/prog metal album, ideal for fans of Iron Maiden, Helloween, Stratovarius, etc. With the guidance of Bob Katsionis, Sands of Eternity reveal their true, hidden power and become part of the Greek power/prog metal front. Myth of Rock, shocked by Sands of Eternity and its musicianship, came in touch with band leader and guitarist Ioannis Ioakimides, and we had a nice chat! Come on, let's follow the path of Sands of Eternity! 

Dimitris Zacharopoulos


Hello, guys. I know that you were formed in 1996 and released an album in 2002. What did you do afterwards? How did the band become active again? How do you feel now that you have just released your new album?

Hello, that is a good question, since from 2002 to 2022 it is twenty years that passed by. The original band of 2002 – called Hourglass Sands Of Eterrnity - broke apart and everyone followed his own path. I, as the main composer of the band, kept on writing heavy metal songs. In this journey I met with our current singer Michael “Dice” Papadakis who showed great interest in the songs and we have tried in various times to record some of them in a home studio approach. Then in 2021 eventually ten new songs were accumulated, and it is then, when I decided that a proper album is needed. So we cooperated with Bob Katsionis who assumed the role of our producer and we changed the name of the band from Hourglass Sands Of Eternity to Sands Of Eternity to mark our evolution to a new era. The end result was “Beyond The Realms Of Time” and now that we finally have our new album in our hands we feel not only happy, but also a great sense of accomplishment.

Can you present the members of the band?

Yes, the band’s current line-up is : Ioannis Ioakimides- guitars, Michael “Dice” Papadakis- vocals, Thanassis Skoutelis- bass, Michael Skoutelis- drums, Vangelis Kalentzis- keyboards and Kostas Nanos- guitars.

When were the songs of “Beyond the Realms of Time” composed? How different are the new songs of Sands of Eternity compared to the songs of “Journey to Infinity”?

Most of the songs of “Beyond The Realms Of Time” were composed the last five years, but there are some that were composed before that, as far back as 2002. The main differences with “Journey To Infinity” is that the sound is much more fresh than back then, there is an evolution in terms of aesthetics in the new album and of course there is a change in the vocals, where I believe that Dice sounds more mature than our former singer.

The music and the lyrics of the new album belong to Ioannis Ioakimides. Describe the composing process of “Beyond the Realms of Time”. Which was the contribution of the other members?

The composing process is mainly me writing the song (music and lyrics) and presenting it to the other members. Of course, a distinct part is played by Dice, where we work together for the melodies of the voices. In this stage I want to stress that both Michalis Skoutelis as well as Kostas Nanos are new additions to the band, after the album’s release, but they have integrated very well to the spirit of the band with a great chemistry with the rest of us.

The new album was recorded at Bob Katsionis’ Sound Symmetry Studio and produced by Bob Katsionis. Describe the whole recording process of the new album. Which was Bob Katsionis’ contribution to the new album?

Bob’s contribution was essential not only, because he acted as a producer but also played the keyboards for us. So, after having recorded the rhythm and lead section for each track we collaborated with Bob very well in the writings of the vocals, where again his contribution to them was seminal, especially in the backing vocals part.

Give us all the information about the new album cover. Who did it and how is it connected with the content of your music/lyrics?

The artwork was made by Uwe Jarling under the guidance of Dice, Bob and me and we believe that the final work is excellent and lives up to the high standards we set forth for this album. It represents a passage through time, which for us is the evolution from the old to the new band. Even though not semantically directly connected to the lyrics still this message on its own highlights exactly the position of the band in the beginning of its new era.

Where do you think that Sands of Eternity differ from the other power/prog bands? Which are the characteristics that make your sound unique?

In terms of compositions, we try to have a distinctive lyrical and epical approach to our melodies, our vocal progression and our riffs, so that might be one differentiating point. The other one is the lyrics where we try to encapsulate a story or a personal though through in a way that not only serves as a natural extension of the music, but also has a meaning of its own. And finally I would highlight the singing of Dice, who literally gives meaning through his singing in every word of our lyrics. 

You releases a video for “Enlightened (Mighty Warrior)”. Why did you select the certain song for a video? How did you experience the shootings of that video?

We selected “Enlightened (Mighty Warrior)” as we think it encapsulates many themes that we can find on the album as a whole both in terms of musical arrangement as well as in its lyrics, so it is a very representative song for our style. The shooting of the video lasted half a day and was directed by Bob Katsionis with the help of Alex Charitakis. It was shot in a hill in a suburb of Athens and the process itself even though a bit tiring was quite fun and enjoyable.

How easy or difficult is it for a new Greek power/prog metal band to be successful? Why?

It is not easy to achieve success in the Greek power/prog scene for any band, if it stays within Greece’s boundaries, as the Greek market is relatively small for this genre. For a band to be successful in this it must aim for an international career with a lot of live appearances both in Greece but most importantly abroad. Also it should have a good promotional mechanism for its material in order to reach as many listeners as possible, which in turn implies the existence of the related budget either from the band itself to begin with or from a dedicated company that would take the band under its umbrella.

If you had the opportunity to have a famous guest musician in a Sand of Eternity song, who would you choose? Why?

As a guitarist, I would want to play with Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden. I always admired the vibe and feeling of his solos both in Iron Maiden as well as Bruce’s Dickinson albums.

Concerts – do you plan to give some live shows? What should we wait from Sands of Eternity on stage?

Yes, it is in our immediate plans and we work hard towards this goal.

Your message to our readers!

I want to thank you for the opportunity to present ourselves, and I want to say stay all tuned in the metal world and keep rocking!

Udo Dirkschneider! No words, no comments, no introductions can describe this legend of German heavy metal, one of the most prominent personalities of classic heavy metal! You can imagine my surprise and great joy, when an interview with Mr. Dirkschneider was scheduled. The German singer has just released his new, cover album, “My Way”, and was so kind to answer some of the questions that filled my mind for days and nights! Although there were some technical problems, we had a not so long, but very interesting chat. Thank you, Mr. Dirkschneider!

by Dimitris Zacharopoulos


Why did you decide to release “My Way”, an album only with covers, at this point?

Let’s say that it wasn’t really planned in the beginning, it has just happened while we were working in the studio, during the pandemic, you know, we had a lot of time due to the coronavirus. So, in the beginning it was just for fun, but then we understood that the whole thing sounded really great and sooner or later, we started talking about doing more of that stuff. Yes, then I made my own list with all my favorite songs that were written in the end of the sixties, the seventies and the eighties. Well, yes, we started working on some songs, then we talked with the record company about putting out maybe a cover album and they were positive. Here we go now, we have a whole album with cover songs and I am really happy in the end, that I did it. It seems that everybody likes it, yes!

 

With which criteria did you select the songs that you covered and finally are in this new album?

These are some of my favorite songs. Whenever I listened to music, these were my favorites. They weren’t the songs that inspired me to make music, they were just my favorites back then, and of course, now they are on my new album.

 

Which was your attitude towards these classic songs? Did you try to stay loyal to the original recordings or to give your own style to these songs?

Definitely I tried to give my own touch to these songs, vocal wise. For me it was very important to put my own character, my own stamp, on these classic songs, you know. Oc course, we made some changes in the arrangements of some songs, some songs sound a little bit different, a little bit harder sometimes, a little bit faster … I think it was very important not to be stuck in the original version.

 

I liked very much your version of the Queen classic “We Will Rock You”.

Yes, I always liked better the longer version of “We Will Rock You”, which opens up the “Live Killers” live album of Queen (1979). When I was thinking about covering Queen, I wanted to pick a fast song, so I immediately chose this fast version of “We Will Rock You”. I believe it came out very, very good.

 

Were there any songs from the ones you chose to cover, which were difficult for you to perform?

Yes, of course, that was the German song I chose, “Kein Zurück” by Wolfsheim. It was the first time I was singing in German, and I admit it really was a bit different from singing in English, haha! The German language is a difficult language, when you sing in German, the words come out much harder compared to when you sing in English. I admit it was very interesting for me to sing in my own mother language!

 

How does it feel entering the German album charts with “”My Way” and reaching number four? We are talking about a great success!

Indeed, it is a good feeling, of course, haha, but I didn’t expect it, you know! Well, I mean, it is a cover album, we said, “OK, we will see how it goes”, and yes, it got the fourth position in the German album charts, also in the Swedish album charts, now. I don’t know, it’s really a big surprise and I really appreciate it!

 

How do you see now your latest album as U.D.O., “Game Over”?

Yes, I like this album very much and many songs from it will be on our live set now that we finally can go on tour again! Now we also want to present the “Game Over” album to the fans. It is the most important thing for us now that we will finally be on tour again.

 

You are in a new label now, Mr. Dirkschneider, since you moved from AFM Records to Atomic Fire Records.

That’s right. I don’t feel anything bad against AFM Records, I was there for sixteen years! But, you know, Atomic Fire Records came up and offered a new contract. I know all the Atomic Fire guys, they were in Nuclear Blast. I thought it was good to make the right move at the right moment, to get some fresh blood and judging by what they have done with the cover album, yes, that was a right move at the right time.

 

Let’s go now to the past, if you don’t mind. First of all, how did it come and you become a singer?

Ohhh, it was not really planned, it just happened, if you know what I mean! It was long, long ago, back in the end of the sixties, when a lot of people wanted to sing with a really unique voice and to be different form the other singers. I didn’t decide to become a professional musician in the end, but it just happened. Now I am doing these for over forty years …

 

When you started your singing career, who were your vocal heroes?

I didn’t have any vocal heroes! Of course, I was listening to a lot of people, but I never tried to sing like … Ian Gillan or whatever! I always was trying to do my own thing.

 

What do you feel when you hear the name of your previous band, Accept? How do you feel, when someone is referring to Accept?

Of course, it is my history, I was the founder of Accept in 1968, there was no Wolf Hoffmann, Peter Baltes, Stefan Kaufmann back then. It is part of my history, I am having U.D.O. for a longer period than the time I had Accept. I am OK, yes.

 

Which is your relationship with Wolf Hoffmann nowadays?

I have no relationship with Wolf Hoffmann.

 

If someone, a record label for example, came to you and told you “come, make a reunion with Accept”, would you say yes?

No, definitely not. That’s my quick answer. No. Haha!

 

Why is that?

Well, there will be no reunion, I am really happy with what I am doing with U.D.O.! I have a good band around me and Accept is over, it is history for me. So, I don’t have any plans to do a reunion.

 

OK, Mr. Dirkschneider. Which album from your long career would you say it is your favorite?

They are so many, … from the Accept era I would say “Breaker” and from U.D.O. I would say the latest album, “Game Over”, it is a very interesting album for me.

 

How do you feel, when a young musician comes to you and says, “You are my first influence!”?

Yes, of course, we definitely inspired a lot of musicians with Accept, with albums like “Breaker” and “Restless and Wild”, but also with U.D.O., there are many young bands inspired by us. This fact makes you aware that you produced something good.

 

How did the COVID-9 pandemic affect you?

There was no tour, so … in two years, we did only four shows! I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to do a lot of stuff at the studio, but also stay at home, doing nothing, that was a bit boring, you know. Now that this thing is over, we will start touring again. So, here we go!

 

Mr. Dirkschneider, your message to the Greek fans!

Yes, I hope that we will do some shows in Greece, in our European tour! In the meanwhile, stay heavy, stay healthy and hopefully we will meet each other soon!