It’s not too very often that the names of the people involved alone are enough to document the great importance of a new project. DATOG – short for DIRKSCHNEIDER & THE OLD GANG – consists of Accept/U.D.O./ Dirkschneider frontman Udo Dirkschneider and his long time companions Peter Baltes (bass; ex-Accept), Stefan Kaufmann (guitar; ex-Accept, U.D.O.) and Mathias Dieth (guitar; Sinner, U.D.O.) as well as Udo‘s son Sven Dirkschneider (drums; U.D.O., Dirkschneider) plus singer Manuela Bibert. If these names don’t make your mouth water, figuratively speaking, then you have missed out on the past 40 years of German metal history. The best thing about DIRKSCHNEIDER & THE OLD GANG, however, is that although the new project is musically in the tradition of it’s legendary predecessors, they are currently working on brand new songs. The video clip of the first number, Where The Angels Fly, can be found on YouTube since September 2020, the second video, Face Of A Stranger, has been released on the internet on April 29. 2021, followed by a third clip Every Heart Is Burning on May 28, 2021. Then on August 27, 2021, a single with all three songs will hit the stores as a CD, a 12″ vinyl and a download.
DATOG came into being, as producer and band member Stefan Kaufmann puts it, ….”in a flowing process. In the run-up to the production of the album We Are One by U.D.O.. & Das Musikkorps der Bundeswehr, Peter Baltes and I worked together for the first time in many years between July 2019 and March 2020 and contributed some tracks to the said disc. In this way, a meeting also came about between Udo and Peter, and a little later likewise with Mathias, whereby, our recently only sporadic contact, was intensified again.”
In addition, the head of the music corps expressed the idea of including Manuela Bibert, who was born in Kazakhstan and grew up in Germany, as a solo singer for the tracks Blindfold and Beyond Good And Evil as well as for a duet with Udo on Neon Diamond on the We Are One production. Peter Baltes: ….”Usually there are more songs for an album than are recorded and released. From such a pool came Where The Angels Fly, which was no longer considered for We Are One due to time constraints and was withheld with a heavy heart. Since all involved considered the number too strong to let it gather dust in a drawer, the idea was born to release it separately. Udo expressed the wish to sing a duet with me again after many years, and since Manuela had already sung the third verse, the idea of what Stefan calls “diversified main vocals” was born.” With this idea, DATOG was also born, so to speak!
In May 2020, Das Musikkorps der Bundeswehr first released its version of Where The Angels Fly via YouTube, then Dirkschneider, Baltes and Kaufmann rearranged the song and turned it into a thoroughbred rock number. Stefan Kaufmann: ….”We recorded more guitars, changed the orchestral and choral arrangements slightly, and remixed everything.” The result, in September 2020, you could suddenly find a low-budget video clip of the new version on YouTube. The prompt response from fans was overwhelming: without any advertising or marketing, the clip has been clicked 2.3 million times to date!
In order to help the arts and culture sector, which has been particularly hard hit by the Corona lockdown, and to support artists during their economic hardship, the entire proceeds of the first DATOG single (the songs: Where The Angels Fly, Face Of A Stranger and Every Heart Is Burning) will go to the band and crew members of U.D.O.. In this respect, the DATOG line-up of Udo Dirkschneider, Peter Baltes, Stefan Kaufmann, Mathias Dieth, Sven Dirkschneider and Manuela Bibert is not only a spectacular but also a highly charitable project. Udo Dirkschneider: ….”And that’s despite the fact that until now all six members have never been together in the same room, and some only know each other through Facetime or similar digital communication channels. But we all agree that this project is a stroke of luck for everyone involved: We all make music for the sheer fun of it, everyone can inject their part according to their own gusto, there are neither conventions nor guidelines or even the pressure to succeed. What more could a musician ask for?!”
Udo Dirkschneider – Lead Vocals / Backing Vocals
Peter Baltes – Bass / Lead Vocals / Backing Vocals
Manuela Bibert – Lead Vocals / Backing Vocals
Stefan Kaufmann – Rhythm Guitar / Backing Vocals
Mathias Dieth – Lead Guitar / Backing Vocals
Sven Dirkschneider – Drums / Backing Vocals