U.D.O. — the German metal band led by former ACCEPT frontman Udo Dirkschneider — has announced the addition of guitarist Andrey Smirnov to the group’s ranks. He replaces Stefan Kaufmann, who left the group late last year for health reasons.

Commented U.D.O.: “It was a long search and we met a lot of talented musicians. But at the end, it was an easy decision since Andrey is the perfect fit for the band (as a friend and as a musician). Everybody in the band and around is very happy to have met Andrey just in perfect timing.

Andrey Smirnov (born December 31, 1983) is the Russian rock musician, multi-instrumentalist, and singer-songwriter who is the lead vocalist, guitarist, primary songwriter and founder of the Russian modern metal bandEVERLOST. He is also the session guitarist of PAUL DI’ANNOBLAZE BAYLEY (ex-IRON MAIDEN) and once was a part of famous Russian metal bands MASTEREPIDEMIA and few others. Andrey is a well-respected studio musician. His major label releases only in 2012 consist of EVERLOSTsingle, famous Russian rock star Artur Berkut album, popular Soviet hair-metal legend of the ’80s GALAXY and his own solo album, ‘Adrenaline’. For most of these albums Andrey worked as the sound producer, arranger and guitarist. Also, for the last few years Smirnov is touring guitarist of Russian retro-heroes ZEMLYANE.

Andrey was with us in the studio recording the new album and was already a very important part of team. His live debut with U.D.O. will be the U.S. tour scheduled for April. The band is really looking forward to come back to their fans in the U.S. after such a long time. Even better to present something very special to the U.S. fans now.”

Confirmed dates are as follows:

April 09 – Amityville, NY – Ollie’s Point
April 10 – New York, NY – Gramercy Theatre
April 11 – Poughkeepsie, NY – The Chance
April 12 – Montreal, QC – Foufounes Electriques
April 13 – St-Ferdinand, QC – Style Metal
April 14 – Toronto, ON – Mod Club
April 18 – Cleveland, OH – Peabody’s
April 19 – Detroit, MI – Harpo’s
April 20 – Joliet, IL – Mojoe’s
April 21 – Seattle, WA – Studio Seven
April 23 – West Hollywood, CA – Whisky A Go Go

Stefan will continue to work with U.D.O. behind the scenes and produce other bands at his Roxx studio.

Kaufmann was the drummer for ACCEPT on nine albums but was forced to give up drumming towards the end of the band’s initial run due to health problems.

Stefan joined U.D.O. as a guitar player in 1996, following ACCEPT‘s second breakup, and has recorded nine albums with them.

“Live In Sofia”, the new DVD+CD and Blu-ray+CD from U.D.O., entered the Music DVD chart in Finland at position No. 1 and in Germany at No. 4.

“Live In Sofia” contains footage of U.D.O.‘s November 16, 2011 concert at Hristo Botev Hall in Sofia, Bulgaria.

U.D.O. ‘s latest album, “Rev-Raptor”, was released on May 20, 2011 viaAFM Records.

Source: www.blabbermouth.net