BigMusicGeek.com recently conducted an interview with former ACCEPT and current U.D.O. frontman Udo Dirkschneider. Several excerpts from the chat follow below. BigMusicGeek.com: At what point did you realize Stefan [Kaufmann, guitar] wasn't going to be able to participate in the recording of [U.D.O.'s] "Steelhammer" [album]? Were there any warning signs that the health issues he was experiencing were going to be so bad? Udo: It's a long story. He already had some big problems. It all started when we did the "Rev-Raptor" album. We had to stop for three months because he couldn't move anymore. He was going to the hospital in order to recover, and then, when we started touring, he was taking these really heavy pills. You could have killed an elephant with them. I've known Stefan for forty years and I saw that he couldn't really move on stage. He had to get into these crazy positions so it wouldn't hurt. He was always in pain, so he wasn't in a good mood. Sometimes, he would just start shouting. I thought to myself, "This is not the real Stefan." When the tour was over, I said, "Stefan, it's better for you to stop. I don't want to see you in a wheelchair." We talked about many, many things, but in the end, he said to me, "I think you're right. It's better to stop doing this." So I said, "You are welcome to produce the album and we can write some songs together," and that's when he said, "At the moment, I'm not in the mood to do this." It wasn't easy for me because I've been working together with him for so long, but sometimes you have to do things you don't want to. In the end, I think it was the best thing for him and he's now in better shape. He is producing a band in Switzerland, so I think he's back.