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Like a phoenix rising from the ashes the new axeman enters the dark lairs of the Prince of darkness; Gus G. is one of the most accomplished guitar players of our time. Starting in 2002 with the first Firewind release, getting endorsed by many companies and attracting admiration from the fans all around the world, Gus is now the new guitarist in Ozzy Osbourne’s line up. We caught up with him in London before Ozzfest to ask about his career and the things to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.Gus, you look the business, you sound the business. You were obviously born for this. When did you first pick up a guitar?

1. When I was 9 years old I was listening to an old record that my dad had at home, “Frampton comes alive” and I was blown away by this effect that made the guitar sound like a robot and I asked my dad to buy me a guitar. So that’s the way everything began. I started playing guitar when I was 10 years old.

2. Most boys at that age work their way through by listening and copying the music that they like. Is that how you did it?

2. Yes but I had studies as well.I went to the contemporary conservatory in Salonika, Greece for 4 years. I had different teachers there for theory, harmony, guitar techniques, ear training and so on. After those 4 years, I got a scholarship to go to Berklee College of music in Boston in order to attend a 5-week summer course. After that I went to the full time course but I stayed only for 2 weeks and I kinda gave it up because I was more interested in performing and playing in bands instead of going the academic. So as I decided to leave Berklee I stayed in the US for a year and started playing with some bands but not much luck there. I went back to Greece after that. Then one of my very good friends, Marios Iliopoulos (Exhumation, Nightrage) was going to Sweden to record the Exhumation album in Fredman studios. I went to Sweden with him in order to check around what’s going on there and I met their producer Fredrik Nordstrom, with whom we started writing some songs together and that was the start of the band Dream Evil.

 

3. We have seen you sharing the stage with some of your guitar Idols, Uli Jon Roth and after that Vinnie Moore.
 How did that happen? How did it feel to play next to your guitar Idols?

3. I saw Uli Jon Roth in the lobby of a hotel at the Namm show. I felt obliged to tell him that I named my band, Firewind, after his album. So I introduced myself and I explained to him about my band and surprisingly he turned around and said: ”Ooooh so that’s you! I’ve heard about your band. Thank you very much for that”.  So we started talking and we developed a friendship after that. I see him occasionally in this guitar shows and we jammed quite a few times. He is a great guy, one of my biggest inspirations.

I feel very fortunate that I got the chance to share the stage with him. Another great guy whom I grew up listening to his records was Vinnie Moore. I met him in Namm I think through Mike Amott. I’ve sent him some Firewind albums, we kept emailing each other and then when he played in Salonika, we caught up and he asked me if I wanted to join him on stage to jam a few songs and obviously I said yes.

 

4. You have been Ozzy Osbournes axeman for the past year, showcasing and touring around the globe, and we heard your amazing guitar work on the latest album, Scream. What impact did that have in your life as a guitar player?

4. Joining Ozzy is like you get to play for the best football team in the world. There is no comparison!  But, it’s tough. You got to be on top of your game. It’s a great experience. From playing club circuits you jump into playing stadiums and arenas. I’ve seen things that a few can see, my entire life changed completely! My performance has changed as well, I believe I’m a lot better now and this gig helped me a lot with that.

 

5. Did you have to change anything in your playing or practice any new techniques or think different as a guitar player for that?

5. No! Ozzy asked me to play like I play and to be Gus G. I just do what I used to do but now better than before.

 

6. You are the founder of the band Firewind; tell us a little about that.

6. I started Firewind with some demo recordings in 1998 and it took me about 4 years until we released the 1st album in 2002 which was called“ Between Heaven & Hell”. Since 2006 till today we toured a lot around the world as the release of our 4th album “Allegiance” was a turning point for us. We have 5 studio albums, 1 live album and 1 live DVD and we are releasing our 6th studio album “Days of Defiance” in October 25 this year. It’s a classic Firewind album in terms of songwriting but with a lot better performances from everyone in the band because we decided to record in our home studios and send it off to mix in Finland I strongly believe that this album got the best out of us because we weren’t pressurized with time restrictions. Especially the Vocals, Apollo did a killer job.

 

7.  There are many very talented and hard working guitarists out there. What is your advice to them on how to make it in the industry?


7. Everybody comes to me and asks: “How did you make it big? What is the recipe for success”? Well, there is no recipe! When music is all what you live for, it’s going to happen for you sooner or later. You need to practice, to go for it and look at the bigger picture in terms of the whole package and not only your guitar skills. You need to learn how to listen and collaborate with other people and set your aims and targets and try to achieve them one by one. Focus and dedication 1000%.

 

8. Live4guitar would love to sign you up. There are a lot of our members who look up to you and would be grateful for you knowledge and expertise. Can we hope to see amongst us soon?

8. I think that your site is a great idea for all of us who live4guitar. I will be joining and checking it out in the near future as at the moment I’m very busy on the road with Ozzy and with the new Firewind release.

 

9.Thank you for giving us time out of you busy schedule Gus. We are looking forward to seeing you again soon.


9. It was a pleasure man. Best wishes to everyone at live4guitar. Keep rocking,

Check out Gus G. on : www.firewind.gr

                                   www.ozzy.com

 

 

Interview By G.g.t.S.