Archive for Gus G

Gus G- On Ozzy, going Solo, and More…

Posted in Metal Music Interviews and News with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2015 by coletteclaire

Posted on January 28, 2015

Gus G pic 2-13-14 crop may be well know for his work with Ozzy Osbourne, but he has more than a few other tricks up his sleeve. He has been playing with his successful power metal band Firewind since 1998. He also made guest appearances on countless albums for other artists including Old Man’s Child, Sigh, and In This Moment among others. G recently decided it wasn’t enough to be part of all of these kick ass projects, and began working on a solo album.

When we spoke with he was currently on tour in support of his first solo debut, I Am The Fire.  I Am The Fire features guest appearances by many well-known metal musicians including David Ellefson, Billy Sheehan, Mats Leven, Michael Starr and Jeff Scott Soto. When asked how the tour has been going he replied, “It’s been great! I did a bunch of dates in my home country Greece and last spring I toured Europe together with Marty Friedman. I did four special shows in the U.S., mainly on the West Coast.” G will also be over in Europe in February and March 2015, which will include a special London show supporting Kamelot.

Since Gus has played on albums for so many other artists, one may wonder what inspired him to bring together all of these excellent musicians for his project: “I’ve been doing guest solos on other people’s records for years,” G explained, “It’s mainly been friends I have in the business, and they call me up whenever they needed a kick ass solo haha! For my album, I wrote a bunch of tracks with Mats Leven originally, and then did a song with Jeff Scott Soto. That gave me the idea to collaborate and co-write with different artists.” So how did he deiced which role each musician would fill? “I just tried it out and saw if it worked. For some songs, I knew that Mats’ voice would fit best, but there were some collaborations that were just tryouts. A good example is the title track with Devour The Day. My A&R guy at Century Media suggested that I work with them on it, and I’m glad the result came out so great!” When asked how his fellow shredders reacted when he asked for their help he replied, “Everybody seemed excited to be a part of it. It was fairly easy to get everybody on this, I thought it’d be harder. Jay Ruston who mixed my album, also introduced me to lots of musicians that ended up playing on it. For example he brought Jeff Friedl (drums, A Perfect Circle) on board and introduced me to great guys like Marty O’ Brien (bass, Lita Ford) and Jacob Bunton (vocals, Adler, Lynam). Jay also suggested Billy Sheehan and David Ellefson as well so he played a key role on this project.”

Gus G - I Am The FireSo one may wonder, why did decide to do a solo album and not another Firewind project?  G has this to say on the subject: “Because with Firewind we’ve released seven studio albums in ten years plus two live albums! When our singer quit back in 2012, we still toured with a session guy, but I felt that I needed a break from this. Don’t get me wrong – I’m very proud of what we achieved with the band, but it’s always been a struggle and we never seem to have found the right singer for the band. So, it was a good time to take a break after ten years of nonstop recording and touring. This solo album made me excited again, it was something fresh and new for me.” So what is different this time around? “The cool thing with my solo shows is that I get to play whatever I want, “ G elaborates, “So, I don’t only play songs from my solo album, but I still keep Firewind music alive and play a few tracks, as well as covers that I always wanted to do, and I also throw in an Ozzy or a Sabbath tune in there. It’s a good mix.” Since he plays music with many different styles and influences, it is interesting how he decided what style works for the songs on I Am The Fire. G explains: “It was mainly a collection of ideas that I felt didn’t belong in a Firewind record. I had a lot of stuff written on acoustic guitar, some more classic rock style songs. I thought this would be a good chance for me to finally do a solo album.”

Gus G picG has worked with varying types of bands, but manages to maintain his own style all the same. He describes this as always playing, “…the way I play in every project. I don’t change my sound or style. I am just being myself and try to play the right things for each project or song.” When it comes to being compared to the great guitar virtuosos like Yngwie Malmsteen Gus G says he’s honored by these types of statements. “I’ve always looked up to Yngwie since I was a kid, and many other guitar players of course. So, to be compared to them…I take it as a compliment.”

As for what is coming up next for G as far as his solo stuff, Firewind, and work other artists he says this: “Next year I’ll be doing some more solo shows and going back in the studio to record a new solo album. There’s no plans for Firewind at the moment, might be another 2-3 years till our next album. Ozzy & Sharon are putting together the Ozzfiesta in Mexico in May 2015. More info at http://www.ozzfiesta.com. It’ll be an awesome event, can’t wait for that one! I’m hoping there will be some more shows before he goes back to Black Sabbath, we’ll have to wait and see.”

http://www.gusgofficial.com/

Ozzfest: Back with a Vengeance

Posted in Metal Music Interviews and News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2010 by coletteclaire

August 14, 2010: The first date of this year’s Ozzfest tour kicked off in San Bernardino, California, on a hot and dusty day in this small town located just outside of Los Angeles. Kicking off the day was Immune, an unsigned pop-punk band local to L.A. who, along with California Wildebeast, were totally out of place with the rest of the lineup. (Luckily for Ozzfest, those two bands aren’t traveling with them.) Immune started on the second stage promptly at 12:15 P.M., which might as well be 6:00 A.M. in heavy metal time. However, by 12:45 the crowd was already starting to get packed, taking in a typically solid show by Midwestern black metal gods Skeletonwitch.

All photos by Gary Moratz

Sharon Osbourne appeared on the second stage to introduce little-known California Wildebeast, a band that was actually formed by Mike Fleiss, creator of the reality television show The Bachelor. Despite being an alternative rock outfit, they’re on the day’s bill because Fleiss is also working on a Black Sabbath horror movie to be scored by Tony Iommi. It was still awesome though to see the queen mother of metal herself taking the time to address the crowd. Say what you will about Sharon but she is a savvy, intelligent woman and truly an inspiration to many.

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After California Wildebeat, the pace and the mosh pit picked back up with thrash/death metal band Goatwhore making their second Ozzfest appearance and performing a truly punishing set. Then Saviours, a stoner metal band from Oakland who have been generating quite a buzz lately, kept the frantic metal madness going. It’s tough for a band to give a fair representation of their material in a 25-minute set at a festival like this, but Goatwhore and The Saviours both managed to pull it off.

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Thrash metal legends Exodus were up next and they never fail to give it their all. The fact that these guys have persevered over almost 30 years and the death of their lead singer is amazing—Kirk Hammett was in this band before Metallica, for God’s sake! The band opened with “The Ballad of Leonard and Charles” and “Beyond the Pale,” two songs from their new album Exhibit B: The Human Condition. The new songs stood up quite well next to old favorites like “A Lesson in Violence” from the band’s first album and “Toxic Waltz” from 1989’s Fabulous Disaster. Rob Dukes, the band’s current singer, got the crowd to separate then attack each other for one of the craziest mosh pits of the day.

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Drowning Pool then took the stage and shifted the mood from pure metal to a little blues rock; it actually translated well alongside the other acts despite not being quite as heavy. The band played a mix of songs from all of their albums including “Feel Like I Do,” the first single from the band’s recently released self-titled album. They also played “Step Up” from the album Desensitized, and of course their hits “Sinner” and “Bodies” from their debut album.

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Black Label Society followed Drowning Pool, a perfect musical transition, but before they could perform Jody Barnes and Jennifer Knorr had to get married. That’s right, married. Apparently Ozzfest emcee Big Dave was ordained as a minister for his brother’s wedding, giving Sharon Osbourne the idea to make a wedding package available along with the typical VIP packages for sale. One couple took them up on the offer and were married before thousands of screaming metal fans. Apparently they also got to eat wedding cake back stage with Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne afterward—not a bad deal for heavy metal fans in love.

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It was then time for Black Label Society to play, wrapping up the second stage for the day. Nonpoint started on the main stage 5 minuets later which probably wasn’t the best scheduling for them since pretty much everyone was watching BLS. Especially since this was everyone’s only opportunity to see Zakk Wylde given the fact that Ozzy now has a new guitar player. The majority of BLS’s set was new material from ‘Order of The Black’ released just 4 days before the show including “Godspeed Hellbound” and “Overlord.”  The band sounded great and even did an encore playing their hit “Stillborn” from ‘The Blessed Hellride’ album. People finally began trickling over to the main stage after BLS wrapped up stopping for a beer and bathroom break along the way. This forced DevilDriver to play to a somewhat sparse crowd but a good amount of dedicated fans were standing on seats screaming the lyrics and showing love to the band that played a great set including “I Could Care Less” and “Fate Stepped In.”

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It was then time to break out the big guns, starting with one of Judas Priest front man Rob Halford’s solo bands, the appropriately named Halford. Rob took the stage decked out in aviator sun glasses and a floor length leather studded biker jacket complete with floor length arm fringe. He played a decent set of about ten songs mainly from Halford’s catalog. Many people shouted things like “Painkiller” hoping for a Priest cover and technically they got one but it was “Heart of a Lion” which was featured in Priests’ 2004 box set Metalology as a previously unreleased track. Some highlights from the Halford catalog were “Resurrection” and “Savior” off the band’s first album. The band itself sounded very tight and there weren’t a lot of effects on the instruments or in the mix so you could really hear what they were playing. Rob can still belt out every extremely high note perfectly and he still remains one of the most talented singers in heavy metal.

IMG_2382JPGHalford

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Motely Crue then proceeded to come out on stage and basically steal the show for the evening, nothing against Ozzy he was great too, but Motely Crue put on one hell of a performance. It didn’t hurt that it finally got dark giving everything a much more “metal” atmosphere. Starting off with “Kick Start my Heart” Motley came out in a foray of fireworks and explosions with red lighting shinning behind them on a giant banner with the bands logo. They then tore through many more of their hits for over an hour including  “Live Wire” “Shout at the Devil” “Dr. Feelgood” “Primal Scream” and of course “Girls, Girls, Girls” complete with the Harley motorcycle noises piped in. Vince Neil’s voice has gotten better since Crue Fest last year; he hit more of the higher notes than before. Although he didn’t feel it necessary to sing every line of the song since the audience was singing it for him, but no one seemed to notice. An especially epic highlight was when they brought out a grand piano for “Home Sweet Home” and Tommy Lee played the entire piano intro. Lighters and cell phones were quickly brought out by the crowd and held into the air as everyone got misty eyed while singing along. This was Los Angeles after all, so the song was most appropriate.

As if you weren’t already reeling from all you’d already seen and experienced it was then time for the man himself, the “Prince of Darkness” Ozzy Osbourne. The giant screen above the stage, which usually just shows you what’s happening on stage, began playing clips of popular TV shows and movies but with Ozzy superimposed into them. In one of the clips Ozzy was playing Beyonce’s part from the “Telephone” music video by Lady Gaga. Ozzy had on make up and a wig to look like Beyonce and then turned to Lady Gaga and proclaimed “you dress really weird are you sure you’re not a man?” In another Ozzy was Robert Pattinson’s “Edaward” character in the Twilight movie complete with a wig of puffy hair. When Kristen Stewart calls him a vampire Ozzy replies “Vampires are pussies I’m the prince of fucking darkness!” The final clip featured Ozzy in the Iron Man suit from the movie where he of course proclaimed “I Am Iron Man!” Seeing the clips was a little strange at first but ultimately very funny.

Then the band finally came out playing “Bark at the Moon.” Ozzy having just as much energy as always, even at 61 years old, hopping around and clapping his hands in his wild man way. The set list consisted of mostly 1980’s era Ozzy including “Mr.Crowley” “Shot in the Dark” and “Suicide Soultion” among others. This may have been an homage to his previous tour with Motley Crue over twenty years before which went down in history as one of Ozzy’s most notorious antics wise, including the infamous ant snorting incident. Missing from the set was any 1990’s era Ozzy like “No More Tears” or “Perry Mason” and in its place were 3 Black Sabbath songs which were “Paranoid” “Fairies wear Boots” and of course, “Iron Man.” Zakk Wylde’s replacement on lead is 29 year old Greek guitarist “Gus G” (which is somehow a nickname for Kostas Karamitroudis), who played with several bands including Arch Enemy and his own band Firewind before joining up with Ozzy. He has some pretty big shoes to fill including Toni Iommi and Randy Rhoads but he did it with no problem pulling off every solo and not missing a note. An added highlight was the appearance of Guinness Book of Worlds Records youngest professional guitarist 10 year old Yuto Miyazawa. He came out during the encore and played “Crazy Train” along with the rest of the band on his Randy Rhoads style flying V.  Yuto is an internet sensation who appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres show in 2009 where he was introduced to Ozzy. Ozzy’s set was a bit more effects laden than some of the others but the band ultimately sounded fantastic and Ozzy’s voice is as strong as ever.

Ozzfest seemed like it was dying out in recent years with the “free” ticket disaster in 2007,  the only one date played in Texas in 2008 and no tour what so ever in 2009. This year proved however that Ozzfest is back with a vengeance. Many people agree this was the best line up in years. Let’s hope the legacy continues for many more years to come.

By: Colette Claire

As reported on mxdwn.com 8/23/10