By David E. Gehlke
Greek guitar virtuoso Gus G. might now not be in OZZY OSBOURNE, however his stacked résumé and prolific nature recommend there may be lots extra so as to add to his story — and it doubtless can be FIREWIND and his solo work any further. FIREWIND has solely not too long ago began the touring cycle behind 2020’s self-titled, an effort sideswiped by the pandemic however too essential to G. to be forgotten, particularly with new vocalist Herbie Langhans hopefully fixing the band’s frontman revolving door scenario. However regardless of the frontman or musical local weather, G. has steadfastly caught to his weapons and trademark enjoying model that has established him as one of many few new modern-day guitar heroes.
With the band’s self-titled album almost two years previous, BLABBERMOUTH caught up with G. to as a substitute speak about a profession that began in Boston and carried him to Europe within the early 2000s. There, he one way or the other managed to search out the time to be in 4 metallic bands concurrently, solely to stay with FIREWIND by the center a part of the last decade. Ozzy got here calling in 2009, the place he capably adopted Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee and Zakk Wylde till 2017, nevertheless it was the point out of one other deceased guitar hero that received the affable G. questioning what it might take to fill such an enormous void.
Blabbermouth: What was it like attending to know David Chastain when he got here throughout your demos?
Gus: “It is humorous. I solely met Chastain in particular person as soon as. Even once I began touring, he is not the one who will get out of the home a lot. He solely got here to a gig as soon as about ten years in the past. I’ve recognized him since I used to be a child by way of e-mail. I had been sending my demos to David since ’98. At the moment, I used to be making instrumental guitar demos and he was the one one who bothered writing again and giving me recommendation and a few ideas. I despatched it to plenty of labels, however I saved in contact with Chastain by way of all these years. We emailed forwards and backwards and he stated I ought to get a singer and put vocals over my riffs and that it might be one thing particular. Finally, he helped me do this and signed me to his Leviathan Data.”
Blabbermouth: Did you see your self as a Joe Satriani or Steve Vai-like instrumental guitar participant, then?
Gus: “I began like that as a result of I could not discover a singer. I made demos like that and developed my songwriting, however I at all times liked the stuff with vocals. I grew up with MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP and Yngwie [Malmsteen‘s] RISING FORCE. I liked the mix of a terrific guitar participant and a terrific singer, however I could not discover a singer. I wasn’t positive at that time what that venture would develop into. I signed with Leviathan in 2000. The concept was to have vocals, although. At the moment, the late ’90s was a very powerful time for instrumental guitar gamers. Across the late ’90s, I used to be right here within the States for a yr. It was very discouraging, like, ‘Whoa, all these bands like LIMP BIZKIT are popping out.’ Guitar solos weren’t a factor. It was not cool in any respect. I wasn’t going to vary as a result of the development had modified. I quickly determined to maneuver again to Europe after my expertise within the States. I ended up in Sweden. Within the mid-’00s, guitar was occurring once more.”
Blabbermouth: Did anybody ever let you know to tune down your guitar and be part of a band like KORN as a substitute?
Gus: “No document label man ever stated that to me. I used to be sending my demos to underground metallic labels and so they have been already releasing bands that have been doing their factor, like Nuclear Blast, Metallic Blade or Century Media. They at all times did their factor, even again then. They did not attempt to meet up with what was present. They tried to do this later, however at that time, the late ’90s, early 2000s, no.”
Blabbermouth: Stephen Fredrick turned out to be a wonderful option to sing on the primary two FIREWIND albums (2002’s “Between Heaven And Hell” and 2003’s “Burning Earth”).
Gus: “I like these data. I at all times liked them. I by no means had second guesses, regardless that they have been rawer and made low-budget. The guitar tones may have been higher on them. [Laughs] I am actually glad that Stephen got here onto the venture and sang. My guitar and his voice made the distinction on these albums. That mixture was the beginning of the FIREWIND sound. I am actually comfortable that I made these data with him. It was a terrific begin. They’ve stood the check of time. Even at the moment, they sound fairly bad-ass. We nonetheless play songs off these albums. I like them.”
Blabbermouth: How do you recall making it work between FIREWIND, DREAM EVIL, MYSTIC PROPHECY and NIGHTRAGE, 4 bands you have been an official member of within the early 2000s?
Gus: “I used to be very younger; that is what occurred. [Laughs] I used to be in these initiatives earlier than any received signed. I labored with all these totally different folks in Europe and did my very own factor with FIREWIND. I wasn’t positive what was going to be launched. There was no assure. None of us had document offers at the moment. Finally, round 2002, all these initiatives received signed inside months of one another. I used to be like, ‘Oh, what’s occurring now?’ I could not again off. I simply continued. I additionally wished the expertise. I used to be very formidable, clearly. I wished to put in writing with totally different folks and get that have. The issues did not begin till touring obligations began arising. I attempted to do it. I attempted to juggle all 4 for some time. I feel the time once I determined was in 2005 once I received the decision from ARCH ENEMY to fill in for Chris Amott. I came visiting to the States and toured with them for the Ozzfest 2005. That was a giant turning level for me as a result of I noticed what it is prefer to be in knowledgeable band with a crew and administration, all that stuff. I noticed what it is prefer to be actually devoted to 1 factor. The ARCH ENEMY expertise impressed me to make new choices, like, ‘Okay, you’ll be able to’t simply maintain being in 4 bands and count on all of it to work. It’s important to put your vitality and focus into considered one of these items.’ That is once I determined to return again residence and give up every little thing else and deal with FIREWIND. Initially, that was at all times my factor.”
Blabbermouth: The primary two NIGHTRAGE albums (2003’s “Candy Vengeance” and 2005’s “Descent Into Chaos”) you’re on are wonderful, by the best way.
Gus: “Oh yeah. I used to be serving to Marios [Iliopoulos] out. For him, he got here off one other band, his previous band [EXHUMATION] and he was very upset. We have been shut buddies and I stated, ‘I am going to aid you out as a lot as I can.’ We programmed plenty of the drums and we recorded on an 8-track at my home. We did the primary demos collectively. I actually loved enjoying guitar with him. He was a terrific guitar participant. We made a superb guitar group. It was attention-grabbing for me to department out of the melodic factor. NIGHTRAGE was melodic, nevertheless it was extra down-tuned and extra demise metallic.”
Blabbermouth: Have been you a melodic demise metallic fan?
Gus: “I used to be at the moment. I used to be into the entire Scandinavian scene with IN FLAMES. I used to be into it. After I was youthful, I used to be into the Florida demise metallic scene like DEATH and OBITUARY. I used to be not an enormous fan of all these bands, however a few of them I actually loved, like Chuck Schuldiner [DEATH]. I appreciated him lots. That stuff was standard in Greece as properly. I went by way of a section the place I listened to every little thing and something with guitar. I used to be making an attempt to discover and hearken to alternative ways you would play the guitar.”
Blabbermouth: Do you think about the “Allegiance” album the turning level of FIREWIND‘s profession?
Gus: “Yeah, I might say. That was the album that one way or the other put the band on the map. We received much more consideration in Europe and America, so on a world degree. That was the album that we did our first world tour. We did Asia, North America, throughout Europe, the U.Okay. Funnily sufficient, it was with DRAGONFORCE as properly. They have been exploding. They’d their track on ‘Guitar Hero 3’ [‘Through Fire And Flames’] They took us out. That was our second European tour. We did a tour with HAMMERFALL the yr earlier than. The second was with DRAGONFORCE. They have been exploding and we have been catching the tail-end of their hype because the help act. I keep in mind you would additionally promote a couple of data. We may see the outcomes. One month later, we offered tens of 1000’s of albums in a single month. It was like, ‘Whoa! What is going on on right here? One thing is occurring with the band.'”
Blabbermouth: That needed to be redeeming, particularly after leaving one thing like DREAM EVIL, which had the identical potential.
Gus: “DREAM EVIL was additionally my band. I used to be a co-founder. Positive, it was [producer/guitarist] Fredrick Nordstrom‘s factor, however me and him began it. DREAM EVIL was a disappointment for me as a result of that band had all of the success on the planet. We may see the indicators. The band was promoting plenty of data. We have been getting all these nice provides to tour, however the guys did not need to do it. I used to be actually upset. I feel sooner or later once I made that selection, ‘I knew these guys weren’t severe a few profession.’ I selected to develop FIREWIND as a substitute. I may have stayed with DREAM EVIL, however I do not suppose it might have gone wherever. That is the sensation I received. It was simply me and Snowy [Shaw, drums]. The opposite three guys weren’t [into touring]. They’d actually well-paying jobs and that security factor in Sweden and so they all had households. I feel Fredrick had plenty of youngsters, too. He was already established as a producer. This was a interest for him. To me, it was not a interest band. I did not take a look at it like that. Sooner or later, we had a dialogue and I keep in mind the fellows saying, ‘Gus, if you wish to be severe about this, you are higher off doing your individual factor.’ I understood that. It was a disgrace as a result of the band made killer data.”
Blabbermouth: To the current with FIREWIND. You have had a number of vocalists out and in of the band. Do you suppose you have solved that subject with Herbie?
Gus: “It has been nice. He was completely the proper selection. Wanting again, I want I had the man earlier. [Laughs] I feel he goes again into the early days, like when me and Stephen Fredrick had a particular chemistry. The identical factor is occurring with Herbie. That is nice. I am actually happy about it. It really works out on the highway as properly. It really works properly on stage, offstage and for recordings. I am actually trying ahead to doing extra stuff with him. His background and historical past assist as a result of he is been in bands that have been virtually there however did not [make it]. He did many initiatives with some hype however by no means went additional. Clearly, he is in AVANTASIA. That is his bread-and-butter. In AVANTASIA, he is one of many backing singers. Now, right here, he will get to shine in another way because the frontman. He can carry the present with me.
“Herbie determined about three or 4 years in the past to give up his day job and develop into a full-time musician. Not many individuals do this of their 40s. He has a very attention-grabbing story. Coming from a bunch of underground bands for 20 years, working a day job, then all the sudden going, ‘Screw this. I will be a full-time musician.’ He is doing rather well at it. FIREWIND got here round on the excellent time in his life. I am actually glad about all this.”
Blabbermouth: There was some current speak about an Eddie Van Halen tribute of some form. Do you suppose you would deal with one thing like that?
Gus: “That may be very tough and difficult to do it justice. I do not know who may do it. [Laughs] It might be scary. Joe Satriani is among the few guys who may pull it off due to who he’s. He is such a singular guitar participant. Plus, he is executed it earlier than with DEEP PURPLE. From a technical viewpoint, yeah, I do not suppose I might be the proper participant as a result of I do not use the whammy bar. I am enjoying a gentle, fastened bridge. I do not do plenty of whammy bar methods. I do tapping, however not as a lot as different guys. May I do it? May I be taught the songs? After all. I may do it, however I do not suppose I would be the proper man for such a factor. It is scary as a guitar participant strolling into such a highlight. It was scary for me 12 years in the past once I did the Ozzy factor. I by no means considered myself as that sort of guitar participant, however when Ozzy checked out me and stated, ‘You are the man.’ I began fascinated about it in another way: ‘Properly, if he sees that, then I ought to consider in myself extra.’ [Laughs]”