Ozzy Osbourne / Firewind Guitarist Gus G. [Interview]: ‘I’m Not There to Replace Zakk Wylde’

Gus G., via Facebook

Interview: Ozzy Osbourne, Firewind Guitarist Gus G.

When Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Gus G. isn’t ripping with Ozzy, he plays gigs with his Greek power metal outfit, Firewind, which bring a dose of European metal, anthemic melodies and tons of stormy guitar shredding.

Firewind kick off a North American tour on Oct. 9 in St. Petersburg, Fla. — their fist ever — and the trek will hit several major cities before wrapping up in West Hollywood, Calif., on Oct. 27. Check out the tour itinerary via the news page.

Many thanks to Gus G. for phoning in to talk about filling the role of Ozzy’s guitarist and how it’s shaped his playing in Firewind.

On landing the gig with Ozzy:

Gus G.: “It’s the biggest of all honors, especially for me, since I still can’t believe I actually got this gig. It’s the best guitar job rock or any metal guitar player can have, really. It’s a big spotlight. The way it happened is that I received an email from his management, and they asked if I wanted to come down and audition. I guess I made their short list somehow. And I just went down to Los Angeles and learned a bunch of songs and met the band and Ozzy, and we jammed. It went really well, and he asked me to come back and do a show with them, and that’s how it got started.”

On Ozzy’s former guitarist, Zakk Wylde, saying great things about him:

Gus G.: “Oh, that’s fantastic. It’s great to hear all this great feedback and comments coming from my heroes, both Ozzy and Zakk. He was a big influence when I was growing up. It’s insane to just hear these guys say great things about me.”

On what he’s learned from playing with Ozzy and how it’s different from Firewind:

Gus G.: “It’s a whole different level for me. I’ve been around. I’ve done albums and world tours and stuff like that. But for me, it’s a big learning experience in all aspects. I think I’m becoming a much better player than I was, and being around him and his crew and management team and seeing how they work is just one big learning experience. I pick up things every day.”

On playing Ozzy’s catalog and staying true to the original voice of the songs:

Gus G: “It’s me playing it, and I will do it my style, but I’m the kind of guy who keeps to the originals. I mean, we’re playing the classics up there, s o I don’t want to change that up too much, because I think the fans want to hear the classic songs and they want to hear them the way they were recorded. If I was going to an Ozzy concert, I would expect the same, no matter who plays guitar. But at the same time, the guy who is playing up there has to put his own stamp on it. It’s kind of inevitable. But, it isn’t like I’m going out there and doing my own version of Crazy Train,” that’ not going to happen, ya know?

On the anxiety of joining an iconic metal band:

Gus G.: “…I worried about it. I’m like, “This could be a 50/50 thing. People could hate me or love me, or they could just be like, whatever.” So, I’m really glad things are really positive and people have been very supportive. It goes to show I’m doing a good job and people like what they hear, and I’m not there to replace Zakk Wylde. That guy is un-replaceable. He’s his own man. I do my own thing, and I try to play it the best I can every night. That’s my whole state of mind and approach to the gig.”

Anne Erickson
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Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Interviews, Metal, Music

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