GUS G.: 'I've achieved all the things that i ever wanted in the music industry'
In a new interview with Metal Covenant, Greek guitar virtuoso Gus G., well known in rock and metal circles for his work as Ozzy Osbourne‘s guitarist and as leader of his own band FIREWIND, spoke about how he manages to have a safe and stable home life away from the lifestyle of rock and roll. He said: “Yeah, I spend time with my wife and our four cats, and we just enjoy life back in Greece whenever I’m not touring.
“I’m at a very happy place right now, because I’ve achieved all the things that I ever wanted in the music industry, so I have no regrets; I have no hang-ups; I’m not bitter about anything. I still have visions and things I wanna do, of course, but I’m really comfortable within life. I’m not in a struggling place in life. It has been good. Yeah, I have a good family with my wife, we’re enjoying it, and we live in a nice place. It’s all good. And I still do what I love. I make a good living out of that. I can’t complain, really. I guess I belong in, like, maybe that little one or two percent of musicians who are able to do that. And times are not easy; times are not easy.”
Gus added: “Yeah, we try to navigate. That has always been my philosophy about this. I try to navigate through the good and bad things, and the years are more and more difficult. And, you know, we’re not, like, total rock stars that are millionaires or anything. We try to navigate and we still try to do what we love. That is happiness to me.”
Gus has had an amazing rise within the scene and amassed an incredible body of work, both on the studio-album and worldwide touring fronts, starting with his early international work with the groups DREAM EVIL (Sweden),MYSTIC PROPHECY (Germany) and NIGHTRAGE (Greece). However, it was mainly the restless activity with his own band FIREWIND as well as his invitation to join Ozzy‘s band ranks for the Grammy-nominated “Scream” album release from 2010 and its consequent worldwide touring that fully boosted Gus‘s reputation and profile to be now considered one of the leading guitarists in the current metal/rock scene. Gus served as Ozzy‘s lead guitarist from 2009 to 2017, while also establishing himself as an acclaimed solo artist with albums like “I Am The Fire” and “Fearless”.
In October 2021, Gus released his critically acclaimed solo affair titled “Quantum Leap” via AFM Records. Following an impressive music career of more than 20 years, nine record releases with FIREWIND, as well as recording and touring with the aforementioned acts, “Quantum Leap” was Gus‘s fourth and entirely instrumental solo album, featuring 10 tracks that both showcase the distinctive playing style Gus is known for yet taking fans into new territory.
“Quantum Leap” was assembled in pieces, featuring new compositions and material taken from Gus‘s “riff vault,” where he stores unfinished ideas and revisits them when he’s able. The album started as a full-on solo outing, with Gus programming drums and playing guitar, bass and keyboards, but a chance encounter with drummer Jan-Vincent Velazco — who volunteered his services and subsequently blew Gus away — opened up the production. Producer/engineer Dennis Ward, who was responsible for mixing and mastering “Quantum Leap”, ended up laying down bass tracks on eight of the 10 tracks.
Unlike many instrumental albums, “Quantum Leap” doesn’t feel like a musical root canal or long and drawn-out brain surgery. Each of the 10 tracks are solid and compact musical ideas, with Gus‘s guitar acting as the voice. In this respect, writing “Quantum Leap” was a challenge because he is so used to writing in a specific formula utilizing vocals. He found himself falling into the loop of overplaying a few times during the production because of the lack of vocals, but was able to overcome the problem once he acknowledged it.
“When I first wrote ‘Exosphere’, for example, there were so many things going on in the track but it wasn’t saying anything,” says Gus. “I really needed to have the guitar taking a vocal approach. I knew that if I just kept the playing technical it wasn’t going to be enjoyable. So the playing isn’t always about technique, and once I found the formula it was easier to create melodies for the record.”
“I’m a guitar player and I cannot stand most instrumental guitar albums,” he adds. “The classic are the classics, but very rarely do I get into them because after the third track it just seems like an endless guitar solo where everything that sounds the same. That’s something I wanted to avoid on ‘Quantum Leap’ and I think I succeeded in doing that.”
“Quantum Leap” track listing:
01. Into The Unknown
03. Quantum Leap
05. Enigma Of Life
06. Judgement Day
08. Demon Stomp
09. Night Driver
10. Not Forgotten
11. Force Majeure (feat. Vinnie Moore)