On the occasion of Firewind’s upcoming 10th album, “Stand United” which is expected to be released on March 1, 2024 by AFM Records, we had the pleasure to contact Gus G. to help us answer our questions on all issues concerning our favorite guitarist!
1. Hello and joy Gus, welcome to Metalwar.gr I am very happy for the time you have available to us!
Gus G.: Thanks for the invitation!
2. In anticipation of “Stand United”, a new album by Firewind, and while we have the first samples of the singles that have been released, what can people expect from this upcoming album?
Gus G.: It definitely has all the elements that people who follow us are used to, but I would say it also has some modern stuff inside. What we try to achieve every time is the balance between hard rock and metal paths and maybe in this album we did it a little better than ever. It will show, why the world is the ultimate recipient.
3. How do you feel about releasing the 10th album of the band of a band that counts 26 years of presence?
Gus G.: We now count 22 years in discography and 26 if you add the original demos.
I’m proud that I was able to bring Firewind this far and create 10 studio albums.
We are a group that has gone through many ups and downs from lineup changes, company changes, and much more. So it means a lot to me that we can still stand here in 2024.
4. After so many important years of being part of the global musical reality, is there a need to prove something or does the artist always embark on a new journey with each release?
Gus G.: I no longer feel like I have anything to prove to anyone. I think I’ve passed that point in my career. The important thing for me is evolution. I want to become not only a better musician, but I also want the band to grow and do better shows and
evolve its sound. Of course, all this makes sense as long as you have something to say.
5. Is it reasonable for most people to add after your name, “Ozzy’s former guitarist”, something that bothers you? What could characterize your career better with one sentence?
Gus G.: Admittedly, it makes sense and no, it doesn’t bother me at all. It is a great honor that my name is directly associated with the ultimate legend of Metal, Ozzy.
As for what can characterize my career briefly, I would say – development, progress, quality work and consistency. That’s how I want to see it, at least!
6. What is the highest point that a musician, a guitarist can reach in his career?
Gus G.: When he can feel total creative freedom. Music of course is an endless journey and a music career has ups and downs. It’s all part of the journey rather.
7. Through all these years of writing music, is there a specific way of composing and does it continue to this day or has it changed?
Gus G.: Usually it all starts with a riff or a melody. The way I compose hasn’t changed much. I write both electric and acoustic guitar themes and develop them later, do the arrangements and then deal with the vocals and lyrics.
8. Apart from the thirst for creation, is there any other motivation that makes you so active for so many years?
Gus G.: Yes, love the world. Without the support of the listeners, there is no point in doing concerts or visuals, or trying to present something better and bigger to the public. So the people who support us are my biggest motivation these days, without of course defining what I will create. Creatively I’m 100% myself and I just hope there is some kind of acceptance.
9. Is contact with people during live performances the absolute satisfaction of the artist?
Gus G.: I’m sure that’s not true for everyone. Many artists don’t perform live.
I am one of those who live to be on a stage, so, as you can see, it gives me great satisfaction.
10. What character traits should a young kid have, starting from a small country like Greece and conquering the whole world, in order to stay grounded and continue working?
Gus G.: Believe in vision, not be afraid of work and be humble.
11. Is it true that you are accused of being a Rock Star, is it something you accept, reject or do not care?
Gus G.: What can I tell you, the only place I feel like a rock star is on stage when I perform. Off stage I’m low profile and quiet person.
12. What can be hidden behind the mask of an artist, who appears in
the public eye without often showing what is inside his soul.
Gus G.: Too many things.
Everything that each of our fellow human beings can hide. You don’t know how his day was, if he’s having a hard time, if there are health problems, if there’s stress, and more. That’s why music is a great therapy… Both for the artist who can express what he feels, but also for the listener.
13. Does the composition of music reflect the feelings and experiences of an artist or does it often become more professional with many musts?
Gus G.: Look, there are two kinds of music – good and bad. The one who has something to say will be seen and will have some resonance, more or less, because then other factors come into play (money, companies, investors, circumstances, timing, etc.). Then there’s music that’s made just to exist and be consumed quickly.
14. What do you think is the biggest moment of your career so far?
Gus G.: Undoubtedly my time with Ozzy, at least in terms of popularity. When it comes to creativity, the post-Ozzy period and specifically the last five years I’ve been through is my best.
15. You are a guitarist who due to his career would be envied by many of his colleagues, despite your brilliant career, is there room for dreams yet? And if so, what dreams have remained unfulfilled?
Gus G.: The truth is that I have been living the dream for many years and I am very grateful for it. Because I lived everything I dreamed of as a child and many more that I had no idea about. From the excitement of the newcomer, to the peak of popularity alongside a music legend and beyond, I am now in the 3rd decade of my career, investing in my own “shop” without much noise in the mainstream media, and building a music catalog that I want, as I want it, without worrying too much about what is happening around me. Dreams and ideas exist fortunately and I hope they will materialize in time.
16. Apart from all that you do around music, is there time for
any other activity that you like to do?
Gus G.: No, there are no hobbies other than what I do. Music is my whole life and honestly 24 hours of the day is not enough. To be completely honest, I don’t feel the need to do anything other than music.
17. Is heavy metal a genre of music that is still pioneering and artists can
express themselves freely or has something changed about it?
Gus G.: Classic metal is certainly no longer a pioneer, but it is evolving.
There are new sub-genres that we find mixes of various kinds of music along with metal or rather with a harder sound. So definitely the new generation is experimenting, making new sounds and that’s healthy.
18. Thank you very much for your time and I hope “Stand United” has a beautiful and great journey.
A few words from you to close this interview!!
Gus G.: Thanks so much for hosting your page. I hope you check out the new album and I look forward to presenting it in Greece in 2024!