In today’s Metal Music world there are many artist’s that are taking the roots of metal and pushing them to the limit of their humble beginnings. They are taking the art form and making it whole again. Driving it to the pinnacle to where we can say that “Metal Will Rise Again” and sit on top of the music world’s throne just like it did in it’s heyday. No artist is transcending the era’s more than Gus G. The metal world is beginning to stand up and take notice of what an extremely talented guitarist and song writer this man is and the accolades are finally being presented. There is a guitar hero for the new age and that is Gus G. From the day’s in Dream Evil to Ozzy; to the solo album’s and now to “Immortals,” the latest Firewind epic, Gus G and Firewind are poised to launch a new era of Power Metal perfection. Here is my interview with one of the guitar legends of today…….Gus G.
Rock In The FastLane: I know that “Immortals” is a concept album. What made you guys decide to do a concept album this time? What was behind the decision?
Gus G: Well, it was just something that we talked about for years. We just never had the timing down to do it and now everything just kinda fell into place. The style of music and we thought that we were going to do a comeback album after 5 years, it needed to have a really strong message, so it seemed like a good time to do it.
Rock In The FastLane: What made you decided to an album about the legendary invasion battles of Thermopylae and Salamis during the second Persian invasion of Greece in 480 B.C.?
Gus G: Well, first of all it’s one of the most famous battles of ancient Greece. Plus, it’s been a very successful movie in Hollywood with 300. A lot of people know about it and we were inspired by the movie as well. You know, most of us in the band are Greek and we thought that it would be cool to make an album about our heritage, our history. We felt that this kind of topic also, that this kind of legendary battle would resonate well with Heavy Metal Fans.
Rock in The FastLane: It comes across very well on the album. The way that it’s structured beginning with “Hands of Time” and building all the way through. It’s definitely well written.
Gus G: Well thank you. We worked with Dennis Ward who is a great; he did the lyrics and the vocal lines and produced the album with me. He is a very good co-producing partner for me. We had to make sure that it was done right. I mean we are not historians or anything. We are not trying to teach people about history, but if that sparks anyone to do some digging on the history that would be fantastic. We felt that those kinds of things fall well into the metal category. Metal fans like stuff like that, it’s inspiring. We are proud of it. It’s part of our history and where we come from, you know.
Rock In The FastLane: It’s really cool to not only hear about your history and where you come from, but have an opportunity to write about it and get it out there to the fans.
Gus G: Yeah, people always asked us “Why don’t you write about your history?” We never really thought about it, at least in the early days. Like nowadays its such a big trend especially with the Scandinavian bands they talk about the Norse mythology and people go ape-shit over that. Well, of course, Greece has its own mythology as well and that’s also very popular. What we are talking about are actual facts. These are things that really happened, these wars. It seemed really interesting for us to dig into that. There’s also so many chapters in Greek history, like where do you begin. We could be doing a series of concept albums in the future.
Rock In The FastLane: This is the first album that you are doing with Henning on vocals. I really think that he fits the band like a glove.
Gus G: I agree. I don’t think that we could of had anybody better for this right now. He’s one of the best power metal singers out there. He love’s the band; I mean he really love’s the band. He’s always wanted to join the band. He was gutted that we couldn’t continue with him back in 2007. It was like everything kinda fell into place.
Rock In The FastLane: With Henning how do you feel his performance was on the album? Do you feel that he was able to capture the vibe that you were going for when you were writing the songs?
Gus G: You know, I left all of that stuff up to Dennis. He was in charge of recording the vocals and the vocal coaching. I didn’t get involved in the vocals much, I was in charge of the music to be honest. Basically what we did was just to make sure that everything would work out we sent Henning over to Dennis’ place. He has a good studio in his house and they worked there together for 2 weeks. What we said was that I wanted him to get together with Dennis because he knew what the performances had to sound like. I told him to make sure that he got the best performances out of him and I think that’s what they did. They go along great. They spent a couple of weeks together, some really relaxing time in the studio. I think that Dennis is a really good vocal coach as far as the performances go and Henning is a great performer. So, when you get 2 guys like that who are talented in their field this is the result. Henning sings like, I mean he totally owns the songs. He sounds like his life depends on it, you now.
Rock In The FastLane: I agree. You know what’s cool about this release to is that you guys sound like a band that’s hungry like you haven’t even made it yet or have done anything yet. You feel that come across here. There is a great vibe, its heavy in the right places its melodic in the right places. It’s really a killer album.
Gus G: Interesting that you say that because, for me, in order to do a Firewind record again, I had to feel that hunger again. I didn’t want to just do a record to just continue, you know, because the next record had to be done or I had to get that much money from a label or something. For me it was like, we have to have something to say, it has to be the right time, it has to be the right material. I don’t think our fans would want a record put together quickly. I think everyone just waited patiently to see what we would come back with. Personally speaking, I just had to feel inspired about Firewind again, I had to feel that hunger again. Where as before, when we stopped, I wasn’t feeling it so much anymore. I was really fed up and disappointed with a lot of things. I was ready to go into something else. I wanted to do a Firewind record whenever I felt ready. I’m glad that you said this because it shows that we are still in top form and I truly feel that as well.
Rock In The FastLane: You seem to me like a very diverse guitarist and I love your playing. It’s heavy. I’m blown away by it. I dig the style and your songwriting and everything. How do you feel that the different projects that you have been on; how has that influenced your style, if at all and how has it influenced your songwriting?
Gus G: I think that everything that I’ve been involved with throughout my whole career has been an important factor that has lead me to where I am today and the reason that I play the way that I do and write the songs that I write. Everything has effected me and made me the musician that I am today.
Rock In The FastLane: I saw that you were nominated as one of the 20 best metal guitarists this year. Can you tell us about that?
Gus G: It’s one of those things that a magazine does every year. There’s this big website, I think its the biggest music website in Europe, musicradar.com They have Total Guitar and all of those magazines. They have their lists. You know how it is every year the magazines pick out their best albums or their best musicians and I was nominated for the Best Metal Guitarist of 2016. So, I was on that list which was an honor.
Rock In The FastLane: It’s well deserved, man. Well deserved.
Gus G: Thanks, man. It’s kinda funny because the fans get pissed. It’s like “What, this guy’s not on the list!” “What’s this shit.” People just don’t understand what this is about. It’s not a fuckin competition. Its not like I’m better than that guy or better than the guy that left off of the list. Every year it changes. It’s just an acknowledgement. Sometimes its like a contest of who has the biggest fan base. Like Metallica’s gonna win, we don’t have a chance with that. For me, just considering myself like an underground, heavy metal guitar player who’s made it this far, it’s an honor to be considered for those things. It’s just a cool acknowledgement.Nobody’s better than anybody. We are all on the same fuckin ship.
Rock In The FastLane: Yeah, I agree. You guys are all in it together. You’re all playing for the fan’s and writing great music. You love what you are doing and that’s what’s most important.
Gus G: Yeah
Rock In The FastLane: I’m glad that they are starting to recognize you worldwide because you definitely deserve it. Actually, on my way in today I was listening to “Brand New Revolution.” I actually have it right here.
Gus G: The solo project is still like in its humble beginnings. It’s still a small project, it’s a lot of fun. It’s a different kind of freedom for me. I am really enjoying that as well as having a band too.
Rock In The FastLane: Are their plans for another solo album in the near future?
Gus G: Oh Yeah, Absolutely. I’ve spent 2 years building this up now, I definitely don’t have any plans of stopping. I definitely want to make a 3rd solo album. It’s not gonna be in 2017 because we have the Firewind album and tour, but the the year after, yeah, I would definitely like to release the 3rd solo record.
Rock In The FastLane: How about the upcoming tour. What are the plans to tour in support of “Immortals?”
Gus G: Our tour starts February 15th in the UK so we are doing a headline run in the UK then mainline Europe. Then in March I will go to Japan and Korea with my solo band then I come back and then we will be doing a lot of festivals in Europe. We’re planning to hit a lot of summer festivals over here. That’s our main focus for next year; we need to play a lot of festivals and get in front of a new audience again. We’ve been absent from the scene for a few years. I think that people need to see Firewind again weather it’s old fans or new people and basically start rebuilding this again.
Rock In The FastLane: How about any plans for US Dates, dare I say it? I would love to see you guys.
Gus G: Yeah, it’s been quite a while since we played there. Last time was 2013. I would love to come back. I spent a lot of this year in the US with my solo band, but I would love to come back with Firewind. A lot will depend on how the album does there and if we have any offers to be a part of a cool package tour. Honestly, the logistics of bringing a band from Europe to the US is a nightmare. Doing a lot of small club shows doesn’t justify. You kinda have to see the signs and if there’s enough interest there for the band to make it over there. For me touring there is a little bit easier because I have a US band. It automatically makes things much easier. To hang out with guys in New York or L.A. then rehearse for a few days then go on tour. We’re not negative about it. We would love to come back and play for the US fans, so, I’m really hoping that it’s gonna happen.
Rock In The FastLane: I hope so too. I will make sure that the word gets out about the new album. It’s tough because we get the Haulix files and we can’t send them out because they are confidential. I just can’t wait for the fans to hear this album. It is really that good.
Gus G: The initial feedback that we have received from our first 2 singles has been really good. Everybody is excited so let’s see what happens when the album comes out.
Rock In The FastLane: How about any last words?
Gus G: I want to thank you for the interview. I want to thank everyone for listening or reading this. I just hope that everybody gives the album a chance and checks it out. I think that fans of traditional heavy metal and the power metal and the melodic stuff are gonna dig it. I just hope to see everybody on the next tour.
I would like to thank Gus G. for taking the time to sit down and chat with me. I would also like to thank Dustin Hardman of AFM Records for giving us the chance as writers to interview these great artist’s so that we can deliver their stories to you the fans. I highly recommend Firewind “Immortals” album. If you are a fan of power metal the way that it is meant to be, then you will be doing yourself a grave injustice if you do not give this album a listen.
Follow Gus G and Firewind at: http://www.firewind.gr/2013/home.html