Posted on April 27th. 2018
Questionnaire by Phoenix Van Der Weyden on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM
Very few guitar players on our moden days can say they achieved what this virtuoso from Thessaloniki did. From the great works with Firewind and Dream Evil to becoming the six string man on Ozzy´s band. All that and also being an actual influential guitar player on the scene. It´s with great joy that i conducted this interview with the greek prodigy about the new album Fearless, his gear and influences.
Phoenix Van Der Weyden: Hi Gus, welcome to MTI Webzine Belgium. What was the key factor that made you want to become a guitar player?
Gus: I have to say it was listening to the sounds of Peter Frampton on the “Frampton Comes Alive” album when I was 9 years old.
My dad had the vinyl at home and I was amazed at his solos, particularly when he did the talk box effect.
Phoenix Van Der Weyden: You achieved the dream of every guitar player when you became the axeman of Ozzy Osbourne´s band in 2009. Can you share with us a bit about that experience ?
Gus: It was an experience of a lifetime! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that I’d be playing w/ Ozzy, especially coming out of a small country like Greece. I had a lot of fun, made an album with him and toured the world a couple of times. It was amazing and changed my life forever, for the better.
Phoenix Van Der Weyden: You just unleashed the brand new album “Fearless”, which was the first one since you left the madman´s band. What were your main influences and inspirations to shape up the new album ?
Gus: I wanted to make an album with strong songs, the feature the guitar heavily, but also to make a modern type of album that flirts with the classic rock & Metal elements. In a way it was a return tot he roots for me, I focused on what I know what to do best, and that’s playing the guitar.
Phoenix Van Der Weyden: You made a “twist” on the new album by covering “Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits which is a tune beloved by guitar players all around the world. Would cover any other non metal but great rock in future albums ?
Gus: You never know, I don’t often get ideas for covers, but if I feel I have a good one, I’ll got or it.
Phoenix Van Der Weyden: You released 3 instrumental tracks on Fearless. Would you release a full instrumental album in the future?
Gus: It’s a possibility. I have to think about my next album, although its a little bit early. I’d like to tour behind “Fearless’ first and see how it goes and then see what kind of music flows out of me. But I realise now that people in general love to hear me do instrumentals and I might do it some more on the next one.
Phoenix Van Der Weyden: Tell us a bit about your present gear. What guitars, amps /cabinets and pedals did you use to record the new album ?
Gus: I used my signature Jackson star models, also I used a Charvel Pro Mod for some parts, as well as a Fender 1961 Gary Moore Start reissue. Amp wise, I used my Blackstar Blackfire 200 signature head & an EVH 5150 III head into my Blackstar 4×12 cab loaded with Celestial vintage 30s. Pedal wise, I never record with effects, except a way pedal. The delays, chorus, etc. come later in the mix.
Phoenix Van Der Weyden: Do you use the same gear at the studio ?
Gus: Yes that’s the same setup. Live I have a couple of stomp boxes of course and a delay pedal in the FX loop.
Phoenix Van Der Weyden: What are your favorite song(s) to play on the new album?
Gus: I enjoy playing Mr Manson & Letting Go so far.
Phoenix Van Der Weyden: What are your favorite songs to play on the guitar in general ?
Gus: Usually my own stuff, I guess that’s why I do this. Occasionally I like to play covers too, I like all the classics pretty much. Anything from Hendrix & Purple, to Sabbath, Megadeth, etc.
Phoenix Van Der Weyden: Who were/are your main influences when you started playing?
Gus: I’d say Tony Iommi, Yngwie, Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Uli Jon Roth, Gary Moore, and many more.
Phoenix Van Der Weyden: Thanks a lot for your time Gus, it was great doing this interview with you. Do you have any advices for the new guitar players of the scene?
Gus: I feel the bar is raised a lot with the younger generation and thats a great thing! Keep practicing and playing music, follow your heart & dreams.