Gus G Interview by Music Bottom Line
What was it that intrigued you about becoming a guitarist? Who are your influences?
GUS G: I picked up the guitar because I heard Peter Frampton when I was 8 or 9 years old. My father had a record of his and I thought it would be very cool to play rock guitar like that. Of course, now my influences as guitarist, are different. When I was 15, I heard Yngwie Malmsteen and since then I got into more technical playing. My main influences as a guitarist are Michael Schenker, Uli Jon Roth and Malmsteen.
You have obviously had some intense Musical Training to become the player that you are today. Describe your training and practice routines.
GUS G: To be honest, I haven't practiced in 3 years!!! Now days I just pick up the guitar to jam a little and to mainly compose. But I was practicing heavily for 8-10 hours a day when I was 14 until 18. I was discovering a lot of new things and experimenting with new ideas and sounds, while I practiced the books and ideas that my teacher was giving me. So, besides learning how to read music and learning scales and chords, I was also practicing along with my favorite albums and learning songs and solos by ear and I also tried to work on my improvising skills. In general, it was a whole bunch of things!
How would you describe your style of playing?
GUS G: I find it hard to describe my playing actually.......I don't like to go on like "yeah, I play like this and like that"......it would be better to let some fan or somebody who has a good idea of what my style is about, to describe it.
How do you manage your time between 3 different bands? And how do you decide which songs to use for each band?
GUS G: Mystic Prophecy is a side project of mine and doesn't take much space as Lia, our singer is taking care of most things in that band. My main bands are Firewind and Dream Evil and so far I manage to do both full time. I don't really separate my songs like that. Whenever I make a song for Firewind or Dream Evil, I feel it right away that it fits best for one of them.
How did Firewind come about?
GUS G: I started the whole idea in 1998. I recorded some demos and sent them to labels. My demos got the interest of David Chastain and Leviathan Records. They asked me to submit more material and a couple of years later, I got my contract with Leviathan. David Chastain helped me to get the rest of the members, with the exception of Konstantine, who I brought in.
Firewind has a very melodic sound but is heavier than I thought it would be since you use Keyboards, is that something you planned on?
GUS G: Yes, I was going for a very raw and heavy sound. The keyboards play a very small role in the music of Firewind, you can only hear keys in a couple of spots on the album.
How did you and David T. Chastain come together?
GUS G: Well, David always liked the material I was sending him and after some point he told me he wanted to produce my music.
On your New Album some of the lyrics pertain to the attacks of September 11th. Has what happened changed the way your able to tour through the world?
GUS G: I haven't been touring around the world, so I haven't had any bad experiences so far.....
A lot of bands have said that they notice their music acting as a healing tool for a lot of people since the 9/11 attacks. Do you sense this?
GUS G: Not really. Nobody has come up and told me that our music helped him in that particular way.
Would you please elaborate on the following statement, "I don't think the US market is big for any metal bands, unless they have rap or hip hop influences. Why do you think this is and what will it take to change this?
GUS G: I really have no idea why this is and what will it take. I don't know if it would help if a band like FIREWIND got a signed to a major label in the States with a million dollar deal. Maybe nothing would change, maybe a lot of things would change. Maybe it's the people that "eat" whatever MTV "feeds" them.
For us in the USA how would you describe the music outside of the USA?
GUS G: I think European music is more melodic.
Who are you listening to these days?
GUS G: Different CDs that caught my attraction lately.....I'm listening to the new Rotting Christ a bit, and a great Swedish metal band, Lost Horizon.
Do you prefer the larger venues or the more intimate clubs and why?
GUS G: I don't care, I play anywhere!!.......As long as there's a great crowd the smallest club can feel like it's a big arena!!
If you had to list them who would you consider the 5 greatest Guitarists of all time? And if you had to as well the worst?
GUS G: There's more than 5 greatest guitarists in history! However, I will tell you some of MY favorites: Michael Schenker, Yngwie, Uli Roth, Jimi Hendrix and SRV. I don't know about the worst......there's probably a lot of them around, but I can't remember anyone right now.
What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you on the road.
GUS G: I haven't had a big touring experience, therefore nothing crazy has happened to me so far, I can say though, that a lot of cool things happen when you're on the road!