Gus G. Talks Upcoming Projects, Working With Ozzy Osbourne + More
Guitar great Gus G. was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show. The musician, who has plied his trade with Ozzy Osbourne, Firewind and as a solo artist, spoke about the variety of his projects, developing his technique and what's on the horizon. Check out the chat below.
How ya doin?
Hey! How are you? I'm fine.
Gus, you work with different singers in different bands. Ozzy, everyone who sang for Firewind and most recently Jeff Scott Soto, who just played shows with you. As a musician, what makes the opportunity to play with a wide range of voices so appealing?
I figured I can't keep a steady singer in Firewind, so I might as well start working with all of them in a solo band. [laughs] The whole idea came together when I was doing my solo album. I co-wrote a couple of songs with a couple of different people and then I had the idea of just inviting different singers and playing with different guys because every song called for almost a different vibe. Some stuff that was more mellow, more acoustic. Then some more heavier stuff. I went down the route Slash did on his first solo album, just inviting different people and co-writing with different people. That was exciting for me, the opportunity to write for different people and have different voices over it. It was cool.
Gus, if you were going to start working on a new Ozzy album today, as a guitarist what would be foremost on your mind?
Obviously it has to have that classic Ozzy stamp on there. The guitar with the riffs, but at the same time it has to be -- that's the thing with Ozzy you have the '80s era and the '90s era and he always, his sound was always updated with every decade. Even the last couple of albums -- 'Black Rain' and 'Scream' -- they really fit into what was going on at the time. So, probably try to make it as modern as possible but at the same time keep the classic Ozzy element on there. You need to have that classic guitar sound on there. The thing is, it comes down to whatever the man sings, it's just going to sound like him. No matter what. Even if it's an industrial metal track or if it's a classic '80s type, it does not matter. If Ozzy sings over something, it's him.
You've spent much of this year promoting and touring your solo album, 'I am the Fire.' What's the next project you have in the works?
I'm going back to Europe, I'm starting in South America. I'm part of a project called Metal All-Stars and it's a great gathering of a lot of musicians. We're going to be touring South America and Europe in November and December. A lot of great people on there, like Zakk Wylde and Blasko and James Labrie of Dream Theater, Dave Ellefson of Megadeth, Joey Belladonna, a lot of great people on there. We're gonna go out there, have fun and play a lot of heavy metal classics for the fans.
Gus, what's the biggest difference in the way you approach the guitar now compared to when you were a younger player developing his style and technique?
Back when I was younger, I was still playing most of the same things but as you mature as a player you get to play those same things better. I think I'm much more musical today than when I was before. When you're younger you only want to play fast, and I still want to play fast, I can't help it [laughs]. But at the same time, you're phrasing as a guitar player and a sense of melody just develops. Everything develops. That's one thing you realize, that it never really ends. Guitar is just like, endless possibilities and endless ways to play a certain phrase or melody or whatever it is.
Gus, tell us what's in store for the rest of the year?
LIke I said, I'm doing this Metal All-Stars tour in South America and Europe so that's going to keep me busy from mid November through Christmas. I'm working on a new batch of songs for my next solo album. Hopefully I'll be able to release that sometime in 2015, then I'm going to be doing another solo tour early next year and going to be doing the Ozzfiesta in Mexico. That's going to be in May. It'll be a fun event, five days at a hotel resort with Ozzy and Black Label Society is going to be there, it'll be fantastic.
Always a pleasure!
Thank you, take care.
Thanks to Gus G. for the interview. Pick up his 'I am the Fire' solo album at Amazon and iTunes. Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.