By Andrew Catania
Gus G is a fantastic guitarist that didn’t have an opportunity to show his writing and musicianship with Ozzy as most of the record was already written before he came into the band. The leader of Firewind has a new Guitar art collection that’s out, and we discussed that, Ozzy Osbourne, and future projects with Jackson Guitar.
Ozzy postponed the rest of his 2019 tour dates. Did he reschedule any concerts while you were in the band?
GG: The first North American tour I was on we only rescheduled the last two shows. The next time it happened was during a summer run in Europe. He canceled one show in Germany, and that was it. I was with him for almost seven years and we probably rescheduled three shows. The German show never happened. There were two American shows we rescheduled.
How did you get involved with Guitar Art?
GG: I think they emailed my label and then I got in touch with them and they told me about this. I knew about the Yngwie project they did, and I also knew they did a lot with drummers as well. I don’t think they’ve done a lot with guitar players. I think Yngwie and I are the only guys they have worked with on guitars. But I know of a lot of stuff with various drummers like Steven Adler.
They explained to me how they do this and I thought it was pretty cool. I’m not a big artsy guy. I’m not the kind of guy who goes to a lot of museums and looks at paintings, and I don’t own a Van Gogh, or anything like that. (Laughing) But of course, being an artist, a musician, I am always interested in visuals. I thought this was a cool idea.
Did this fascinate you?
GG: Yeah! It’s pretty mindblowing. It’s abstract art. For me, it was fascinating because it’s a different way of looking at a guitar or a performance that you want. Thought it was something new. Something I hadn’t seen before. To look at a picture of myself playing like that, and it’s not me, it doesn’t look like me, but it is me, so it was cool. It was very different,
What about Firewind. Do you have an album coming out soon or are you taking a break?
GG: We are on a break this year as I am doing my solo tour. I am slowly getting back into the zone of writing ideas. I have a few ideas written. We have this summer tour coming up in Japan, we have some festivals lined up, and we are doing some shows with Queensryche. Then we are going to go out with Queensryche again in November-December. In between those two tours, I’d like to get the new album recorded. So I think that gives me 3 or 4 months to complete the writing. I’ve been working on that.
Do you have a time table of when you want to do another solo album?
GG: I haven’t thought about it, to be honest. (Laughing) I haven’t thought about it. I realize because I’m getting older, I can’t wear too many hats at the same time. Now it’s like, I’ll either be with Firewind or doing the solo thing.
I manage the band as well. It’s not like I write 10 or 15 songs and I stay at home until somebody calls me to go on tour. I have to find the tours, arrange everything and do all of the budgeting and get the crew together, all of that stuff. I am involved in all of that. It’s a 24-hour job. Three hundred sixty-five days a year, you know? So it’s non-stop.
I do think that you are better off with Firewind. I think your talent is better showcased in Firewind than it was with Ozzy. I would have loved to have seen an album where you had a lot of creativity and input with Ozzy.
GG: I know what you mean. The thing is, given the circumstances and the time and age where I joined Ozzy’s band, and even with the fans, I think a lot of the fans felt, divided, as it always is, so you know, especially with such a vast, legendary artist like that, everybody’s got their favorite eras and “this guy’s better than that,” and of course with the guitar playing position there is a hierarchy and of course I come in pretty low on the list, obviously. It’s interesting. But at this stage and age, I don’t think Ozzy is going to sit down and write like he uses to go back on the ’80s with somebody. You know, it’s a different thing now. There are a lot of people around him, and I think the fact that I was not in LA the whole time didn’t help my situation, either.
I was never really comfortable being in the role of a hired gun being in that band. It’s great having a front row seat at doing things at this level, one of the world’s biggest rock bands, I realized, like you said, maybe that’s why a lot of people got the feeling that I’m better off doing “My’ thing, even if its on a much smaller scale. I think I showcase my musicianship and my talent better, doing my thing. It was a great experience. It opened up so many doors, and it’s hard to imagine. I think had I had the chance to write something, then it would have been fucking awesome. I told him many times, to go back to the roots, like the first two or three albums. Going back to the 80’s style. I know I’m good at that. I know I could have come up with some killer riffs. But honestly, I’ll go back to what I said in the beginning, Ozzy doesn’t need to do another album. He doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone. He has given us so many classic songs, so it’s all good. I got to play on a record with him. It’s awesome. Not many people get to say that. So, its all good man.
What does the rest of 2019 have for you?
GG: We have 2 European legs with Queensryche, one is in July/August, and one is Nov/Dec. I mean more dates will be revealed in the coming weeks, and as I said, I have to finish writing the record and then record it. We are already looking into 2020, when are we going to start touring, and all that. As I said, I am also designing some new killer guitars that we are going to be releasing in the coming months.
GG: Some new Jackson guitars. I am working on that right now.
Are you ever going to design a Super Strat for us super Strat fans?
GG: I am releasing…let me say this; it’s in the plans to go back to playing a strat style guitar. So it’s something I want to do as well because I grew up on a Stratocaster and I would love to play that kind of shape again.
So your signature will go back to a Strat, is what you’re saying?
GG: Wait and see. It’s going to be cool. It’s going to be a couple of things, not just one. (Laughing)
I’m going to be working on some other projects. I’m also toying around with the idea of doing my pickups, so there is a lot of stuff. I’m also hosting, doing this thing, my guitar camp. These guitar camps are so popular right now.
Visit www.guitarartgallery.com for more details.