Guitarist Gus G.
Interview by Rick
For anyone that has lamented the loss of power in the term power
metal, worry no more. Firewind has arrived to give the genre a much
need shot in the arm. Guitar player Gus G. is well traveled in metal
circles providing his six string talents to Mystic Prophecy, Nightrage
and Dream Evil to name a few. Firewind, however, is his main gig. With
the recent release of the band's second disc BURNING EARTH Gus G.
is set to take Firewind to the next level.
just got back from a tour of Japan. How was the band received by the
fans in Japan?
It was a very cool experience for everyone. While I've already toured
there twice last year with Dream Evil, it was another dream come true
for me to play in Japan with Firewind! Our fan base over there is
growing really strong and it seems that they love us. I hope we will go
back to Japan next year.
Fredrick couldn't make the Japanese tour and you replaced him with
CHITY SOMAPALA of Avalon. How did Chity fit in with the band and is
Fredrick able to perform on any future dates that you might book?
Chity fit in very well. He is a very talented musician and was aware
of his role. He knew that he had to replace a great and very unique
singer like Fredrick. However, He didn't try to imitate him, but rather
add his own flavour to the songs. I understand that he had a hard job to
do and under all circumstances he did a great job. Unfortunately, I
recently found out that it's very hard for Stephen to go on tour. This
means that a new guy has to step in and be a full time member of
Firewind. We feel that Chity is that person. We are planning to go on a
European tour with Chity on vocals as well as start working on new songs
for our 3rd album. I'm happy that the lineup is finally stable.
Are there any plans for a European tour? How about the US or
Yes, there are some plans for some European shows, but we're waiting
for the confirmation. I don't think we'll be able to play in the USA or
Canada yet, unless we get invited to play a festival such as Prog Power.
If you could choose any band to tour with who would it be? Any
I always make sure that the bands I go on tour with, play in front of
quite decent audience. That way we can get exposed to many metal fans
and build our own fan base. That's always the most important thing for
me. If you ask me which would be my dream tour, then that would be a
support slot for The Scorpions or Iron Maiden.
Firewind has some new members. Can you tell me a little bit about
them and why Brian and Konstantine are not in the band?
Brian and Konstantine aren't in the band anymore cause they also had
a problem to go on tours. They are both dedicated family men, which I
totally respect. The new guys are Stian Kristoffersen from Norway
(drums) and Petros Christo from Greece (bass). We also had a session
keyboardist on our Japan tour. His name is Bob Katsionis who also has 2
solo instrumental CDs out on Lion Music. I think this guy will be the
next keyboard hero in Japan!! :)
has a new CD called BURNING EARTH which has been out for a little while.
What has been the reaction to the new CD?
I think the new album has sold a bit better than the first one and
the reviews have been really amazing all over the world. Our next goal
is to spread the word by playing and touring everywhere we can!
The CD is a step up from your great debut BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL.
What do you think makes BURNING EARTH a better album than its
I think the arrangement of the songs is better and also the
performances are better. We were more knowledgeable on how to do things
this time around, so it was a much cooler experience. I also think that
the guitar sound is far better than the debut.
The new disc seems heavier and more aggressive than your previous
effort BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL. Was it a conscious effort to make the CD
Maybe a bit. I didn't realize it, until I saw that all my pre
production demos sounded really heavy and aggressive. At the same time we
added more keyboards, but only to give atmosphere and not to soften the
You have also made a video for the track "I Am the
Anger". It is one of the better metal videos that I have seen in
awhile. Can you tell me a little bit about how you chose that particular
song and who directed and came up with the concept etc?
Thanx! We chose "I Am The Anger" cause it's probably the
catchiest and at the same time heaviest tune of the album. The video was
directed by two Greek guys, Angelos Lyrtzis and Argyris Vrettas. The
cool thing about this video is that, while we had a low budget for it,
the guys made it look quite expensive with all the actors involved and
the whole story of the video. I'm very satisfied with it.
"Steal Them Blind" opens the album with a spoken intro
that reminded me quite a bit of Orson Wells and his classic work with
Manowar. How did you come up with the idea for the intro and who is the
Wow, thanx!!! I love this Manowar comparison!! :) The narrator is
Stephen Fredrick. If I remember correct Nordstrom tuned down his voice a
bit on the mixing process. I think it sounds really cool. Originally I
wanted to have a soundtrack type of intro before the actual song starts.
Then David Chastain and Stephen came up with the idea to do this
narration. I'm glad they did it.
One of my favourite songs from the CD is "Brothers
Keeper". It is very melodic yet fits perfectly with the darker
themes that run through the whole CD It is definitely a high point of
BURNING EARTH. Can you tell me a little bit about that song?
Brother's Keeper is also one of my favorites. It was actually the
first song I wrote for BURNING EARTH. I thought it sounded quite
pop/rock and maybe could be used as a CD single release. It's very
Scorpions inspired. :) I think the lyrics are really cool and Stephen's
chorus melody sticks in your mind with the first listen.
What is your favourite song on the CD and why?
I don't have only one favourite song off the CD. I like most of them
the same. I think each song is special and has its own aura.
The CD closes with the dark and melancholy "The Longest
Day" which is dedicated to the "innocents of war". Who
wrote the lyrics and do they deal with a personal experience of the
writer or is it just a general view of our world today?
Those lyrics are written by David Chastain. I always thought that
David was a great lyric writer. The lyrics are just a general view of
our world today with all the wars. We were thinking that this song could
be the anti-war anthem of our times.
The cover artwork is again excellent. Who did the work and does
"BURNING EARTH" have the same cover for its release in each
The cover was made by Japanese artist Kazuo Hakamada. He has done
covers for Symphony X in the past. Yes, the cover is the same on all
territories of the world this time. I didn't want this CD to have
different covers like the first one.
I think I read somewhere that you have never met David Chastain
face to face. Do you think the fact that you have never met personally
hinders in any way your ability to work with each other and get your
ideas across to each other?
Yes, it's true that me and David have never met. While it might sound
funny to some people, we work great together from such a distance!! We
are both open to all ideas and we have a very friendly relationship.
It's very easy to work with David. He has helped the band a lot for
Dream Evil is working on a new album. Can you give the readers an
update on how the recording sessions are going and what your feelings on
the new CD are?
The new Dream Evil album is finished and it's called THE BOOK
OF HEAVY METAL. It's supposed to be released before the summer.
To be honest, I wasn't so much involved on the new album cause I was
very busy with Firewind. However, I wrote a couple of songs and they
came out great. My general feelings are that we made a very good album
and I can't wait until it's released to see the reactions.
What do you see as the big difference between Firewind and Dream
Well, Firewind is a more serious band for sure. Despite its success,
Dream Evil is more like a hobby band. I think this applies to the music
of the 2 bands too.
Do you have a hard time trying to find time to devote to all of
your bands? Do you think there will ever come a time that you will have
put one or more of your bands on the back burner so that you can
concentrate on the others?
That's very possible and it could happen very soon. However, I'm
happy and fine as I am right now, so no worries.
Are you working on anything else now besides the new Dream Evil?
How about a new Mystic Prophecy CD?
Yes, there's a new Mystic Prophecy CD in the works too. We are
planning to record it in May/June and looking at an October release. The
new MP album will complete the Trilogy that started with VENGEANCE and
followed by REGRESSUS.
What is the story with Nightrage? Will there be another album??
Yes, there will be and from what I know Marios is already working on
the new songs. I'm happy to announce that I will go back and play a few
guest solos on their new album. we're also planning to use some songs
that me and Marios wrote a couple of years back.
Gus, you just signed an endorsement deal with ESP guitars. How did
you get in contact with ESP and will there be a signature series guitar
Actually ESP got in touch with me when I was on a promotion tour in
Japan last September promoting BURNING EARTH. I met with their staff and
since I'm not satisfied with the way that Washburn was treating me, I
decided to sign with ESP. They are really professional and cool people.
They're planning to release my signature series guitar at the end of the
year. I'm very happy for that and it's another dream coming true for me.
You seem to move easily around metal circles. Have you seen or
heard any new bands that have caught your attention?
I really like The Darkness. I think they brought the good old hard
rock sound back to the mainstream. It's the perfect mix of Queen, Thin
Lizzy and ACDC. Really cool band for sure!
Do you have anything you would like to say to the readers of
I wish them joy and health and I hope they will check out FIREWIND.
I promise you that I will try my best to get over to the US and Canada
with FW as soon as possible!!!
Stay METAL my friends!!