FIREWINDS's Gus G.
Interviewed by Rick
was with great anticipation that I sat down to gather questions for my
interview with FIREWIND and DREAM EVIL guitarist Gus G. It is safe to
say that this Greek guitar virtuoso has been the six stringer behind 2
of my favourite discs of the year. Everyone knows of his
involvement with Dream Evil but it is Firewind to which many people need
an introduction. Earlier this year FIREWIND released their debut CD on Leviathan
Records called "Between Heaven and Hell". Gus took
the time to fill me in on all the happenings of his busy metal
Gus, you yourself are somewhat familiar to the readers of Metal-Rules.com
as guitarist of the great new band Dream Evil (which we will get back to
later in the interview) which has taken the metal world by storm this
year. You are also in another great band by the name of Firewind.
Can you tell us a little about Firewind? How and where it was started
etc? A little about each member?
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. The vocalist, Stephen Fredrick, is known from his work with
Kenziner. Brian Harris (drums) also played with Kenziner and with other
bands like My Own Victim and Zanister. Konstantine is the only newcomer,
although he's been around the Greek metal scene for years.
Can you describe the sound of Firewind for those who have maybe
never heard your band?
HEAVY METAL!!!That's for sure!! However, we play quite agressive
riffs, but they are combined with a lot of melodies and great vocals.
Also, FIREWIND is a little more guitar oriented band.
Firewind is a great name. I am surprised it has not been used
before. Where did you come up with the name and does it have any special
meaning or significance?
FIREWIND is the title of an Uli Roth album he did with Elecric Sun. I
always thought it was a cool name and I too, was surprised that it
hadn't been used before haha!! Fire is a symbol of power, or a symbol of
"inner fire" within a person, so I think it's a great name for
Firewind has a new CD just released called BETWEEN HEAVEN AND
HELL. Can you tell us a bit a bout the CD? Where it was recorded etc?
This is our debut album and it is released through Leviathan Records
in the US, Massacre in Europe, EMI in Japan and Rock Brigade in
S.America. The album was recorded in 3 diffeent studios.Guitars and bass
were recorded in Greece, drums in Ohio and vocals in Atlanta. It was
mixed in Sweden at Studio Fredman by Fredrik Nordstrom.
Guitar great David Chastain produced this CD and his label
Leviathan Records released the disc. How did you become involved with
David and Leviathan?
Like I mentioned above, I just sent my demos to Leviathan and I got a
reply from David. However, it wasn't an easy process to earn the record
deal! It took me 3 years of hard work!
Mega Producer, Fredrik Nordstrom mixed BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL.
Why did you choose him to do this? I know you are band mates in Dream
Evil but was there any other reason?
I didn't choose Fredrik to mix the CD because we're band mates. I
chose him cause he's the best!
A favourite song of mine on the CD is "I Will Fight
Alone". Can you talk a little about that song and any other
favourites you might have on the disc?
Actually, that song was supposed to be a "love metal"
song!!! That's the original idea I had. When Stephen came up with new
lyrics and melodies, it turned into a monster metal track!! I'm grateful
for that. Some of the songs I really like on the album are, Warrior,
Tomorrow can wait, Firewind Raging and Oceans.
The cover art for the European and North American released of
BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL are different. Can you tell why that is? Which
do you prefer?
I definitely prefer the European cover version. I don't like the
American cover at all. However, it wasn't up to me to decide. And that's
the original cover! Massacre came up with their own cover for the
European release, cause they obviously hated the other cover as well.
Will there be a tour to support BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL? If yes,
will you be doing any dates in North America and if no.. why not?
We will try to tour for this album, but no confirmed dates yet. I
think it would be very hard to play in North America, as the market for
our type of music is very small.
If you had the chance to choose one band, any band in the world,
for Firewind to open for on a tour who would it be and why?
Probably the Scorpions. They are my favourite band!!
You are also a member of 2 other great bands. Dream Evil and
Mystic Prophecy. Lets start with Dream Evil. How did you get hooked up
with Fredrik Nordstrom for the Dream Evil Project?
First of all Dream Evil IS NOT a project! It's a full time band and a
touring band. I started the band with Fredrik in 1999, after I met him
in Greece where he was on vacation. I took a trip to Sweden and we
started writing some songs and it clicked from there. I believe this
story is already familiar, as Fredrik has done an interview with Metal
Rules.com (you can find that interview HERE)
How big was your involvement with the "Dragonslayer"
CD? Were you involved with the songwriting at all or were you
strictly there to play guitar?
All members of Dream Evil are songwriters and everybody writes in the
band. I believe you're getting the impression that I was a "hired
gun" in Dream Evil, but whoever thinks that, is totally wrong!
:) (actually I didn't think that at all!!) Dream Evil has 5
equal in everything, band members.
You are 20 years old? How does he feel playing in a band with
older guys? Was it intimidating to play with guys like Snowy Shaw who
have been around forever?
I just turned 22 actually. I have always been hanging out with older
guys than me, so it doesn't feel strange to play with older guys. I was
always the young guy in every band I've played in my life haha!! In the beginning
it was hard to believe that I was in the rehearsal room with Snowy Shaw,
but now I'm used to it haha!! Anyway, we're good friends and we have a
great time, that's another cool thing in the band: That we all hang out
and we're a great company. We love to be on the road cause we have so
Dream Evil has played many of the major festivals this summer in
Europe. Many of the writers here at Metal-Rules.com saw your performance
at The Wacken Open Air Festival and said it was amazing. What was it
like to play one of the premier metal festivals and how was it
playing on the WET STAGE as opposed to the one of the larger stages?
Playing in Wacken was a dream coming true!!! I didn't really care
that we played the smallest stage, as it was packed with people anyway
and we had an amazing crowd!! I'm not worried about playing the larger
stages, the time will come soon for that too!!!
I just read that Dream Evil is in pre-production for your next CD.
How is it coming along and will it be any different from your last
Yes, we've added some hip hop elements in our music for the second
album.......I hope you didn't buy that haha!!!!!!!! (of course we
didn't!! *lol*) Anyway, it's too early to make further statements
for the new material, all I can say is that it's gonna be very METAL!
You are also in another band called Mystic Prophecy. Is that band
still active and if so do you plan on releasing a follow up to VENGEANCE
Yes, that band is still active, and we have our second album
finished. It's titled "Blood Omen" and we're currently
looking for a new record deal.
You are in three bands, all quite similar in style, all in the
last year or so. Do you feel you might be spreading yourself too thin in
terms of time to commit to each band for touring and writing?
FIREWIND and DREAM EVIL are my full time bands and priorities in
life. Mystic Prophecy is a project that we do, whenever we have time, as
the other guys are in other full time bands as well.
How long have you been playing guitar and are you self-taught or
did you take lessons? Did you practice a lot to become so good?
I started playing guitar when I was 10. I took formal lessons in a
conservatory in Greece. I also went to Berklee for a while, but I
dropped out. Of course I practiced a lot to become good!!! I actually
didn't leave my room until I was 17 years old or something. I was always
practicing!!! My parents must have thought that I have a serious brain
problem after a while haha!!
What other guitar players, musicians and bands have influenced
your guitar playing and was their one musician who made you want to
learn to play guitar?
I picked up the guitar because of Peter Frampton and Al di Meola. However,
when I was 14, I was playing Sabbath songs and cool stuff like that, but
when I heard Malmsteen's Trilogy I was floored!!!! I couldn't
believe my ears! So, I guess Yngwie was one of the main reasons that I
practiced like a madman for years.....Other great guitarists I love are
Michael Schenker, Uli Roth, John Norum, Vinnie Moore, Gary Moore and of
course Jimi Hendrix
You just finished recording a solo CD for Leviathan Records? Can
you speak a little about that CD and how it came about?
The Diginet Guitar Master CD, was a fun thing for me. I was
curious to see how all the other guitarists would interpret the same
songs, so I went for it. My guitar sound was not particularly good on
that CD, as I recorded the guitars in my home studio, but there's some
cool playing in there. I mostly improvised throughout the CD and did
everything in a few takes, as opposed to some of the other guitarists,
where they worked out the parts and created melodies, etc. A very cool
When some of the guitar players on staff heard that I was
interviewing you they wanted to know what kind of gear you use? What
brand of guitars and what effects, amps etc that you use both live and
in the studio?
I endorse and exclusively use nowadays Washburn guitars, Randall amps
and DR strings. I don't use any effects, I just plug in and play. I have
2 Washburn CP-2003 Explorers and a Randall 200 Watt head full stack. My
string gauge is 10-13-18-28-38-50. In the studio I have used different
amps and guitars. I have recorded most of my albums with ENGL and
Marshall amps. Before the Washburns I was playing a Fender Stratocaster
classic Floyd Rose model, which is my first axe, by the way.I have used
it on all of my releases.
This is something I don't usually ask but again the guitar
players wanted to know if you could rate the following players and make
a comment about each if you wish?
10/10! I think he saved the guitar world back in
9/10. Totally out of this world guitarist! I love Passion
7/10. Not a great player, but he's in Judas Priest damn
Same with KK.
8/10. The best guitarist Maiden ever had.
I was never a fan of his, I'm not really familiar with
his style ,therefore I won't rate him.
9/10. A true cult guitar hero! For Those Who Dare
still remains one of my favourite albums! Very underrated guitarist, to
9/10. Brilliant guitarist and great musician!
Stevie Ray Vaughn
10/10! One of the best!!!
Not familiar with his music or style.
9/10. A true master! His work with Ozzy is
9/10. Never a big fan of his, but he's one of the best
in his genre.
10/10. Simply the man who invented Rock guitar.
Definitely more old school player than me, but he
plays excellent hard rock style in the vein of AC/DC and Scorpions.
You are from Greece yet you have lived the U.S. and currently
reside in Sweden I believe? Do you see a difference in the popularity of
metal between Sweden and Greece and what are the differences in the
metal scenes in both countries?
I think in Greece we have a warmer and bigger fan base, but not so
many active bands or very famous bands. In Sweden it's total opposite:
They have a lot of great bands, but not such a strong fan base. Weird,
I think thatıs about it for now Gus. Is there anything else you
would like to say to the readers of Metal-Rules.com?
Yes, a big THANK YOU to everyone for your support, it means a
Thanks for your time Gus!