FIREWIND recently made waves across the US once again with their stellar new disc ‘Days of Defiance’ and the ensuing headline tour that rocked the states alongside Powerglove and The Absence. Now, as GUS G treks across North America playing with the icon OZZY OSBOURNE, he will take a break from his busy schedule and host tonight’s edition of Headbangers Ball on MTV2.
Ruisrock celebrated its 40th anniversary in sunny Ruissalo. Although the festival lineup included mostly domestic artists, there were lots of interesting foreign names as well such as the legendary Ozzy Osbourne, former Guns’n Roses guitarist Slash, Arch Enemy, and Amon Amarth represented the heavier side while there were also a long list of bands from pop, punk, prog and alternative worlds as well. Such names as: Billy Talent, Canned Heat, NOFX, Flogging Molly and the Sounds show clearly how versatile the festival Ruisrock is and that mix seems to work out well. Altogether there were over 70,000 visitors in Ruisrock during three days.
Llexi Leon, creator of the multi-media concept Eternal Descent, conducted an interview with FIREWIND/OZZY OSBOURNE guitarist Gus G. shortly before Ozzy Osbourne’s July 3, 2010 performance at the iTunes festival at London, England’s Roundhouse. Watch the chat below.
Gus G. is featured in the third issue of the gothic comic book series Eternal Descent, slated for publication later this month. The issue features a storyline inspired by guitar hero Gus G. who helps ETERNAL DESCENT characters Lyr and Sirian race against time to save Apollo and the rest of the band from the dissonant call of the Damned.
Gus G. - Eternal Descent
The comic book will be available at comic book stores worldwide through Diamond Distribution.
Llexi Leon recruits ESP artists for cameo appearances in the Eternal Descent comic which is inspired by a host of iconic metal musicians.
The launch issue came out on March 31, 2010, with subsequent issues to be released every 4-6 weeks.
Eternal Descent spotlights GOD FORBID guitarist Doc Coyle in issue 2, and Gus G. of FIREWIND and OZZY OSBOURNE in issue 3. Other bands — including STATIC-X, ATREYU, CHILDREN OF BODOM, and SOULFLY — are slated for cameo appearances in upcoming issues.
“Llexi Leon really caught my attention when I met him at NAMM, and he described his vision of combining actual rock dudes in his comic book series and doing an issue with each one,” explains Gus G. “I immediately asked him if we can be in one of his books and that’s how the whole thing started. It’s incredible! I feel Llexi has done a great job in capturing all of the band members’ characters.”
To view images from the Eternal Descent comic book issue #3 featuring Gus G., go to this location.
Eternal Descent, ESP Guitars Sponsor Gus G. Guitar Contest
Win an LTD GUS-600NT Guitar Played and Signed by FIREWIND / Ozzy Osbourne Guitarist Gus G.
London, UK – Eternal Descent and ESP Guitars have once again joined forces to sponsor a contest to win a guitar – an LTD GUS-600NT ESP guitar played and signed by Gus G. of Ozzy Osbourne. The LTD GUS-600NT Guitar has a light alder body with a flamed maple top, a maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard, Sperzel locking tuners, Tonepros bridge/tailpiece, Seymour Duncan Distortion (bridge) and ’59 (neck) pickups with a set-thru construction at 25.5″ scale. Contest entries are accepted from now until August 31, 2010 at http://www.eternaldescent.com/contest/. A winner will be randomly selected from all entries. One entry per person.
In the latest issue of Eternal Descent, you saw Gus G. using his random star-shaped Signature Series guitar to battle the hordes. In real life, you can see Gus playing his Signature ESP in the latest Ozzy Osbourne videos and onstage at Ozzfest.
“Llexi Leon really caught my attention when I met him at NAMM, and he described his vision of combining actual rock dudes in his comic book series and doing an issue with each one,” explains guitarist Gus G. “I immediately asked him if we can be in one of his books and that’s how the whole thing started. It’s incredible! I feel Llexi has done a great job in capturing all of the band members’ characters.”
The Eternal Descent comic book series is inspired by and features cameos from a host of iconic metal musicians including the bands Atreyu, Firewind, Shadows Fall, and Static X, among others. Issue 3 featuring Gus G. is available at comic retailers listed here: http://www.eternaldescent.com/events/Issue-3-Worldwide
Llexi Leon, the created of the Eternal Descent comic book, began making noise in London, England in2005. His highly intricate guitar style exhibits the many influences corralled to create his intense sound – from classical, flamenco, electronica, and ambient genres to the more prominent genres of rock and metal. All of these genres infused to one, Leon has built a cinematic metal fantasia with his music which has branched out to a comic book series. His main aspirations are bringing stories to life through escapism. He utilizes everyday events and his vivid imagination to drive him to create more avenues for his multimedia enterprise.
Thanks to Century Media Records for providing the promo pictures and thanks to Jenny Walroth at Century Media Scandinavia for setting up the interview.
Here is an interview I did with bass player Peter Stalfors in the Swedish heavy metal act Dream Evil. The interview was done in Lund when they stopped by to do a show as support act to Stratovarious earlier this year. It was a really long time ago since I last spoke with the band members so I had a lot to talk to Peter about. But due to the time limit we mostly talked about the new album IN THE NIGHT, the new members, the tour and of course what Peter thinks the future has in store for Gothenburg’s finest act Dream Evil.
On the day of Firewind’s Chicago show of the TYRANNY AND BLOODSHRED tour 2008 I got to speak with guitar whiz Gus G. He was running a bit late, but such is the case with a travelling band dealing with tight time schedules, setups, sound checks, and interviews. I spoke with Gus about touring in North America, guitar playing, song writing, etc.
One of the front-runners of US Power Metal, Kamelot kicked off their second European tour in support of THE GHOST OPERA here in London. Billed as the Rule The World Tour 2008, this time they bring along guitar virtuoso Gus G and his band Firewind, who are perennial favourites here in London, and are always guaranteed a good reception. Opening for them are Forever Slave, a Spanish goth metal band, who stepped in to replace Visions of Atlantis at the last minute. Incidentally, the last time Kamelot were in London, Sean Tibbetts, standing in for regular bassist Glenn Barry, dislocated his knee. It gives a new meaning to the theatrical community’s phrase “Break a leg!”, so I’ll go for a simple “Good luck” tonight. And so, ladies and gentlemen and people at the front, welcome all to curtain call!
Hmmm. Think uninspired gothic metal, with dominatrix overtones, the only novelty being the full-length leather thing the singer was wearing and the slight hint of techno in their music. The riffs were nothing, the singing wasn’t great either – she had a squeaky (bordering on screechy) voice from what I remember. The only attraction was Lady Angellyca herself – she had the foxy temptress moves down to the ground! Between the slinky hip waggling and seductive butt shaking, I am willing to bet that not many people noticed the music either. Thankfully (or regrettably? I was torn – bad music but sexy chick, answers on a postcard please) they only played four songs, a less than 20 minute set, although they were scheduled to play 7 songs.
(don’t know which songs were played)
Dreams & Dust
This was my third time seeing them here in London, and the reception they get is always astounding. They always put on a balls-out and exciting show, and with the girls drooling over the dashing Greeks and the guys drooling over Gus G’s flashing fingers, it’s a good combo. With the number of Firewind shirts in the audience from the previous tour, I got the impression that the support act might have at least equalled the headliners in terms of fans.
They kicked off with ‘Into The Fire’ and ‘Head Up High’. Although the mix sounded okay from the photo pit, it sounded awful when I moved out back later. I couldn’t hear Bob’s guitar over Gus’ guitar, Petro’s bass and Mark’s drums. Apollo’s voice seemed way too far back, and weak. It was a pity because the band looked in fine form and really energetic. Gus’ guitar solos drew audible oohs and aahs from the audience, while Bob matched him on both keys and guitars. Apollo isn’t a great singer, but he’s pretty dynamic and he led the crowd in chanting, clapping, including a bit of the old “whoah” echo game. Mark Cross brought some great humour to the proceedings, including blowing an airhorn at the end of ‘The Silent Code’, and playing with LED tipped drum sticks, which I must say made his stick twirls look pretty damn impressive!
For ‘Warrior’, Apollo had to rely on a printed lyric sheet taped to one of the monitors. Incidentally, while I was taking a photo of the setlist (can’t rely on memory these days), security tapped me on the shoulder and told me to stop it. I was surprised (and pissed off), but when I checked my camera later, I found that the lyrics to ‘Warrior’ had been taped next to the setlist. Come on Apollo, nothing to be ashamed of! You didn’t write the damn song, it was from the first album BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL, you weren’t even in the band yet! I found it quite amusing, like I said, no shame in singing from a lyric sheet. Even Rob Halford does it from time to time.
The intro to ‘Falling to Pieces’ got a great reception and the crowd started bouncing and singing, drawing grins from the band. Bob relinquished his guitar to focus on his keyboards for the closer, the intensely catchy ‘Mercenary Man’. Apollo toasted the crowd for making their first night on tour a special experience, which was rather nice. I always enjoy Firewind, they mix up good rocking fun with good rocking tunes, and it helps that the band are enthusiastic and personable. I saw Apollo come out to watch Kamelot during their set, I reckon he’s still a fan at heart. I have no doubts that were Firewind to headline at bigger venues that they would pull the crowds.
Into the Fire
Head Up High
I Am The Anger
The Silent Code
Falling To Pieces
Kamelot has always been regarded very highly by power metal fans seeking a bit more ‘epic’ and a bit less ‘happy’. I must admit to never having gotten too much into this band, as evidenced by my review of THE GHOST OPERA last year. However, looking back, my review was way too harsh when I was listening to the album again in preparation for the gig. It’s a very good album, just took a bit of time to sink in. Consider this review an atonement for my sins. THE FOURTH LEGACY and BLACK HALO remain my favourite Kamelot albums though.
As the lights descended into total darkness, a tall beautiful female stepped out into the middle of the stage and proceeded to play the violin intro of ‘Solitaire’. She later turned out to be backing vocalist as well, but we weren’t told her name unfortunately. ‘Rule The World’ got a raucous reception with Roy Khan striding the stage with absolute confidence and belting out the lines. He’s a pretty awe-inspiring frontman, and he has the habit of standing on the monitors as if attempting to transcend the barrier between him and the crowd. In doing so, he towers majestically over us as we fall under the spell of his voice.
Two songs from THE BLACK HALO follow, and Roy claims that this is the first time they’ve played ‘Pendulous Fall’ live, a World Premiere, he calls it (and not the last of the night either). “Okay, we’re gonna slow it down now”, and ‘Abandoned’ begins with the piano intro, to which the crowd starts clapping in time. A few isolated lighters make an appearance, while Roy shows off the range and dynamicism of his voice. The girls in the crowd are melting…And it’s the boys’ turn when the female singer starts her turn. Vocals-wise this was the performance of the night, along with…okay I won’t spoil it for you, read on.
It’s too bad the sound was pretty crap from where I was standing. Thomas Youngblood’s guitars were pretty weak sounding and could really only be heard when he was soloing. His riffs seemed to dissolve into the wall of bass and drums. Even Roy wasn’t easily heard over everything else. It’s such a shame, as his rich voice really deserves a good mix. A song like ‘Abandoned’ showed what he was truly capable of.
‘The Human Stain’ capped the first half of the show. While Roy left the stage, the rest of the band kept warm by having a jam session, starting with a flash solo by Tom. Keyboards then drums took their turn. Roy comes back to kick off the second half, beginning with the fourth BLACK HALO song of the evening, ‘Serenade’, which is also the second World Premiere of the night! Wonderful. It’s an uptempo number showing off Roy’s upper registers, and he just about kicks ass.
Next up was the ‘Elizabeth’ trilogy, all 11 minutes of it, prompting emotional singing from Roy and some enthusiastic air guitar from eager members of the audience. The band took a break, leaving keyboardist Oliver to entertain the crowd. Well, it sounded like piano lounge music anyway. ‘Forever’ was made memorable by the crowd singing the lead guitar intro line, and then singing their hearts out some more during the chorus. Would they have any voice left by the end of the night? At the end, Roy challenged the crowd to a bit of a singalong. “Are you ready for some singing? Are you ready to lift this building off the ground?” Impossible vocal range for the hoarse crowd, who sang gamely anyway.
The third World Premiere of the night, ‘Edenecho’ was accompanied by the lovely violin player. The band left the stage, but the stamping, catcalls, whistles and cheering brought them back out again, for “Ghost Opera” which got backing vocals from both the violinist and the deafening audience. ‘Karma’ was the penultimate song, and no Kamelot show is complete without ‘March of Mephisto’, with Shagrath’s vocals on a backing track. It was an overall great performance from the band, and though some of the crowd were unhappy with the no-camera policy, I doubt any of them left with anything other than satisfaction last night.
Thanks to Jenny Walroth at Century Media Sweden for setting up the interview and Century Media for the promo pictures
Now it’s time to once again talk to Gus G from Firewind and check out what he’s been up to since our last talk. Firewind has recently released their new studio album ALLEGIANCE. Well let’s hear what Gus G has to say…
Here is an interview that I?ve done with Marios from the band Nightrage. Nightrage have recently released their second album on Century Media and I asked him, of course, about the new album, about the member changes, about tour plans and what?s going to happen to Nightrage in the future.
Interviewed by Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Jenny Walroth at Century Media Sweden for help with the interview
Thanks to Century Media for Promo pictures of the band
Thanks to Jenny Walroth at Century Media Sweden for help with the interview Thanks to Century Media for Promo pictures of the band
Gus G., guitar player and leader of Firewind, who recently released their third album FORGED BY FIRE had the kindness to answer my questions about Firewind, their new album, his appearances in Nightrage, and his previous band Dream Evil. Nightrage is about to release their follow up to their brilliant debut “SWEET VENGEANCE”.
Mystic Prophecy has recently released their third album “NEVER ENDING”. I?ve got in touch with lead singer R. D. Liapakis to ask some questions about the new album, about the band in general and a little about their plans for the future.