Don de Leaumont of The Great Southern Brainfart recently conducted an interview with FIREWIND/OZZY OSBOURNE guitarist Gus G.A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Great Southern Brainfart: The coveted guitar slot in Ozzy‘s band is a tough slot to have. Were you met with any resistance from the hardcore fans at all?
Gus: Not at all. Ozzy told me once, “You are the first guy that hasn’t had any shit thrown at him at the gigs.” [laughs]. That was an incredible thing, because I had heard horror stories, but I really can’t complain. The fans have been very nice to me and I also got a lot of support from Zakk Wylde (previous Ozzy guitarist). He’s been giving me props and has been really supportive and that means a lot to me because he’s one of my heroes. I met him while we were on tour and he was very nice and he told me lots of stories. It was cool.
The Great Southern Brainfart: You have definitely joined this list of highly influential guitarists. Does this rank that you’ve come into make you feel like you needed to step it up as a guitar player or did it do little to change you?
Gus: Oh, yeah. It definitely made me want to be a better guitar player. I said to myself, “This is your big chance you’ve definitely got to step it up now.” I think I’m a much better player today than I was two years ago.
The Great Southern Brainfart: Let’s talk about the creative aspect. When you sit down to write and be creative, when that mode kicks in do you say to yourself, “I’m going to write for FIREWIND now” or “I’m going to write for Ozzy now”?
Gus: If I have an idea that may come to me from just fooling around or jamming, I’ll just kind of know. I mean, both bands I’m in play heavy metal, but FIREWIND is so different from Ozzy‘s style. I’ll know if it’s something that’s heavier with a kind of BLACK SABBATH or Ozzy vibe, it would be for him. If it’s got a more speed metal and technical vibe, it’ll definitely be a FIREWIND song. I don’t really have this issue with deciding what to use where. Right now I’m just in the process of being creative. I’m just writing all the riffs that come to my mind and making demos out of them. In the end, I’ll just see what develops into what and which direction it’s going to take me.
The Great Southern Brainfart: Speaking of the creative process, how does the creative process work between you and Ozzy?
Gus: I played guitar on his last album “Scream” and it was a situation where I didn’t get to write stuff because it was already done when I walked in. They just needed a guitar player. I went in and Ozzy was very open and told me, “Just go in and what you gotta do. If you wanna change something, go ahead!” I did change some parts and make them more guitar player style, because the producer wasn’t a real guitar player, but he wrote the songs. While we were on the road, we started writing some stuff together and it sounds really killer. I can’t wait for us to go back into the studio and do another album.
The Great Southern Brainfart: I heard that you had gone to Ozzy and requested that he add “Killer Of Giants” to the set list on the “Scream” tour.
Gus: That’s true. We did “Killer Of Giants” on that tour and Ozzy had forgotten how much he liked that song. He hadn’t played that one since “The Ultimate Sin” tour in 1986. I know he doesn’t have the fondest memories of that album, but I said to him, “This album has so many great songs on it. You have to revisit this one.” He said he didn’t like the way it sounded, but it’s a totally different sound when you play it live. There are some brilliant songs on that album. The mix of that album may sound a bit dated today but the songs are like diamonds.
The Great Southern Brainfart: What other obscure Ozzy classic would you love to see added into the set?
Gus: I was actually on Ozzy‘s ass on the last leg of the tour about playing “S.A.T.O.” [laughs] We actually got him to get in and rehearse it but we never played it live. He’s never played that live [Gus then plays the song for me on his guitar]. That’s such a great song. I hope that we can do it one day. Maybe on the next tour.
The Great Southern Brainfart: C’mon, Gus. You gotta strong-arm him a bit and get him to play that one.
Gus: [laughs] He loves that stuff. He goes back and listens and says, “This is some great fucking stuff, man.” I’m sure we’ll get to do some more obscure songs. I know he’s open to that, because he knows he has the right band to back him up. Whatever he requests and whatever he feels like doing, we’ll do it. We’re there to make him happy.
Read the entire interview from The Great Southern Brainfart.