OZZY OSBOURNE and FIREWIND guitarist Gus G. (real name: Kostas Karamitroudis) was interviewed on the August 16-18 edition of Full Metal Jackie‘s nationally syndicated radio show. You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below.
To see a full list of stations carrying the program and when it airs, go to FullMetalJackieRadio.com.
Full Metal Jackie: FIREWIND celebrated its 10th anniversary by releasing a live album called “Apotheosis – Live 2012″ and it’s sort of an end of a chapter in the FIREWIND story. It’s an overview of the first 10 years of recorded music and a farewell to singer Apollo [Papathanasio]. So is now a good time to think of taking the band in different direction?
Gus: Good question. I haven’t thought of it, actually. I haven’t thought how the future is going to be for the band. Right now we are touring with our new singer, Kelly Carpenter, who is actually an American guy who lives in Belgium, so he’s close to Europe. You know, it’s going really good with him and we’ll see what happens. I can’t image that the next music we will put out will be somewhat different, but I guess it will be great, too. You have to keep your own identity somehow.
Full Metal Jackie: Gus, you formed the band and you’re one of the members from the beginning. Many people regard FIREWIND as your band kind of like your other gig where it’s Ozzy‘s band. What’s the most important lesson you have learned from him about being a leader?
Gus: Ozzy is a leader but he’s the best player and he makes everyone feel special. He gives everyone the spotlight. He’s a team player. He’s such a professional guy and it’s been amazing to tour with him. He’s the first guy to show up and the last guy to leave. You wouldn’t expect that, right? But he still does it and still has such a passion after 40-plus years.
Full Metal Jackie: Did you ever think in a million years that you would play in a band with Ozzy Osbourne?
Gus: Never in a million years; just like you said it. I mean, come on, you know being from Greece, you don’t even think about it, like even when I got called to do the audition and I was like, “I probably won’t get the gig, but…”
Full Metal Jackie: But at least you get to say you got to audition for Ozzy.
Gus: Exactly! I will have the coolest story for my friends and whoever for life. Like, hey I got to jam with Ozzy for a few songs. Little did I know.
Full Metal Jackie: How do you feel about the difference between the fans here and the fans out there in the U.K.?
Gus: I think it’s very similar. I mean, American audiences know their metal and love their metal. You know, it’s the same in the U.K. I mean, you’re from here, so you spot differences but for me I see a lot of similarities. They are both passionate and love going crazy at the concerts, that is for sure.
Full Metal Jackie: Gus, your formative musical influences are a wide range of styles from progressive infusion to classic rock. What has been invaluable from coming from a diverse background in terms of the music you make now?
Gus: What sums up my style is, I have such a love for hard rock and the ’70s and ’80s. But also blending it with the modern stuff. Obviously I’m from the newer generation. I guess that’s what I’ve been trying to do all these years; mix it up. Have that classic rock or classic heavy metal vibe into the stuff I’m doing now.
Full Metal Jackie: You had a solo record coming out. What are you working on?
Gus: I’m working on my first solo album. It’s going to be something completely different from what I’ve been doing with FIREWIND. It’ll be more on the classic rock vibe, or straightforward rock and roll. There’s going to be some instrumentals with some different singers on it; special guests. I’ve been out here tracking drums in L.A. Now I’m going to go home and start tracking guitars.
Full Metal Jackie: You’ve played with everyone from ARCH ENEMY to DREAM EVIL, IN THIS MOMENT and many others. How does being so active musically benefit what you bring to FIREWIND?
Gus: I don’t know. Does it bring anything? I guess for me, I would think of myself as a musicians who can adapt to different situations depending on whatever band I’m jamming with.
Full Metal Jackie: There’s got to be different dynamics in every band you’ve ever guested in.
Gus: There is. You can’t compare anything with a band like ARCH ENEMY with FIREWIND. Obviously, it was a much heavier band, more brutal stuff. But I think I’ve been learning from each band I’ve played with. That’s helped me shape my sound and my style. I think somehow I hope some of that reflects what I’m doing with FIREWIND. Although that falls into a different genre.
Full Metal Jackie: What are you plans for the rest of the summer and beyond?
Gus: We actually played a bunch of festivals over in Europe and we’ve been gigging, doing festivals since late April. Now July was a break for us but we’re going back to do a few festivals again in Europe; Bloodstock and Summer Breeze. Then I think there are talks about going to Australia. We had that tour but we postponed it, it was supposed to happen last April. So, I’m hoping we’ll be putting that back together and announcing some Australian shows at the tail end of the year. In between I’ll just be finishing recording my solo project.