New OZZY OSBOURNE Guitarist GUS G.: It's An 'Honor' To Step Into ZAKK WYLDE's Shoes

This month's issue of the Greek edition of Metal Hammer magazine features an exclusive interview with FIREWIND guitarist Gus G. about his current stint as the lead axeman in OZZY OSBOURNE's solo band. Gus explains how he came to be considered for the position, discusses his first audition with the Prince Of Darkness and expresses his admiration for Zakk Wylde, whom he replaced in Ozzy's group. Read on for some of Gus G.'s quotes from the interview. (Original Greek-language quotes translated for BLABBERMOUTH.NET by Hakos Pervanidis.)

On how the whole thing came about:

Gus: "I got a message on my MySpace page from Rob 'Blasko', Ozzy's bass player, asking me what was doing, if was living in America or not and saying that he wanted to talk to me. I never thought he'd want me for something like that [playing with Ozzy]. I initially thought that maybe he wanted to talk to me about doing a project or something and then he told me that one of Ozzfest's managers was looking for me. The manager said that they wanted me to fly out to Los Angeles immediately for a show that Ozzy was about to do in Anaheim, California."

On his first audition in Los Angeles:

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Gus: "I went to the studio and they asked me to start playing right away. I met Ozzy's band first — the bass player and the drummer — and we jammed for quite some time, just to 'feel' each other's playing. While we were playing, Ozzy showed up and started to sing the songs, thus giving a huge boost to the whole thing. When it ended, everybody else came into the room and shut the door behind them — Ozzy, Sharon [Osbourne, Ozzy's wife/manager], the band, the managers… You can imagine how anxious I was feeling at this time! Then they came out and said that I got the job and that we're gonna play that BlizzCon show together."

His thoughts on Zakk Wylde:

Gus: "Zakk is a tremendous guitar player, just like all the guys that have played with Ozzy. In fact, Zakk is my favorite Ozzy guitar player ever and my biggest influence of them all! It's quite an honor for me to step into his shoes."

On the treatment he's going to give to all the Ozzy classics:

Gus: "Ozzy has had all those great guitar players in his band over the years and each one of them had a different approach to playing the songs, whether it was Tony Iommi, Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee or Zakk Wylde. I studied all those approaches quite thoroughly. You have to respect those songs and play them the way people want to hear them. Should I turn 'Crazy Train' into a power metal song? No way, man!"

On the future of FIREWIND, Gus G.'s own band:

Gus: "People shouldn't worry about the future of FIREWIND at all. We'll enter the studio in the autumn and we'll hopefully release a new album early next year. My co-operation with Ozzy doesn't take anything away from FIREWIND; on the contrary, it will gives it a whole new boost."

Read the full interview in this month's issue of the Greek Metal Hammer magazine and find out the reason Gus G. thinks he was chosen to play with Osbourne, his feelings about Ozzy as a person, his impression of the BlizzCon show, his opinion about the other guitar players Ozzy has played with over the years and the material for Ozzy's upcoming studio album.

To order a copy of the magazine, write to [email protected].

Ozzy issued a statement on August 21 confirming reports that longtime Osbourne musicians Wylde and Mike Bordin (drums) would not be joining him for the BlizzCon performance due to their current touring commitments with BLACK LABEL SOCIETY and FAITH NO MORE, respectively.

In addition to his current axe-slinging duties with FIREWIND, Gus (real name: Kostas Karamitroudis) has played in MYSTIC PROPHECY, NIGHTRAGE, ARCH ENEMY and DREAM EVIL.

Video footage of Gus G.'s first show with OZZY OSBOURNE at BlizzCon 2009 on August 22, 2009 in Anaheim, California:

(Thanks: Hakos Pervanidis / Metal Hammer)

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