During a recent conversation in the podcast ‘That Metal Interview,’ former Ozzy Osbourne and current Firewind guitarist Gus G., discussed his process of learning Osbourne’s song list and revealed who was the guitarist he struggled to imitate.
As you know, Gus G. was the lead guitarist of Ozzy Osbourne’s band from 2009 until 2017 and his first live appearance with Ozzy was at the 2009 BlizzCon. The Greek guitarist is currently performing with Firewind, the band he founded in 1998, which has become a world-renown power metal band.
In his recent interview, Gus was asked to give details about his time with Ozzy Osbourne and reveal the guitarist he struggled to imitate when he was learning Osbourne’s song list both before the audition and while rehearsing for their tours.
The people that Gus G. had to follow the footsteps of were Jake E. Lee, Zakk Wylde, and deceased Randy Rhoads. Having to perform at their level must have been hard for Gus G. and during the interview, he was asked to name the guitarist he found most difficult to imitate.
Gus G. said that he cannot name a specific person and that he didn’t face difficulties but what he felt was curiosity. He stated that there weren’t a lot of sources from the ’80s as they didn’t have the technologies we have today. So, what he did was search, listen, and learn things by ear.
However, he also shared this process was not that difficult as he grew up listening to them, and thus, everything he worked on was already familiar to him. He added that his guitar playing is actually rooted in guys such as Rhoads, Jake E. Lee, and Zakk.
Gus G. then went on to explain the unique styles of each of the guitar players mentioned above. He explained how Zakk Wilde’s ‘bluesy country style’ guitar playing encouraged Gus to work on his European-sounding guitar playing.
He also mentioned that Randy Rhoads’ attention to detail in his guitar playing encouraged him to play more carefully so that he can do justice to the classic heavy metal songs that he and millions have grown up enjoying.
Here’s what the interviewer asked:
“When it came down to learning his song list – Ozzy’s got a long list, of course – who was the guitar player which was the hardest to imitate? [Randy] Rhoads, Jake E. Lee, Zakk [Wylde]?”
To which Gus G. responded:
“I think they all had their – not difficult moments I would say, but stuff that you were like, ‘Oh, I wonder how he did that,’ and all that. Because there was not much, back in the ’80s and stuff, it’s not like you had tabs for everything – or all this video footage that you have today. But obviously, I learned a lot of stuff by searching and listening to a lot by ear. For me, I grew up listening to that, so it felt very familiar.
My playing is, if you dissect it, it has roots into guys like them, guys like Randy, and Zakk, and Jake E. Lee, and all that stuff. It’s not like I struggled to learn all the stuff because it was part of my musical vocabulary and part of my background.”
He went on to say:
“But with that said, all of his players, all the guitar players in that band, had a very unique style. Zakk Wilde – his sound is very kind of like Southern Pentatonic kind of bluesy country style. And obviously, I’m more of a European-sounding guitar player. So I kind of had to dig into that a little bit.
And then Randy Rhoads, he had a lot of details in his playing that you should watch out for because you want to do those classic songs justice. But I enjoy playing all this stuff, man.”
You can watch the podcast below and click here for the source.