GUITARIST GUS G. DISCUSSES HIS NEW INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM, “QUANTUM LEAP,” AND HIS TIME WORKING WITH OZZY OSBOURNE
Greg Prato of Guitar World spoke with former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Gus G., highlights from the interview appear below.
Guitar World: Let’s start with your new album, Quantum Leap – what was the idea behind this record?
Gus G.: The big difference to my previous solo records is that first of all, it’s instrumental – all-instrumental. So, there’s no singers – like in the past, I did collaborations with different singers.
This is the first time I’m branching out to do a “full-on rock guitar record,’” so to speak…
Guitar World: How would you compare writing an all-instrumental song versus one that is going to have vocals?
Gus G.: It was different…Because in instrumental music, you have to fill up that space that the vocals are taking up. So, you can do that either with melodies, or it can be harmonies, or just different layers of musical parts or whatever. It’s like a whole new ballpark – it was interesting for me.
I was always kind of scared of doing that…For me, it was more of a matter of finding the balance between the melodies, the hooks, and to avoid making it a boring album that is 45 minutes full of “widdly widdly.” [Laughs].
Guitar World: How did you get the gig with Ozzy?
Gus G.: Somebody reached out from the management back then. They just emailed me and said, ‘Would you be interested in doing an audition?’ “Yeah, sure!”
I learned a bunch of songs and they flew me out to LA, and we went into a rehearsal room. I got to meet everybody and we played for a couple of hours. Then Ozzy came in and we jammed for a bit. I think I got the gig on the spot – right there.
He was like, “Yeah! You’re f–king great, man!” They went into this other room and had a meeting really quickly – with Sharon [Osbourne], assistants, and whoever else was there – and they came back and said, “You did great. Would you like and come back and do a show with us?” And I was like, “Hell yeah!”
I think the first show was the BlizzCon Convention. That was probably like a “tryout show.” And then they were like, “You did great. Do you want to come back and do another one?” We did another festival, and then before I know it, I was over at his place, and he was playing me the new stuff he was working on, and I ended up staying there and recording the guitars for the album.”
Guitar World: Which Ozzy songs were most fun to play live?
Gus G.: For me, it was probably Bark at the Moon. I just love that on.
Guitar World: How did you find out you were no longer in Ozzy’s band?
Gus G.: Sharon called me at home. I was kind of expecting it…She called me in Greece, and said, “I just wanted to let you know personally, so you don’t find out online, we’re going to do the Farewell Tour, and [Zakk [Wylde] is coming back for that.” And I was like, “No worries at all. No problem.” And I thanked her for everything they had done for me. We’re still on good terms, so, no problem at all.
Guitar World: What are your future plans?
Gus G.: Maybe play some shows for a change. I’m focusing on getting Firewind together for that 20th anniversary tour next year. I’m probably going to do some more writing. Working on my own pickup company. So, there’s a lot of stuff that I’ve got my hands on.
Read more at Guitar World.
Quantum Leap is out on October 8th and available for preorder now.
Gus G is a great guitarist. I’m sure it’s difficult being the guitarist in Ozzy’s band cuz of the legacy Gus had to follow…..Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee, Zakk Wylde….right or wrong, any Ozzy guitarist will automatically be compared to these legends.
I’ve long suspected Zakk would end up back with Ozzy. They had great songwriting chemistry, they parted amicably, and Zakk is a larger than life character. Like a shredding viking with a great sense of humor. I’m sure Gus is great, but the chemistry just wasn’t there. Being in Ozzy’s band requires very high expectations and some very big shoes to fill. Ozzy, David Coverdale and DLR know how to find great guitarists imo. Wouldn’t it have been funny if George Lynch got the call, because Ozzy wanted to make up for unceremoniously dropping him decades ago. 😉
I`ve seen all the guitarists in Ozzy’s band, and Gus, was the one guy I felt didn’t gel with Ozzy at all.
I went to a ozzfest when gus was the guitarist, and was looking forward to seeing what he had, I wasn’t too impressed. It seemed like, maybe, a hasty decision by ozzy in hiring him. They did bring out this guy for the encore at the end of the show and he killed it.
I didn’t get to see Ozzman with Gus. But besides seeing Ozzy with Zakk, I did see Joe Holmes filling in on guitar during an Ozzfest in , I think 97’.
Moreover, I thought Zakk was suppose to get back with Ozzy for his latest album Ordinary Man? Glad to see there might be one more chance to see them together.