Greg Prato for spoke with guitarist Gus G, the interview appear in its entirety below. Was there anything challenging in performing [Black] Sabbath songs and Tony Iommi’s parts or tone with Ozzy [Osbourne]?

Gus G: I couldn’t replicate the exact tone obviously, because I have my own gear and it will never be exactly the same. And that was not the task, anyways. But I wanted to stay as close to the originals as possible and recreate the spirit, if you’d like.

Obviously, I play different guitars than Tony Iommi or any other previous Ozzy guitarists. Different guitars, different amps, different pickups, everything was slightly different. And you will put on your own personal touch, because whoever is playing the songs, their own personality will come out. But my goal was to try to stick to the originals and recreate the vibe and the spirit. And he thought that it sounded great and so did a lot of fans. And what about replicating Randy Rhoads’ parts?

Gus G: A lot of his stuff is challenging. He had a very unique phrasing, and even the fast runs that he did, he had a very distinguished way the way he played everything. And very detailed. I tried to learn everything as close as possible. Of course, there were little bits and pieces there that I added my own thing, my own flavor to it. It’s inevitable. And you have to give it your own vibe too, without changing what is there. It’s not like I’m going to do my own version of Crazy Train, [like] ‘Oh, I don’t think it should be in F sharp.’ You cannot do that.’ Were there any Ozzy songs that you may have rediscovered or had a new appreciation for after learning it?

Gus G: For a couple of shows, we did The Ultimate Sin and I never played that before. That was a cool track to do. I always loved the track Killer of Giants and I’m glad that we brought it back in the setlist for the time I was in the band. I grew up loving that song as a kid.

The whole setlist was…I’m going to quote Mike Bordin here who was his previous drummer. He was like, You’re basically playing the bible of heavy metal. It’s pretty much true. The body of work of Ozzy is one classic after another in the setlist. It’s not like there were any obscure tracks that I never knew about or didn’t appreciate. Those two songs you mentioned are from the Jake E. Lee era of Ozzy. Were you a fan of his playing and did you ever get the opportunity to meet him?

Gus G: I’m a big fan of Jake‘s. I never got to meet him, unfortunately. But yeah, I love his work with Ozzy, for sure. It seems like Jake never gets the credit he deserves for his work with Ozzy.

Gus G: I think that’s probably because, after he did Badlands, he willingly left the music business. But I will say this — in my opinion, his work is legendary and iconic and has stood the test of time. Everybody still listens to Bark At The Moon even today. And Shot In The Dark is a classic. So, as a player, he may be underrated, but I think that’s because it was his own choice to maybe go away from the spotlight. What was it like for you to perform alongside Slash, Zakk Wylde, Geezer Butler, and others on the Ozzy and Friends Tour?

Gus G: Oh man, that was incredible. That was mind-blowing. I thought, ‘What a concept,’ originally. We were like the backing band, and then the special guests would come out and play a few songs every night. But for me growing up listening to guys like Slash and Zakk Wylde was a dream come true. To jam with those guys on stage, side by side, was incredible. And they were all very nice to me, all the guests. We did some really cool jam sessions. It was like guitar heaven, for me personally. What are the most important things you learned from the Ozzy gig?

Gus G: I did learn a lot from him, for different things. He always told me, ‘Leave the gig on stage. If you’re not happy with something, it’s over. It’s live, it’s rock n’ roll. If you f–k up something, it is what it is. Leave it behind, we’ll do better tomorrow.’ I learned that working with him elevated my stage persona and my performance. I had to up my game on all of these levels – performing, stage presence, the wardrobe, the way you carry yourself. Of course, the professionalism.

People think of Ozzy as some guy who’s crazy and bites heads off bats and maybe he’s drunk or whatever, but he’s a real professional guy and always shows up not on time…but early. And that was inspiring to see, that he puts in a lot of care and that he loves what he does so much.”

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