Latest release: Few Against Many (Century Media/EMI)

Greek shred metal holocaust Firewind are making their first trip to Australia this month, and with the tour set to kick off tomorrow, we grabbed a few minutes with axe-master extraordinaire Gus G. about Aussie bands, Ozzy Osbourne and the life-long journey of music.

You’ve been in quite a few bands now, and yet you’ve never made it to Australia. It must be a big thing to be able to bring Firewind here at last.
Well yes, I’ve played all over the world. I’ve played everywhere, and Australia’s probably the only place I haven’t been to. I’m really looking forward to it and I know it took me ten years, but now, finally it’s happening.

What’s something you’re looking forward to about coming here, other than playing. What have you heard about Australia from other people?
Well you know I don’t think we’re gonna have much time to do a lot of stuff. Our main goal is the shows. Maybe I can do some sight-seeing or something around Melbourne, but I’m not sure how much time I’m gonna have. I hope we can see a kangaroo or something.

I guess there isn’t usually a lot of time to see many of the cities that you actually play in.
Unless there’s an off-day or something you can’t really think about it. By the time you get into the city, after a two and three hour flight, you gotta drive to the hotel, then you gotta soundcheck… By the time you do all that stuff, the time in the day is gone. So there’s not much time to do sight-seeing.

So how much do you know about the Australian music scene?
AC/DC, obviously. One of my favourite bands and, I suppose, the biggest rock n’ roll band in the world. So, AC/DC, INXS… Wolfmother. I really like this band, Empire of the Sun. I first heard them a few years ago when they first came out. I dig their stuff.

Of course we’re all pretty familiar with your work in Firewind and all the other bands you’ve been a part of, but what was it like being approached by Ozzy Osbourne to work with him?
Oh it was great, man. That was a fantastic opportunity for me to be able to play on his record and tour around the world. It was just fantastic.

There’s obviously so many people he could have asked, what was it like when he asked you to do it?
It was mindblowing. I remember when I got that email that night when they asked me to audition. It was a free night here in Greece and I was flipping out. I was doing whiskey shots right away to help me calm down because I thought I was going to die of a heart attack!

So will you be working with him again?
I think after the Black Sabbath reunion tour winds down, we’re going to start writing a new record.

Will you have more of a writing role this time, because it seems like most of the Scream album was already done when you went it there.
Yeah, you’re right. When I joined the band, well, there was no band to join. The whole record was done by Ozzy and Kevin Churko the producer so they needed a lead guitar player to come in and record some solos so I basically went in there and played whatever was there. The idea for the next one, at least from what I’ve heard Ozzy saying, he wants it to be a more basic band setting like back in the early days like Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman. I think when Sabbath is done he wants to do back into the studio and start jamming and writing songs.

And what’s the future for Firewind after this tour?
Well, these will be the final shows on the world tour, actually. After these shows there will be a little bit of a break because I will be working on a solo album right now. I’ll have a solo album coming out next year, so I’ll be touring that.

That’s something that a lot of people will be looking forward to. Who will you be working with on the solo album?
I have a lot of people working on this. A lot of guests, different musicians and singers. It’s gonna be a different type of album. There’s gonna be some songs instrumental, most of it will be with vocals with different singers, but there are some instrumental tracks. It’s not going to be heavy metal. It’s going to be more straight rock n roll and a bit of classical stuff.

You have worked with a lot of people over the years. Is there anyone still on your list that you still haven’t worked with?
Well on this solo album I’m collaborating with a lot of people so there’s a lot of my favourite musicians on there, people that I wanted to work with. There’s a lot of great musicians out there. It never ends. It’s great. That’s the great thing about music. It’s one whole life’s journey and you always meet people and you always get to jam with people. I always look forward to it. I can’t think of any names, but I’m always looking forward to meeting new people and collaborating with them in some way.

Firewind will be in Australia from tomorrow:
31/10: Manning Bar, Sydney NSW
1/11: HiFi Bar, Brisbane QLD
2/11: Fowlers Live, Adelaide SA
3/11: Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC