Gus G

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Gus G.
Gus G Live.jpg
Gus G live with Firewind
Background information
Birth nameKostantinos Karamitroudis
Also known asGus G, Kostas (Κώστας)
Born (1980-09-12) 12 September 1980 (age 38)
OriginThessaloniki, Greece
GenresHeavy metal, melodic death metal, thrash metal, power metal, black metal
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active1998–present
LabelsCentury Media Records
Associated actsFirewind, Ozzy Osbourne, Mystic Prophecy, Dream Evil, Nightrage, Arch Enemy, Kamelot, Angel Vivaldi, Project: Aegis
Websitehttp://www.gusgofficial.com/

Konstantinos Karamitroudis (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Καραμητρούδης born 12 September 1980), also known as Gus G, is a heavy metal guitarist.[1] He currently plays with his band Firewind. He has also played in Mystic Prophecy, Nightrage, Arch Enemy, Dream Evil and for Ozzy Osbourne.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Konstantinos was born on 12 September 1980 in Thessaloniki, Greece. His father was a part-time singer who sang Greek folk music at bars and taverns. He was also a fan of rock music. He was introduced to bands like Pink Floyd, Santana and the Eagles by his father's album collections. Gus G. was inspired to start playing guitar after listening to his father's copy of Peter Frampton's album Frampton Comes Alive. In a 2018 interview with Ryan Witting on the Rockin' You All Night podcast, Gus stated, "Frampton Comes Alive, specifically, was the reason why I picked up the guitar and started playing." He was drawn in particular by Frampton's use of the Talkbox. In the same interview with Ryan Witting, Gus was quoted as saying, "I was like 8 or 9 years old and my dad had the vinyl at home and was playing that song 'Do You Feel Like We Do,' and when he was doing all that talkbox effects and making the guitar talk...I somehow thought it was a robot talking...I was just amazed by it. It was one of those epiphanies we get in life." At the age of 10, Gus asked his dad for a guitar. His father bought him a classical guitar and he started to take lessons from a local music school. When he finally received his first electric guitar at the age of 14, he got heavily into practicing and took lessons from a rock guitar teacher at a local conservatory.

Career[edit]

Gus G with the Ozzy Osbourne band.

The stage name "Gus G." has two sources of origin. "Gus" is a common Greek American English translation of the name "Kostas," and "G" was a nickname given to him by a friend during his time living in the US.

At the age of 18 he left Greece to enroll in the Berklee College of Music, but left after only a few weeks and began working on making a name on the metal scene. During his brief time at Berklee Gus came into contact with Joe Stump, who he credits as a great influence on his career.[2] In 1998, Gus G. decided to record a demo with some close musician friends in the United States. The project was entitled Firewind, and was used as a showcase for Gus's guitar skills in an attempt to earn a professional recording deal. The demo attracted the attention of Leviathan Records, but activity was put on hold when Gus was hired by Nightrage, Dream Evil, and Mystic Prophecy. After the release of these bands' debut albums, Gus's attention returned to his band, Firewind. The band has released seven studio albums to date and has gone through many lineup changes. Gus G. was declared third of the three best guitar players all over the world in 2003 by the Japanese magazine BURRN!.

In July 2005, he temporarily replaced Christopher Amott as guitarist of melodic death metal band Arch Enemy on their Ozzfest dates, and also contributed to their album Doomsday Machine by playing lead guitar on the song "Taking Back my Soul". He has made guest appearances for various artists, including the title track song on Rob Rock's Garden of Chaos, as well as solos on the songs "Felonies of the Christian Art" and "Life Deprived" by Old Man's Child's album In Defiance of Existence. Gus has also performed a few solos on the album Gallows Gallery by the Japanese avant-garde black metal band Sigh).

In 2009, Gus was sent an email invitation from Ozzy Osbourne's management to learn several songs and take a flight to Los Angeles to audition for the role of guitarist in Ozzy Osbourne's backing band. After jamming with the band, Gus was "asked on the spot to come back and perform a concert with Ozzy a couple of months later".[3] Soon thereafter it was announced that Gus G. would be taking the place of lead guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy had decided to part ways with longtime guitarist Zakk Wylde, because he thought his music was beginning to sound too much like Zakk's band Black Label Society. Gus's first live appearance with Ozzy was at the BlizzCon 2009.

Gus G. performing with Ozzy.

In 2010 Gus G. appeared alongside Firewind[4] in Issue 3[5] of the Eternal Descent Comic Book which is an epic comic series that features characters of several of ESP Guitars' most popular artists.[6]

In the Summer of 2012 he toured with Ozzy Osbourne as part of the Ozzy & Friends European Tour. The line-up featured special guests Slash, Zakk Wylde, and Geezer Butler. He then returned to his band Firewind, and they released their 7th studio album "Few Against Many". The world tour that followed took them all over Europe, UK, North America, Asia and Australia. In the midst of the tour, Firewind's longtime singer, Apollo Papathanasio, quit the band. Firewind vowed to continue with a replacement singer. At the end of the world tour in December 2013, Firewind decided to go on an indefinite hiatus and Gus G launched his solo career with the release of his debut album, "I Am The Fire". The album was released in March 2014 and features many guest musicians including Mats Levén, Jeff Scott Soto, Michael Starr of Steel Panther, Alexia Rodriguez of Eyes Set To Kill, Devour the Day and many more. He toured in Europe extensively throughout 2014 together with Marty Friedman and in his native Greece with legendary guitarist Uli Jon Roth.

In February 2015, Gus stated that he had written all the songs for a solo album with an intended summer release.[7][8] He also noted that another Firewind album was not planned due to the lack of a suitable singer.[9] On 24 July his second solo album, Brand New Revolution was released in Europe through Century Media.[1] Once again, the album features collaborations with guests like Mats Leven, Elize Ryd of Amaranthe and Jeff Scott Soto.

The tour that followed took Gus all over Europe as special guest of Kamelot, but he also headlined his own tours in North America and visited Japan & S. Korea for the first time as solo artist.

Musical influences[edit]

Gus G's first influences began with Peter Frampton and his work "Frampton Comes Alive". When asked about Uli Jon Roth during an interview with Ryan Witting on the Rockin' You All Night podcast, Gus G. stated, "'He's a guy that I took my band's name (Firewind) from. If you listen to Uli Jon Roth, what he was doing back in the 70s with the Scorpions, and of course, with Electric Sun, you'll see, "Ohh, now I know where all the 80s shredders like Yngwie and all those guys got their inspiration from. He's an original for me. He's like a true original like Blackmore. He's a mentor, a friend, and a guitar idol of mine."' Gus also cites Al Di Meola, Joe Stump, John Norum, Steve Vai, John Petrucci, Yngwie Malmsteen, George Lynch, Uli Jon Roth, Michael Schenker, Paul Gilbert, Marty Friedman, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Gary Moore, The Beatles, The Doors, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Joe Satriani and many others as his influences.[3]

Discography[edit]

Firewind

Ozzy Osbourne

  • iTunes Festival: London 2010 (2010)
  • Scream (2010)

Solo releases

  • I Am the Fire (2014)[11]
  • Brand New Revolution (2015)[12]
  • Fearless (2018)[13]

Dream Evil

Mystic Prophecy

Nightrage

Guest appearances

Equipment[edit]

Gus G performing live with his signature ESP guitar.

In 2005 Gus teamed up with ESP Guitars to make two custom model guitars to his specifications, the "Gus G. FR" and the "Gus G. NT".[15] The 'NT' was used in the videos for "Falling to Pieces", "Breaking the Silence" and "Tyranny". The 'FR' is featured along with the NT model in the video for "Falling to Pieces" and "Head Up High" and was discontinued in 2009 for North America, being replaced by the 'NT'. In a 2009 video of Gus playing backstage at Musikmesse Frankfurt with his new T2 amplifier, he is seen with a white ESP Gus model with a black Firewind logo on the front. Before using ESP, he was endorsed by Washburn, playing a Culprit with a chrome pickguard, and before using a Fender Floyd Stratocaster. Recently Gus has released 2 new signature series guitars in Japan the ESP GUS G. NT-II which is a white version of his normal signature guitars with the Firewind symbol on the neck at 1–15 frets, and also in black on the body. And ESP GUS G. FM-NT which is the same as the GUS G. NT ESP, the only change made is to the frets who are now the same as at the ESP GUS G. NT-II. In March 2010 ESP announced a new Gus G guitar the EC Revolver, it has a custom graphic finish, 22 frets, a 25.5-inch scale, and Seymour Duncan Blackouts active pickups.[16]

While playing with Ozzy Osbourne during the Blizzcon 2009 closing ceremony,[17] he could be seen playing two ESP Eclipse II guitars, one in Amber Cherry Sunburst tuned to Standard D, and another one in Vintage Black, tuned to Dropped C.

In terms of picks and strings, he used Elixir Strings early in Firewind, then switched to DR, using 10-56. Currently he uses DR Dragon Skins 10-14-18-32-42-56. He currently uses Dunlop Jazz III XL 1,5mm guitar picks.

Gus has used various amps in the past including Randall T2 and V2 Amplifiers. Gus briefly had a signature Randall amp designed by him and based on the T2 head named Heaven and Hell. It featured 2 channels, each using independent gain and tone controls. Gus G here performs with Ozzy using 10 of his Signature Randall T2HH amps and cabs.[18]

In January 2010 he teamed up and was featured on the Blackstar Amplification website using the Series One 200 head and matching cab.[19]

In June 2010 Blackstar Amplification launched a Gus G. signature pedal HT-BLACKFIRE at Summer NAMM. The HT-BLACKFIRE[20] is a two channel, valve-driven, metal distortion pedal and was launched at Summer NAMM in Nashville on 18 June 2010.[21] However live he does not play this, rather he uses a BBE Green Screamer.

In September 2011 Blackstar announced they were working on a Gus G signature Series One amplifier. This was announced at a Blackstar, Andertons and Gus G masterclass session at The Boileroom in Guildford. The signature amp was released in 2012 and was named BLACKFIRE 200 based on the Series One 200 amp. It was made available at the limited number of 225 amps worldwide.

A detailed gear diagram of Gus G's 2011 Ozzy Osbourne guitar rig is well-documented.[22] It is based on a 2011 interview with Gus G's guitar tech, Chet Haun.

2016 saw Gus G switching to Jackson guitars shortly before heading out on his North American tour with Angel Vivaldi. They were based on the star design originally created by Wayne Charvel in the late 1970s and early 1980s. A signature guitar line with Jackson was revealed at NAMM 2016.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "How Greek Guitarist KOSTAS KARAMITROUDIS Became Known As GUS G." 2015-08-07. Retrieved 2016-06-25.
  2. ^ "Guitar Nine Records – Interview with Gus G". Guitar9.com. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
  3. ^ a b "Gus G. Interview at Guitarhoo!". Guitarhoo!. Guitarhoo.com. 16 January 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  4. ^ "Firewind Members Featured in Eternal Descent Comic – in Metal News". Metal Underground.com. 9 November 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
  5. ^ [1] Archived 31 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ [2] Archived 15 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "GUS G. Begins Recording Second Solo Album, Says He Is 'Close' To Finding New Singer For FIREWIND". Blabbermouth. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  8. ^ "Gus G working on second solo album". metalhammer.teamrock.com. TeamRock Metal Hammer. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  9. ^ "FIREWIND "In No Rush To Go Back into The Studio And Do Another Album And Tour Cycle", Says GUS G.; Audio". bravewords.com. Bravewords. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  10. ^ "Firewind - Upcoming Live Album Cover And Tracklist Revealed - Metal Storm".
  11. ^ "FIREWIND/OZZY OSBOURNE Guitarist GUS G.'s 'I Am The Fire' Album: Track-By-Track Breakdown". 15 March 2014.
  12. ^ "FIREWIND/OZZY OSBOURNE Guitarist GUS G.: New Song 'The Quest' Available For Streaming". 17 July 2018.
  13. ^ "GUS G. to release new album "Fearless" on April 20th!". 21 February 2018.
  14. ^ "ALTITUDES & ATTITUDE Featuring MEGADETH's ELLEFSON, ANTHRAX's BELLO: 'Tell The World' Performance Clip". 13 November 2014.
  15. ^ [3] Archived 10 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ [4] Archived 16 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ "BLABBERMOUTH.NET – New OZZY OSBOURNE Guitarist GUS G.: It's An 'Honor' To Step into ZAKK WYLDE's Shoes". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Archived from the original on September 11, 2009. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
  18. ^ "Gus G & Ozzy | News | News and Reviews". Randallamplifiers.com. Archived from the original on January 5, 2012. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
  19. ^ "Blackstar Artist News | Blackstar Amplification". Blackstaramps.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
  20. ^ "Blackstar HT Blackfire Effects Pedal – Ultimate Heavy Metal Distortion". Blackstaramps.co.uk. Archived from the original on January 4, 2012. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
  21. ^ "Blackstar Related News | Blackstar Amplification". Blackstaramps.co.uk. Archived from the original on January 4, 2012. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
  22. ^ Cooper, Adam (21 May 2011). "Gus G's 2011 Ozzy Osbourne Guitar Rig". GuitarGeek.Com.

https://www.blackstaramps.com/uk/ranges/signature-series Gus G. Blackstar Signature BLACKFIRE 200 https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/Blackstar_Blackfire_200_Amp_Review BLACKFIRE 200 Signature Amp Review Premier Guitar http://www.guitarworld.com/gear-news-artist-news/jackson-guitars-adds-gus-g-its-artist-roster/29311 Jackson Guitars Adds Gus G to its Roster Guitar World

External links[edit]