I knew it! Gus G and Dennis Ward worked great onstage, so a studio recording was bound to be equally great. Gus G released his third solo effort, “Fearless”, and METAL KAOZ got the opportunity to squeeze in Gus G’s packed with interviews schedule and had the nice chat you read below.
Hi Gus G, thank you for getting the time to talk to us!
Thank you, Dimitris, for helping me out catching up with the schedule. Some interviews went longer than planned, so I need to get back on track.
Don’t worry, Gus, we’ve got your back, so I will start right away. How were the shows with FIREWIND in Latin America?
It was a great experience and, to be honest, I consider this as a milestone for FIREWIND as we had been trying for a long time to play live there but without success. We played in a lots of places like El Salvador or Guatemala and beforehand we did not expecting much; I mean, we did not expect to see FIREWIND fans in some places. Of course, some shows were better than others but it was a great experience for the band.
That's great! So, let’s talk about your new solo LP “Fearless”; how did you work with Dennis Ward?
As we discussed the last time we talk together, it was pretty much the same way we worked on “Immortals”; I was writing the music and sending the material to Dennis, and then, he would send his ideas back to me. I have to tell you that 9 out of 10 times there was nothing to talk or debate about as Dennis understood what I wanted to do with a song and he was always sending back the best ideas. What happened with this album is that after finishing “Immortals”, I kept sending him song ideas to ask his opinion, and through this process, we finished 7 to 8 songs.
Do you have songs or even song ideas you did not use in “Fearless”?
I don’t think we left something out; there might be one song idea but I did not feel that it was a good fit for the album. In fact, I think this would be better for a FIREWIND album as it is more Power Metal and Prog. For “Fearless”, we wrote 8 songs with vocals, we did the DIRE STRAITS cover and then, there were three instrumentals, and that is what we had.
Since that you mentioned FIREWIND, listening for the first time “Let It Go” and especially the way it starts, it made me think of FIREWIND.
Yeah, you are right, this could easily be on a FIREWIND album like in the first one. It sounds more like the old FIREWIND.
Having Power Metal in mind, Dennis really impressed me with his vocals.
You are absolutely right. Dennis sounds great and, in fact, when we were recording the demos with him singing, the plan was not having him as the singer. He knows how to record the vocals for demos, the so called ‘pilot vocals’, for the singer to use during the actual recordings.
There are parts where his vocals remind me of Kip Winger, Jeff Scott Soto…
He has all these elements and for this reason we started thinking that whoever we would find to be the singer, he would have a hard time recording. And Dennis proposed to make this band as a trio, and at that time, this idea had not crossed my mind. Although, I liked this idea I had to ask him if he would be able to support this by going on a world tour. In fact, the show you watched in Joliet, IL was like an experiment for us.
I think this experiment was successful because there was a great chemistry within the lineup.
Yes, and once we returned from that tour, we finalized the mixes and the masters having solidified in our minds that this can definitely work.
Awesome! You mentioned the DIRE STRAITS cover and although I am not a guitarist, I was intrigued to ask you how did you approach Mark Knopfler’s finger picking technique for “Money For Nothing”?
I used fingers in the beginning of the song like he does, and during the heavier part, I switched to guitar pick.
And I had a laugh with the small changes Dennis did in the lyrics…
We wanted to make it a bit ‘modern’ as nowadays we have LCD TVs and DJs are rockstars and not guitarists (laughs).
You posted in FB the guitar solo from “Hotel California”…
Did you watch that?
Yeah, I did, so does this mean you are working on a cover on that song?
No, I was just jamming playing different solos and the idea of doing solo-covers came to mind just for fun.
Why did you name the album “Fearless”?
In the beginning, this title idea started with the instrumental I was working on. This was a song title that I had in mind for a long time and also I like the concept behind this word. I mean, fear is something that stops us from doing or even trying to do things in life. Fear is one of the biggest obstacle in one’s life; there is the fear of failure, of disappointing people around you, the fear that you feel from not believing in yourself and so on. In the beginning, I thought of using this title for this track as it was too technical demanding and I was not sure if we could make it work (laughs). After actually using this as the title for the instrumental, I started liking this as an album title.
After the show you did with Vinnie Moore, and seeing you playing with him onstage, I asked you if there were any talks of doing something with him…
We talked about doing a 'part two' of that tour in September. The first part was only in the East Coast, so we want to expand it to the West Coast. Although, I think your question had to do with doing something together in the studio, right?
Exactly, although I would ask you about doing more live shows, so you have answered that question already.
It would be great to record something with Vinnie, although I am not sure I have the time for another band (laughs). Seriously though, it would have been great to work with him in the studio. Don’t worry, I have kept in mind what you told me, so in the future this may happen.
Great, and I will keep in mind that you will return to the US in September.
Yes, although it would be in a different package.
What about FIREWIND? You have a couple of festival shows, so are you planning to add more?
We may be adding some shows but not much. We have finished the touring with FIREWIND and I won’t be doing lots of shows during the summer. I want to take some time off since in September I have a lot of things planned until the end of this year.
Gus, it was great talking to you again! See you in September.
Thank you Dimitris and also thank you for your album review. See you then!