5 minutes alone - Gus G: “The biggest misconception about me is that I’m this mechanical shred machine”

(Image credit: Joe Branston / Future)

Greek maverick Gus G on being inspired by Frampton, playing with Ozzy and his newest electric guitar

Got my first real six-string…

“I still have my first guitar - it was this cheap classical that my dad got me, made by Valencia. I was stuck with it for a few years before I got an electric. I don’t know if it’s the same in England, but in Greece parents would always start their kids on classical before moving on. So I got lessons in this small neighbourhood music school and my teacher Maria was an absolute sweetheart. She could play piano, guitar and accordion and was able to teach the kids pretty much anything.”

There goes my hero…

I look at someone like Guthrie Govan and he makes me feel like a beginner!

“My dad used to play Frampton Comes Alive! on vinyl a lot, so that ended up being the reason I started playing. It didn’t take long for me to realise I couldn’t play that stuff on a classical - I needed distortion and electrics!

“Around the age of 14 I got my first Fender Strat, which I also kept. Despite the Frampton influence, I haven’t used talkboxes much - the only time was for an Ozzy song called Soul Sucker. From my mid teens, all my heroes came from watching MTV - seeing bands like Metallica and Nirvana.”

Meet the real me…

“I guess the biggest misconception about me is that I’m this mechanical shred machine that has no feel at all. We all look through comments every now and then… sure, you find people that think what you do is boring but you can’t please everyone. Especially during the Ozzy years, I guess some people felt I had no feeling whatsoever - like I could execute it perfectly but played too robotic - and I just don’t think that’s true about me.

“I’m a guy that’s definitely worked on his vibrato and phrasing - I just happen to use techniques. I look at someone like Guthrie Govan and he makes me feel like a beginner!”

It’s a bad obsession…

“I try to avoid getting too emotionally attached to my instruments. I actually gave back my very first signature prototype to ESP for one of their museums in Tokyo. I have over 40 guitars at home - that’s more than I need!

“If there’s one that means the most, maybe it would be my first Strat because it was so special at the time. There’s also a new Gary Moore Strat that I recently acquired - this 1961 reissue in Fiesta Red, which is obviously high up there, too!”

Elegant gypsy suite…

I would love to get a lesson with Al Di Meola. Fusion is not my thing, but I’m still influenced by him

“I would love to get a lesson with Al Di Meola. Fusion is not my thing, or jazz for that matter, but I’m still influenced by him in the way I speed-pick and use certain phrasing. I love how percussive his playing is, so it would be amazing to sit down one day and play with him? I’d have to keep stopping to ask, ‘What’s this, how do you do that?’

“I actually learned a lot from the Paul Gilbert DVDs; I find he has a really good way of giving you information - delivering everything in a fun way. There’s a song on my new album called Thrill Of The Chase, which is a bit like my tribute to that school of playing!”

Fearless is out now via AFM Records.

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