Metal Assault recently conducted an interview with Greek guitar virtuoso Gus G., well known in rock and metal circles for his work as Ozzy Osbourne‘s guitarist and as leader of his own band FIREWIND. You can listen to the full chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On reactivating FIREWIND after doing two solo albums:

Gus: “The whole idea from the start was to do another FIREWIND album whenever I felt ready and had good enough material. That time came now, basically. It was just the right time for us to do a new record. It was really simple as that.”

On how he makes the distinction between his solo material and FIREWIND:

Gus: “I think it’s pretty easy for me to do that. FIREWIND is, like, older, classic heavy metal, like all of my IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, or maybe Euro power metal ideas. It’s pretty easy, ‘Okay I know that it’s going to be a FIREWIND track.’ Whereas with my solo records, it’s going to be the hard rock stuff I do, or these crazy ’80s instrumentals. [Laughs]”

On whether he always knew he’d go back to doing FIREWIND:

Gus: “Yeah, it’s my band. I started it when I was a kid. I didn’t see a reason to stop. Of course, we’ve gone through a lot of lineup changes, especially with singers. That can hurt the band after some point, but not only myself, but the rest of the band also felt that, ‘Hey, man, we worked hard for this. There’s no reason why we should quit especially since we still have fans out there who want to hear from us.'”

On how his work as a solo artist and in FIREWIND appeals to a wide variety of fans:

Gus: “I would say with the solo stuff that I do, the audience, the core of it, it’s still FIREWIND fans because that’s where they know me from. But then again, there’s a chunk of Ozzy fans who come in, but also a lot of guitar players. In a sense, because my solo project is still in its beginning stages, I’m still finding a new audience. I am aware not all FIREWIND are digging that stuff, but the majority of them, they dig it and they’ve been supporting me too.”

On new FIREWIND vocalist Henning Basse (METALIUM, SONS OF SEASONS):

Gus: “At the end of the day, because a lot of names were thrown into the mix, it was like ‘Maybe we should try out this guy or that guy. Maybe we should talk to whoever.’ I reconnected with Henning after losing touch with him, in 2014. I called him up to help with some of my solo shows, then the next thing you know, he’s out with me touring Europe. I went, ‘This is the guy. He’s still looking for a band, apparently. We’re still looking for a singer. We know the guy. He can sing our back catalog and he’s a good friend.’ So there you have it.”

On the differences between Basse and ex-FIREWIND vocalist Apollo Papathanasio:

Gus: “Anytime you have a new singer, the identity of the band is going to be altered. The voice is the identity of the band. Luckily, Henning falls into the category of this genre of music and he fits really well with our style. He is still different from Apollo and the other singers, but he still has a similar background if you know what I mean. It’s not like we got a glam rock singer or something. [Laughs] Or it’s not like all of the sudden we got some guy singing opera or something. It’s still classic heavy metal. I think all of our singers, the background is guys like [Ronnie James] Dio, [David] Coverdale and stuff like that. We like those thick voices, mid-range voices with some grit on it. I think Henning fits very well. Like I said, Henning is a more appropriate power metal singer because he’s been considered, not now, but for many years, especially in Europe, one of the best power metal singers of our generation. We were also surprised that even up to now, he wasn’t picked up by a bigger band. It was a good opportunity for us and a great opportunity for him to finally find a band to call home.”

On how he plans to balance his solo work with FIREWIND:

Gus: “I always write stuff. I already have seven or eight ideas for my next solo record. I think both projects are going to co-exist now. I’m either going to be touring with one band, like when FIREWIND is on a break, I’m going to be doing solo stuff and then vice-versa, when the solo stuff is on a break, then FIREWIND is going to come out. I think it’s going to be both at the same time, or maybe try to split it to one year each, depending on what offers we get and what the interest is from promoters. Sometimes, you want to control things, but you can’t because when opportunities come, you just can’t miss out on them and you have to do some stuff. We’re going to try to balance it out for sure. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be a non-stop, 12-months-a-year workload for me, which is a good thing.”

On whether he wants to release an album a year between his two bands:

Gus: “That would be the perfect scenario where we don’t have to shove each project down people’s throats continuously. We can take breaks with FIREWIND and [go out] as a solo guy, then go back to doing FIREWIND. That will keep it refreshing for me as well.”

FIREWIND‘s eighth studio album, “Immortals”, was released on January 20 via the band’s longtime label partner Century Media.