GUS G, GUITAR MASTERCLASS
Club Fest, Zemun, Serbia
October 22, 2016
If anyone would like to know, I have several interests in my life: medicine, special education, writing and music. I have been working hard to fulfill my dreams so I graduated at both: Special Educationa and Medical University. I used to work as a doctor, but it turned out it was too easy. In past three years I work as special education teacher which is hard but fun job. When it comes to my other love: music and writing I joinded them to music journalism. I have no talent for music at all, I think I know how to write and here we are. As a music journalist I work since I was 14 years old. I have been working on the radio and television, here in Belgrade, but since censorhip was strong during the communist period I decided to quit. Than I discovered whole new world. I started working for zines from Hungary and Poland. Since May 2016 you can read my reviews, gig reports and interviews here at Antichrist Metalzine. This is the only job I can do for free, cause there is no money that can pay you experiences it offers.
During the years I have met, hang out, made interviews and even made friendships with people whose music I love. And I was never that much nervous like that day I met Gus G.
Club Fest, Zemun, Belgrade, Serbia. October 22. The day my mother was buried 12 years ago. This year my grandmother is in the hospital at the same day, having surgery. I am having interview with Gus G at 3 PM. I never felt so stupid, so lost, so sad and happy… I wanted to be at two places at the same time. My grandmother was beside me and helped me to survive the worst period in my life, so how could I just not visit her and visits in the hospital are allowed at the same time I supposed to have an interview? As always, she have found the right words: “I never understood the music you are listening, but I know that it is your life. Go there and don’t worry about me.” With her blessing I came to the venue right on time, Gus showed 5 minutes later. We have met and started interview right away. Just in case: two cameras and two voice recorders. Knowing myself, something can go wrong. Suddenly, my IQ felt from 165 to 65. Like I never spoke English before, like I never heard about Gus G in my life, like I felt from Mars!
Gus, if you will ever read this, I am so sorry if I did something wrong, if you felt I was wasting your time.
Sharp 13min 54sec turned to eternity. I stuttered, I sweat, I shaked… Gus was talking and I haven’t heard him. “Damn girl! Focus, just focus!”
When it was all over, all I could do is to take my drug: chocolate. And I felt better. I was allowed to stay at the venue, take photos and short videos till official promotion started. Finally, I relaxed and came back to life.
Gus came with his Firewind to Belgrade to film a video. At Fest Club he promoted Jackson guitars and Blackstar amplifiers. For his fans, the most valuable experience: guitar workshop. Free guitar lessons from the one of the best guitar players of young generation.
In two hours he showed us what we all knew: he is a great musician. He also showed us he is a great man. He has great personality, he stands with both feet on the ground, he is so modest, he is fun, full of patience…
Few songs, than questions. Fans were shy at first, but when they relaxed, questions were just coming. Gus was answering with the smile on his face, he was giving advices in wide range: how to warm up muscles before you start playing, how to hold pick properly, how to sign professional recording deal, even how to steel equipement if you have no money to buy it. Of course, fans wanted to know how was working with Ozzy, will he play again with Firewind in Belgrade, how he writes his music…
But, let’s start from the beginning. Just in case you strayed, Gus intorduced himself to fans. To break the ice, he explained what could we expect from workshop:
“I would like to discuss with you guys. Whatever question do you have, just raise your hands and it would be a little conversation happening. It could be about anything, obvios techincal stuff or it could be about fishing, gardening, whatever…”
Kids hungry for fame asked what he thinks about hiring band members based on what he sees on social media.
“I’ve never thought about like making of band of guys from You Tube. I’ve been burnt before. Like one time I hired drummer… He looked good on You Tube, but when he showed up at rehearsals, he couldn’t play. You have to be careful with that stuff, you know… When I first started my band Firewind, I didn’t have the opportunity to have three guys from my neighborhood… Ok, it was us against the world, we’re gonna do it. It was just me and my drum machine… So I found guys along the way… As long as you find good people who are on the same page…”
If you ever wondered how it is being on tour, here is the answer:
“I’ve done tours with people and there was like, hay this guy can sing great but he’s not the best guy for tour bus. Going on tour, being away from home, it’s though, you leave your safety zone, so it’s kind like you are lost, it’s like being homeless…You have to overcome different things, you are going to different countries, places you don’t know. You need to have people that are up to that challenge, for that adventure.”
One of the questions was how to develop right hand?
“First of all I practice a lot, for many years. That’s one. I know it sounds little cliche, but honestly, this is the ground word, to practice a lot. And than number two, buy a metronome. So, you put your metronme on slow speed and you start building. Whatever it is like if you are doing triplets or something. For me it is always important to have every note sound clean and you should do it, you should practice even with clean tone. Just start slow, build up the speed, try to just push it”.
Practice makes perfect, so if you think Gus has nothing to do with that, you are so wrong:
“All guitar players, we are so fucking impatient. We just wanna to play like fucking Yngwee Malmsteen right away. I’ll do it tomorrow. If I sit here by midnight I can play this. It takes a lifetime. Even if you can do it, than it takes like another ten years to be able to do it in the sleep, with closed eyes”
So, the key words if you want to be good guitar player are:
“Patience and discipline”.
And he was patient enough to answer questions, show guitar tricks, he had a time for photoshoot with fans, autograph signing. This magnificent evening can stay forever in our memories.
And of course, I wont forget to mention that Gus promoted Blackstar amps and Jackson guitars. Gus was delighted by the fact his custom made guitar was designed by Mike Shannon, who also designed guitar for Randy Rhoads. He was pleased to share all techical specifications. I can find only one sentence which could describe his excitement when he was talknig about guitars: kid in a candy store.
Overall: interaction with fans was great. From kids who just started playing guitars to experienced guitar players everyone went home happy.
If my editor will alow me, I would like to dedicate this article to my grandmother.