The Thessalonian guitarist of Ozzy Osbourne and Firewind, Gus G aka Konstantinos Karamitroudis, spoke exclusively to HeartbeatInk Tattoo Magazine about his tattoos, his sensitive skin, the “ugly” rockers' tattoos and what causes them, what Ozzy has told him about his tattoos, Ozzy's incident in Finland, how his brand new solo album came up and what type of person no one stands on tour.

What is your relationship with tattoo and how would you describe it?

I have a very intimate relationship with tattoo… Usually, every time I choose to do a tattoo, I think of it as a “cleansing experience”. It is like I what to get something out of me and I translate it that way, expressing it with a design. Tattooing is also an arduous procedure! Everyone who gets tattooed knows that.


When did your “initiation” begin?

I got my first tattoo in 2000 or 2002, I can't remember… It’s this small one (he points to it high on his shoulder), which looks like a Chinese menu (laughs). I got it because it looked like a cape and my name is Konstantinos. It also means fire in Kanji. I already had Firewind, so the only thing missing was a tattoo of the Kanji symbol for wind. And that's what actually happened.

I got my next tattoo done - the flames on my right arm - in 2007 by Kostas Tzikalagias who then worked at Nico Tattoo. We had to schedule two different appointments for this tattoo, because my skin is very sensitive and therefore I can't stand more than two hours of continuous tattoo work on me. So due to my sensitive skin, I don’t really get along well with my tattoo artists.



It was early days then and I was still a “fresher”. I started complaining more intensely when I got my other tattoos. I talked back to the tattooers (laughs), even shouting at them and threatening them that if they didn’t stop I was going to punch them (laughs). I have of course said many times that I will never get another tattoo. I always say that actually and then I end up designing my next tattoo in my mind.

From what I can see, in addition to designing them your mind, you also get them in reality. So how did things turn out after 2007?

My next tattoo was a realistic black & grey piece on my left arm and it was done by Theofilos (Descendink Tattoo) during Christmas 2012. He had come to Thessaloniki and the tattoo was done at my house. It was completed after five sessions, because as you can understand I don’t last for many consecutive hours. The design is the cover of one an old record of mine with Dream Evil, a band I used to play with.



I got my last tattoo done in October 2013 in Italy by Francesco Schiavi (Original Sin Tattoo). I discovered Francesco by chance, through a guitarist friend of mine for whom he done an amazing Samurai tattoo. So I had a tour in Italy with guitar seminars booked with this friend of mine and I asked him to get in touch with the artist. We arranged a meeting on my day off in Verona and I gave him four elements I wanted my tattoo to have so he could prepare it: a skull, a clock, some flowers and my symbol. I really liked the result and told him to do it for me. This is also the biggest tattoo I have and because of the conditions it was done in one session. It lasted about five and a half hours and we didn’t actually have time to finish the flowers. There are still some shadows missing.




Is there a specific tattoo style or technique that you prefer?

As you can see, half my arm is realistic and the rest is more old fashioned, with outline. I like both styles. I mixed them up without knowing what I “had” to do. I am a bit all over the place when it comes to that. If I like something I will just do it. I do know however that I don’t like Old School - American Traditional tattoos.

Do you intend to get more tattoos?

Yes, I will be definitely returning to Italy at some point to finish up my arm with Francesco. Also, I want to get a tattoo of my cat Markos at some point. Makros is eighteen years old, Siamese and he is amazing!

I guess you get approached by a lot of people, tattoo artists among them, while on tour. Do they propose to tattoo you and if so what is your reaction?

It happens often. But my schedule is usually so overwhelming that I don’t have the time a tattoo or the entire preparation procedure requires. Of course, never say never. I don’t know what phase I will be in in two years’ time from now! I might just decide to do something more spontaneous. In addition, I also like to check the artist’s work, his style and quality. I have been given cards by various artists over the years and when I check them out afterwards it seems that they are not that “good”. I wouldn't get a tattoo just because someone will offer it to me for free.

The image of a rockstar is almost inextricably connected to tattoos. What do you believe?

Yes that is of course the case. Rockstars with tattoos is a classic thing. Girls also see it as a more “bad boy look” (laughs). I didn’t have tattoos for many years. It just hit me later on and I started getting them. Many rockers have some of the most ugly tattoos is what I have to say. I have actually seen an internet poll with the “ten ugliest musician tattoos’”!

What is the cause of this in your opinion?

Probably due to the fact that, many of these people have that “loose” attitude. Like, we are together, drunk and we are gonna get a tattoo! Ozzy is a perfect example. When I asked him about this, he said that most of his tattoos were done when he was drunk and he can't remember the details. He just lay down and did it. Until one day when he woke up because it hurt too much and he said f***k it! His entire arm is full of tattoos while one spot only has an outline.


Your first solo album has just been released. Was “I am free” an artistic need of yours or was it something that just came up along the way?

That is also within the frame of the cleansing experience which I mentioned before. It was something that “had” to be done. I always said I wouldn’t do a solo record because I had my band, Firewind. I just started writing some songs with a more rock sound to them. I mean it is more classic rock than metal. I generally experimented with a different kind of songwriting and the album has a lot of acoustic guitars, while you will also come across more modern rock sounds. It also has a lot of collaborations. I did it gradually and there was no pressure in its making. I began in October 2012 and completed it at Christmas 2013. I hadn’t told anyone. Neither my company nor my manager knew anything when I started writing it. 

How did you and Ozzy meet?

I received an email in spring 2009 by Ozzy’s management asking me if I wanted to go by for an audition for the guitarist’s position. I went to LA in May 2009 for the audition and the rest is history.

How were you discovered?

I never really found out how they found me. I guess they were looking for new guitarists and they knew me from the scene. I had already done many tours with Firewind for many years. 


How much did your life change after that event and how did you deal with it?

Of course my life changed. This event is the biggest change in my life. As far as dealing with it goes, I was very anxious at the beginning and much more closed-off. I came up against changes in people’s attitude towards me and I didn’t know how to deal with it. For example, I didn't know what people might want from me and therefore I misunderstood even the slightest thing they said to me. I got used to it after the first year and realized how things should be. I imagine it is like that for every big change people go through in their lives. 

Could you perhaps share a funny Ozzy incident from your tours together with us?

We don’t have many “rockstar” incidents, since he is a calmer person now, he drinks his tea and is “clean” in every aspect. He is just a really funny guy and a prankster. But that is his nature, you know. To give you an example, we were in Finland for a concert and we had to fly out the next day. I met him on the plane and asked him how he slept and he said he didn’t sleep at all! I asked him why and he explains: “I looked at the time and it was 09:15. I got up, had a shower, shaved, pack up all my clothes and I open the curtains, which were closed, and it was nighttime outside! And I was like, what time does it get daylight in Finland?’ He had put his watch on backwards and it was quarter past three! And he couldn’t get back to sleep again so he waited…

What would you advise a young kid who loves music and metal and wants to get involved in this scene?

He should have patience and persistence, however cliché that all sounds. I always say that, there are no short cuts. Everything has to happen in its own time in the music industry. He should also believe in himself. If you don’t believe in your music and yourself, how will you impart that to others? In addition, it is very important to be down to earth as a person, polite to the people you work with, always say thank you and be on time. Nobody wants a wanker on tour. I mean, whenever we have had such a person on tour with us, we have kicked him out. When you are on a bus or a plane for months in a row, spending time with another fifteen guys, you at least want it to be a fun gang; having fun and being in harmony. 


HeartbeatInk Tattoo Magazine would like kindly to thank Elias Aravidis for the realisation of the interview and Oscar Hotel for the hospitality.  .

Photos & interview by Ino Mei.