The shredder, composer and guitar teacher, George «The Kid» Karafotis is, as you can see, a busy man. Being the guitarist in three different bands, located in three different countries, is not an easy task. But, thanks to modern technology everything is possible. Luckily, though, there is one thing modern technology still can’t cover: playing live. And for that reason George recently ended a round trip in Norway, where he even visited my hometown, Trondheim. And soon he will tour the UK with his new band, Power Quest. And between all that, he has time to answear some questions from PowerMetal.no.

Hi! First of all, congratulations with being the new guitarist in Power Quest!

George: Hi Kristian, tusen takk! I can’t even describe how happy I am about that. Power Quest is a great band, with amazing musicians and very nice people.

 

But, before we talk more about that, let’s talk about your roundtrip in Norway! Because, a few weeks ago (September 22th) you were in my hometown, Trondheim, playing with Wild Willy’s Gang. What’s the story; how did you end up with Wild Willy?

George: The roundtrip in Norway is always fun! I really like your country, and I have a great time wherever we play with Wild Willy’s Gang. And the Trondheim show at Rockheim was absolutely amazing! A great night! And I can’t wait to come back for more.

To tell you the story of how I ended up With Wild Willy’s Gang, we have to go one year back. I was playing with Nic Angilleri in my former band Exorcism, and we had shot a New music video. So, Willy watched the video and he said that he heard something special on my guitar playing and he contacted Nic the same day. Nic then gave my contact details, and we talked on the phone. And it wasn’t very difficult for me to decide! It was Willy Bendiksen on the phone! I knew his work with Jorn [Lande] already, and I have been listening a lot to the albums they made together, so I said YES immediately.

And here we are now. After one year playing shows and still rocking together and having fun on and off stage.

So, are you a permanent member of WWG?

George: Yes, I am a full-time member and I am really happy about that!

You have just finished the tour now, where you played in nine different cities in Norway. How has the tour been?

George: The tour has been amazing, and every single show was a blast! Fantastisk publikum! [Great audience!]
And we have actually added one more show! On the 19th of October we will be playing in Tønsberg. You can check our Facebook page for more details.

There is going to be even more shows and festivals next year; the booking has already started!

Photo: Kjell Solstad – Artistphotography

What is your knowledge and affiliation with Norwegian (rock/metal) music?

George: I have actually listened to a lot of metal bands from Norway, like Immortal, Satyricon, Conception, Jorn, Pagan’s Mind and a bit of TNT as well.

My favorite Norwegian band though, is Dimmu Borgir. I have been listening to them for 10 years now.

The tour with Wild Willy’s Gang is called «40 years of Norwegian Rock History». I guess your knowledge is better than mine now?

George: Yeah, I have been through my history lesson in Norwegian rock music by now, haha! This project is something that happens only once in a lifetime, especially for the Norwegians that grew up with this music!

We play for more than two and a half hours, and the setlist includes material from Perfect Crime, Blonde on Blonde, Høst, Ruphus, Flax, Wild Willy’s Gang, Road, Intrigue etc. We give a different type of energy to these songs with some extras and heavier guitars. If you came to one of our live shows, then you know exactly what I am talking about.

Wild Willy’s Gang is a well-known band in Norway, with previous members such as Jørn Lande (Jorn, Avantasia), Jan Thore Grefstad (Highland Glory, Saint Deamon), Ronnie Le Tekrø (TNT), Brian Robertson (Thin Lizzy) and Morty Black (TNT). How is it to be part of this band?

George: Big names of the industry were part of this band, for shure! So I have some big shoes to fill and I am working really hard to achieve it.

It’s a huge honor for me to be part of this band. WWG have a long history and I am very happy to be a part of their next chapter.

The concert in Trondheim was held at Rockheim – the national museum of popular music. Did you get a chance to discover the museum? I know there is a Kiss exhibition there now!

George: No, unfortunately I didn’t have time to discover the museum this time! But we visited last year with the whole band, and I’ve seen everything, except the Kiss exhibition, because it wasn’t there back then.

I’ve seen the Mayhem room too, and I had the chance to check videos, photos and some cool TV appearances from almost everyone I am playing on this project, which was really amazing.

It’s a great and very well organized museum, and a must for every rock/metal fan visiting Trondheim. I highly recommend it!

When you are on a tour like this, do you have time to discover the cities you visit? In Trondheim for example, did you have time to walk around?

George: It doesn’t happen every time, but sometimes we have time to walk around the cities and have some fun. Everything depends on our schedule though, what time we arrive at the venue, get in, sound check time etc.

I visited Solsiden area [a large open air bar and restaurant area] last time we were in Trondheim. There was no time for visits this time, the schedule was really tight!

I can’t really complain though, as I’ve already visited a lot of cool cities through the years. I love touring!

You are indeed a busy man! After the tour with Wild Willy’s Gang you are once again heading for the road, but this time with Power Quest! Have you had time to learn the songs by now?

George: Really busy, indeed! And some really big setlists to remember. I always prepare my schedule many months before, so I have the time to be a few steps ahead.

I have learned all the songs by now, but I am practicing the setlist almost every day. I have to make sure that I don’t end up playing a Power Quest song on a Wild Willy’s Gang set or the opposite, haha!

Apart from a show in the Netherlands, this is a UK only tour. Are there any plans to tour abroad?

George: These shows were booked already before I joined the band. It is the final round of touring to finish the promotion of the «Sixth Dimension» [2017] album.

No plans for more touring abroad at the moment. We might do a festival run during the summer of 2019 and then we’ll plan a tour abroad later. Everything depends on the new album though!

Speaking about Power Quest: how did you end up with them? 

George: I’ve been playing with Rich in Raven Lord [Rich Smith, also drummer in Power Quest], we toured together in 2013 and we have since then kept in touch. Rich introduced me to PQ and I was listening to the «Blood Alliance» album [2011] and some other gems for many months almost nonstop.

I started talking with Steve [Williams, founder of Power Quest] after a while too, we kept in touch and after some years he sent an email asking me if I was interested in joining the band. Of course I said yes, because I really wanted to join this band.

You have been around playing for many great artists and in many great bands. How do you feel about joining Power Quest? Is this one of the highlights of your career, and are you «home» now?

George: It has been a crazy musical journey so far, indeed!

Joining Power Quest is definitely one of the highlights of my career, these guys are top musicians and amazing people, and I can easily say that I feel home now!

I am really excited and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

What are your thoughts and knowledge of power metal in general?

George: I have been listening to power metal since I was 13-14 years old, and I love it! I grew up with bands such as Helloween, Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian, Stratovarius, Dragonforce, Firewind etc. I am still listening to a lot of power metal bands and I am trying to keep up as much as possible With new releases and new bands.

There are rumors about a new Power Quest album, or at least that you are planning a new album in the near future. What can you tell me about that?

George: The rumors are actually true, we are preparing a new album! We’ll focus more on the songwriting and pre-production procedure when we finish the touring in December. Hopefully we’ll enter the studio to record the new album around November 2019.

How involved are you with the songwriting, or how involved are you planning to be?

George: We are all involved in the songwriting and we  all contribute ideas for new songs. I am already trying to come up with some new songs and ideas, and I plan to be even more involved after the tour!

Is Power Quest your main focus at this point, or do you have any other projects up your sleeve?

George: Yeah, I can definitely say that Power Quest is my main focus at the moment, and everyone that follows me should follow them as well. We are going to do some magic together!

I am also working on my solo project when I have time, so you might hear some instrumental tracks during 2019 as well!

And what about your other band, Vermillion Days? I know you have been planning an album for quite some time. How is that going?

George: Yes, that’s true! We’ve been working on this album for many years, with a lot of problems along the way, but we managed to finish the album and it will be released in 2019 too. We are working on a record deal at the moment.

Vermillion Days is your band from Greece, where you also are from. Do you live in Greece? And how is it to combine all this bands? One in Norway, one in UK and one in Greece.

George: Yes, I live in Thessaloniki, Greece, and this is my base – at least for now.

Being in three bands from different countries is not an easy task, it need good planning, organization and of course a lot of travelling, haha!
I answer to a lot of email every day and I have Skype meetings and sessions every 2-3 days to keep track of everything. My weekly schedule is totally packed, but I really like it!

To all the readers, thank you for taking the time to read the interview! Exciting things are on the way!

Follow, like and subscribe to my band’s official pages and see you on the road!

Wild Willy’s Gang
Power Quest
George «The Kid» Karafotis
Vermillion Days

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