George Zikos – Artist Profile

George Zikos was born in 1965 in the Greek port of Thessaloniki on the Thermaic Gulf of the Aegean Sea.

Thessaloniki_White_Tower_and_promanade
Thessaloniki White Tower and Promanade

At the age of 10 he decided he wanted to learn how to play the violin, but the costs of learning and buying such a high-class instrument, was something his family could not afford, so he gave up that idea and tried something a little cheaper – the harmonica.

A year later his mother gave him (as a gift) his very first record; Elvis Presley’s “The Rockin’ Days”. That was the time when George discovered the real sound of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

elvis the rockin days

Turning 12 years old, he began practicing Rock ‘n’ Roll and R ‘n’ B music by borrowing classical guitars from friends, it would be another two years before he managed to buy his first guitar. This was a Japanese copy of a Gibson Les Paul, from a factory called “Gerley”.

Then he put together his first band called “The Streets”, playing mostly Rockabilly and Punk. Like many teens of his era, George watched “Woodstock the Movie” in the cinema. Jimi Hendrix’s performance left a big mark on him, and made him say “This is what I really want to do.” All of a sudden he wanted to be a soloist studying with an unorthodox method of his own, which he likes to call “Unofficial Practicing”. This means he studies without any program, specific exercises, or particular time periods. He was a teenager after all, (who used to party, go to bars, discotheques, hang out with friends, hook up with girls… etc.), living a normal social teenage life.

After finishing high school he went to Germany. It took him about a year to start feeling homesick and he realized he had no other option other than returning to Greece.

In 1984 he put together his second band called “WE”, playing mainly classic rock, with a Strat copy manufactured by “Morris”. One year later he was playing in Greek Dance clubs all over the country, as a rhythm guitarist, and making a living. He continued doing that for 10 years in a row (1985-1995). At the beginning of this period, he managed to buy his first decent guitar, a standard black Fender Stratocaster. He also threw away the old trusty peavey transistor amp he used in previous years, for his first tube amp, a Mesa Boogie studio 22, a great tool (as he likes to call it) that he used until 2008.

In 1987 one of his friends gave him an audio cassette with a Turkish Musician playing Turkish music via a fretless guitar. He immediately took off his Morris guitar’s frets and started experimenting with fretless playing, later on he had the idea to introduce this sound to his gigs at the Greek Dance Clubs.

In 1988 he started the group “ZERO – ZERO”, playing jazz rock and fusion rock music mostly from the mainstream songs of that era. They stayed together until 1995. In 1996 he quit playing at Greek Night Clubs and started playing jazz standards using only his fretless guitar. This was a new born project band with no name and lots of musicians coming and going.

Chris Papadopoulos, a famous Greek multi-instrumentalist with a music show on TV (Charin Euphonias – 7X CHANNEL), introduced George Zikos with his fretless guitar along with two other band members in 1998.

He worked in music shops during 95-99 and he continued playing Fretless Guitar with his project band at many festivals but never with the mass appeal he would have liked to have.

In 1999 he reunited “ZERO – ZERO” band, and they started playing all kinds of rock music (blues , fusion, classic, funk, hard rock etc) whenever and wherever possible. They are still together today (2016), 17 beautiful years full of music, playing fretted and unfretted guitars and he has become one of the best known rock guitarists in Greece.

In 2000 he opened a music shop of his own (Diatoniko) in Athens, Greece, which is still operating, selling instruments new and second hand, offering a full service in repairing and setting up all kinds of guitars and Greek folklore instruments like Bouzoukis etc.

guitar repair

In the basement of the shop he runs his studio, a place where he teaches guitar, produces Greek music for others and rehearses with his band.

mixing desk

Γ.ΖΗΚΟΣ – Δ. ΕΞΗΝΤΑΒΕΛΩΝΗΣ Ο.Ε
3ης Σεπτεμβρίου 143 & Ιθάκης, Αθήνα, 11251
Τηλέφωνο : 210 8217 901

Music had always been a big part of his life, right from the beginning, but he took time out to get married in 2006 and is the father of four children.

George Zikos on stage

Discography

George has worked as a session guitarist through all his career in studios, and participated in many records too. His official discography includes:

George Zikos and Zero Zero (2012) a Greek Rock album with songs of his own (lyrics and music)

Divagation (2014) an instrumental album with easy listening music using his fretless guitar. Review and Videos from the album here.

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Article written by Dimitris P. Boskainos & Lina F. Dellaporta

Links

George Zikos Facebook

Diatoniko Studio

More Fretless Guitarists

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