Janick Gers

Janick Robert Gers (pronounced /ˈjænɪk ˈɡɛərz/) (born 21 January 1957, Hartlepool, England) is an English musician, best known for his work with Iron Maiden and earlier with Gillan. Janick lives in Yarm, Teesside. His father, Bolesław (known as Bob), was an officer of the Polish Navy.

JANICK GERS as known by Dave Murray

 I saw Janick onstage before I actually met him, and that was when he was with Gillan at Wembley Arena. I saw this flamboyant showman dancing around the stage playing great guitar, and I thought it was absolutely wonderful. Then he came down to a few of our shows and I met him backstage in the bar and we hit it off pretty much immediately – he was a really nice bloke.

In 1990, when Adrian left the band, Janick had just worked on Bruce’s solo album (‘Tattooed Millionaire’) and obviously, he was going to be the first choice as a replacement. But I remember at the beginning that Janick was actually defending Adrian – he was upset that he’d left the band and I think he was trying to talk him into coming back, which shows you what a good guy he is.

He came down to rehearsal and the stacks had been set up facing each other, wall-to-wall, so it was like a stand-off in a Western like ‘The Good, The Bad And The Ugly’, except I think we both wanted to be Clint Eastwood! We did ‘The Trooper’, we just went straight into it, there was no ‘Let’s work it out together quietly.’ It was just like one, two, three, four… bang! And straight away, sparks were flying round the room! It was apparent right away that this was going to work. He was very exciting to play with and it gave the band a well-deserved kick up the rear.

He is a genuine, salt-of-the-earth bloke, a very smart man with a great sense of humour. He’s a very sociable kind of chap. He likes going out strutting, especially on tour. He’ll go out for 20 mile walks and try to hit every bar on the way back!

He’s a good soul. He’s got a very good way of calming things down if they suddenly start to go overboard. He can pull everything together and make sure that people see things the right way. He’s very good at expressing himself that way, a very diplomatic man.

When he’s playing, he’ll push himself to the edge and really goes for it. There are two sides to it. His playing can be very controlled or it can be very spontaneous, but then he plays a lot of the melodic stuff. He’s got great feel, great dexterity, very fluid. So he’s fully rounded as a guitar player who goes from one extreme to another. He encompasses all aspects, from the quiet acoustic clean stuff into overdrive. It’s 360 degrees he plays everything. And he’s a great showman.

He wrote the track ‘Dance Of Death’ and it’s got everything on there, from the quiet moody melodic guitar to clean guitar to really heavy riffs, but done in the most complex and beautiful and sweet and heavy way, done with really good taste. If that song was the alphabet, from A to Z, it’s got every letter in it.

Career and Personal Life

Gers was the lead guitarist of the band White Spirit before joining Gillan, a group formed by former Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan.After Gillan disbanded, he joined Gogmagog which included former Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Di’Anno and drummer Clive Burr. Gers also performed with other artists including former Marillion vocalist Fish. In 1990, he played guitar on the first solo album of Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson, Tattooed Millionaire. In March 1990, during the recording of the album, he was asked to join Iron Maiden in place of departing Adrian Smith.He has remained with the band ever since, even after Smith rejoined the band in 1999. Gers, along with Dave Murray are the only 2 guitarists to ever play with all 3 Iron Maiden recording vocalists, though Murray is the only one to do so as a member of Iron Maiden.

Gers’ playing style uses heavy distortion and is noted for having a very raw tone.

Gers is also left-handed although he plays guitar right-handed; as seen at the Rock In Rio DVD signing autographs.

Gers’ main influences are Ritchie Blackmore, Jeff Beck and Irish blues guitarist Rory Gallagher. He is noted for his energetic stage presence. He occasionally does tricks with his guitar, such as spinning it around his body while playing, or throwing it into the air before catching it.

After Gillan, Gers returned to university to complete a degree in sociology.

He has a daughter named Sian Gers.

Gers had an uncredited cameo role in the BBC drama The Paradise Club in 1990, appearing as the guitarist of Fraud Squad. He also appeared as himself in the Iron Maiden fan-made documentary Maiden Heaven in 2010.

Musical equipment

Gers is a long-time proponent of the Fender Stratocaster. His Stratocasters are typically black or white with rosewood fingerboards. He uses Seymour Duncan JB Jr.(currently) or Hot Rails (early 1990s) pickups. His favourite guitar over the years has been a black Fender Stratocaster, equipped with JB Jr. pickups. Gers uses four different Fender Stratocasters and also a Gibson Chet Atkins semi-acoustic model for songs such as “Dance of Death”. Like his bandmate Dave Murray, Gers currently uses the Marshall JMP-1 preamp through a Marshall 9200 (discontinued) poweramp. He uses Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Nickel-wound guitar strings. He does not use the B strings, however, so the strings go 10-10-17-26-36-46.

Janick Gers
Background information
Born 27 January 1957 (age 54)
Hartlepool, England
Genres Heavy metal, progressive rock, hard rock
Occupations Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1975–present
Labels EMI
Associated acts White Spirit, Gillan, Gogmagog, Bruce Dickinson, Fish, Iron Maiden
Notable instruments
Fender Stratocaster
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