Elias Zaikos:

Elias Zaikos was born in 1960 in Thessaloniki , Greece , where he is permanently based. During his early teen years, he showed relatively little interest in music and listened mainly to Greek traditional and popular songs. Sometime around 1976, he was introduced to soul and to rock and roll music. Little by little he got so involved with music that being a listener just wasn't enough. A friend of local rock musicians, he followed them on to their gigs and got a first hand knowledge of the pleasures - but also the difficulties - that are all part of a musician's lifestyle. He soon found out what it really means to express oneself through an instrument.

As he turned twenty, he picked up the guitar for the first time. The six strings became his constant companion and he devoted his time to practicing and playing. Around the same time he discovered the blues, the musical genre that had such a powerful and profound effect on him that he dedicated himself to it completely. A self-taught musician, Elias Zaikos developed a particular technique on the guitar, using a thumbpick together with the bare fingers of his right hand - something he saw for the first time on a live Muddy Waters video.

In the early eighties, Elias Zaikos founded Blues Wire (or Blues Gang, as they were initially named). In 1983 the band recorded the first blues album in Greece , which paved the way for a long series of successful albums that followed. Performing an average of two hundred nights every year in a small country like Greece is an achievement indeed, but Blues Wire have done just that, confirming thus the band's hard work and also its enduring popularity. All these years, Blues Wire have been constantly active in countless jam sessions, backing and supporting famed bluespeople, like Katie Webster, John Hammond, Albert King, Otis Rush, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Larry Garner, Carey Bell and many others: They were all amazed by the authority and style of these Greek blues players. Europe was the obvious next step for E.Z. and Blues Wire.

The band has played in clubs and festivals in most European countries and received a well-deserved enthusiastic response from audiences everywhere. Renowned guitar players such as Buddy Guy, Louisiana Red and Gypie Mayo have been impressed by E.Z.'s chops and style, and so were the diverse audiences throughout Europe while E.Z. was handing them his fiery and passionate solos: from the singing crowd of Athens to the dancing gig-goers in Trieste and the standing ovation in Austria . Over the last fifteen years Elias Zaikos has worked together with a great number of artists and earned the respect and admiration of his fellow musicians and peers. Nowadays he is considered to be the most important blues musician in Greece - a guitarist of rare talent and expressiveness, a strong and passionate singer and a charismatic performer. The elements that prevail in his live and recorded work are his complete love for the guitar and an endless quest for the spirit behind the music at all times away from ego trips and other pretensions.

In early 1997, E.Z.’s first solo album, the critically acclaimed Off The Box, was released. It is an instrumental effort, which occasionally breaks away from the standard blues format and adds an emphasis on melody and composition. Between Spirit and Time, his second solo album was released in late 2000. An eclectic collection, Between Spirit and Time features recordings from three different periods in styles ranging from traditional acoustic blues to contemporary electric rock/blues ballads. This was followed by a recent live recording, Jimi Jam (2003), which is a tribute to the music of Jimi Hendrix.

These days Elias Zaikos continues to be the leader and the driving force of Blues Wire, planning to record the next Blues Wire album and working on new songs.