Az-Iz hails from Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. This power metal band packs the house and their fan base keeps growing. This high energy, crowd involving band, can mostly be described sounding like Metallica and Skid Row with some inspiration from The Doors. They have selected a new management group, 434 Managment.
They have had a change in Guitar players, Kevin Crocheron, is now at the Lead.
The band members that were present during this interview. Jamie Sharp on Drums, Frank Conte on the Front Mic, Former Lead Guitar, Chris Dunyon, and Adam Norseth on Bass.
How did you come up with the name Az Iz?
At the time Chris and I started the band there were bands that had silly names and they wore spandex and had big hair and that wasn’t what we were. It was just you come and see us and we were as is, we are as we are.
You guys have a family dynamic in the band. Frank is married to Jamie’s sister and Jamie’s son is Adam’s partner.
Frank: Chris and I have been friends for 30 years. So he is every bit of a family member as anyone else.
Let’s talk about what other bands you guys have played with. Let’s start with Jamie, the drummer.
Jamie: Scar Strangled Banger, Cartoon Criminals, Sig9, Seven King.
And you were endorsed?
Jamie: Yes, by Sabian Cymbals and Vic Firth Sticks.
How long have you been with Az-Iz?
Jamie: ‘92 to ‘96 and then we broke up. I continued playing on. My dad past away. A few years ago, we decided to do a reunion show, a one show deal, and here we are 2 years later, still playing. 14 or 15 shows. (Counting the posters on the practice room walls). Ok, so, 18-20.
Frank: That first reunion show we didn’t expect the turnout that we got. We immediately started getting phone calls. About our third show, we played with Wildside. We played with them in the ‘90’s. Every show gets bigger and bigger.
You guys just played with Skid Row.
Frank: So yes, we’ve played with Skid Row, Wildside, Prophets of Addiction, and The Iron Maidens. Some unsigned bands we played with are Scarlet Canary, ZamTrip, Emissary Echo, thank you, by the way, we are good buddies now. It’s been pretty insane.
What other bands have you been in, Chris?
Chris: I was in a band called Legend. Then Jamie and I met Frank and we formed Az-Iz. After we kinda broke up, I started a band called Prozac Nation. I played with them for about 6 months and then I played the stereo for about 20 years. Until we all got back together.
Frank, what other bands have you been in?
Frank: Yes, I was in the second re-incarnation of Allie. After two drummers though, we were done. And then I played in a band called Axis. Those guys turned into a band called Cartoon Criminals and now they are called Alive.
Adam has played for a couple other bands as well?
Frank: Yes, the biggest one was Tommy Had A Vision. They were signed for a while. They played Rocklahoma. Youthquake, Metal Tears, Temper, and more recently Soundingstone.
You guys just came out with a new EP? I got a copy of your one from last year. So, that’s one every year since you started playing. Are you putting out another next year? Where do you see yourselves in five years?
Frank: I don’t think we really have a vision for our future. We weren’t really planning on taking off like we did.
Jamie: We are just concentrating on one show at a time. We were only planning on playing one show a month, and the next thing we know, we are playing three shows a month. We play our shows, we practice, we’ve been writing new material. We have two new songs on our EP. Those are the first new songs we’ve had since ‘92.
Frank: We are trying to back off from playing so much. We want to concentrate on music. We all work full time jobs and have families. We all work different hours. Chris and Jamie have their own businesses. Adam works for a trucking company and sometimes his drivers can’t make it and he has to leave for a couple days. But, yes, next year we should have some new music to record.
You guys have played some shows outside of Utah.
Frank: We have played in Wyoming and Idaho. We have had opportunities to play in North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Nevada. Its our schedules that keep us from doing a lot of out of state shows.
What do you guys listen to at home? When you’re jammin’ out in your car?
Frank: This will be fun, because we all listen to different kinds of music.
Jamie: Lamb of God, Skid Row, Motley Crew. My spectrum of music ranges from Rock to Metal. Slipknot, Mudvayne.
Chris: Jazz and Blues. I love Frank Sinatra. It cools my jets.
Who is the main songwriter?
Chris: I may come up with a riff, but Jamie will say add this, or Frank will say try this.
Jamie: There is just a lot of collaboration.
Frank: There isn’t just one of us that writes a song. We all add something to each song. Sometimes I will write a song, lyrically, and I will shoot it to Chris. It used to be that we would meet up at Denny’s until 2 am and go over ideas. Now everything is digital. So we can share ideas digitally. Phones, computers. Could be a beat that Jamie comes up with or a riff that Chris or Adam comes up with and we we all just add to it.
Jamie: My brother used to be the bass player for the band. Then we got Adam. We told him, just make it your song.
Adam: When new guys come into the band they want you to sound like the old guy in the band. But these guys weren’t like that. Do something else with it.
Jamie: We wanted him to be comfortable with the music he was playing.
Frank: When we got Adam it took us a year to get him to play with us and make the music the way he wanted to. We just kept telling him to make it his. We wanted a band member. Not just someone who would come in and play what someone else could play.
I think Adam is a great showman! I have some great pictures of Adam, man, he rocks it!
Frank: Adams always great for that. You know, Chris sees Adam and says, well hell I can do that. Our live show is entertaining.
Adam: That is one thing that I brought in to the fold. With all my experience of being in a band and going to see bands, 90% of the audience, unless they are musicians, they hear with their eyes. There are bands that you go and listen to. Its ok to not play perfect. The live element is not about perfection. “You want to be as good as you can be, but if you flub a note, own it.”
These guys are not only put on a heck of a show, but they are just real down to earth good guys.