Interview with Elephant Mountain’s Brian “Slider” Azzoto

Brian “Slider” Azzoto has played guitar in many Syracuse based band most notable Brand New Sin who were signed to Century Media Records and toured with bands such as Black Label Society and Motorhead. Brian’s newest project with former Brand New Sin band mate Joe Altier title Elephant Mountain just released their first album titled “The Last Days of Planet Earth” which Brian also produced. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Brian recently about the new band/album and what it was like working with his old band mate again.

Adam Lawton: How does it feel to be working with Joe Altier again?
Brian “Slider” Azzoto: It feels good. It’s nice because when we are working together it’s like we know what each other is thinking and how we want a song to go. It’s nice to already know what our expectations of each other are. We knew that we worked well together from our time together in Brand new Sin so it just really makes the song writing process a lot easier. Joe is one of my best friends so it’s great to be able to work with him again.

AL: How did you guys go about getting back together?
BA: Joe and I both lost our fathers in about a 6 month period. He and I started talking and helping each other get through that. A mutual friend of ours John Hanus, who I went to high school with actually brought up the idea of jamming together again. Joe was about a year out of Brand New Sin and I was in Ledyard but we were starting to move in a heavier direction musically so I thought it would be nice to play some more rock-n-roller type stuff. There were really expectations for Elephant Mountain because at the time everyone in the group had other bands or projects. We were just doing it for fun.

AL: Can you briefly describe the new Elephant Mountain album for us?
BA: I think the new Elephant Mountain album is like a melting pot of retro 70’s classic rock but with a modern edge to it. We didn’t set out to be a classic rock band as we wanted to be relevant while at the same time bringing out our influences from when we were growing up.

AL: Do you have a favorite track off the album?
BA: Of course I’m going to say I like them all equally but I will say my favorite song to play live is “Words with Friends”. I love the energy of that song and the riffs are really fun to play. I love how we jump from this AC/DC/Motorhead vibe to a Led Zeppelin type feel in the middle and end of the song. The song came out really cool. When I was writing the music I thought that we weren’t going to be able to use it as I couldn’t come up with a bridge part to tie everything together but then I came up with the bridge part and it all seemed to work.

AL: I’m sure people always ask but how did you get the nickname “Slider” come from?
BA: Back in 1992 I started a band called Mudslide and we used to practice in this building on the North side of Syracuse with like 20 other bands. We all used to call it the Love Shack
because the owner’s last name was Love. Everyone in the building used to call me Brian Mudslide. Over time the Brian dropped off and then the Mud dropped off and an R was added to the end. That’s where the name “Slider” came from.

AL: Knowing you are big Kiss fan what is you take on the bands current lineup?
BA: Of course I would love it if the original line up was together but I know music is a business and Kiss definitely a brand name. Gene and Paul have to do whatever it takes to keep it going. I’m not a fan of two other guys playing Ace and Peter but Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer are great musicians so they will make Kiss sound great but it’s not the real Kiss. I know I’m not spending over $100.00 to see half of Kiss I will tell you that! I was lucky enough to catch the original band in 2000 so I’m all good!

AL: Any other upcoming plans for releases, shows or anything else you would like to mention?
BA: We are just writing as much as we can for the new record. Hopefully we will be starting the recording process soon. We don’t have any shows really planned until after winter unfortunately but we are all so busy it makes it tough. I hope to see everyone the next time we play out and we plan on playing a bunch of festivals next spring and summer.

For more info on Elephant Mountain head over to www.elephant-mountain.com

Also be sure to check out our album review of Elephant Mountains “The Last Days of Planet Earth” as well as our interview with Elephant Mountain singer Joe Altier

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