King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard

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King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard

It was several years ago when Stu Mackenzie first made a promise to himself to learn a new instrument each year. While Stu admits it’s not something he’s thrown himself into fully, he’s still managed to learn the sitar, flute and is currently learning the clarinet all while juggling the many projects that King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard undertake.
Four years has seen the band release eight EPs and LPs, win $50,000 as part of the Carlton Dry Independent Music Awards, travel the world and most recently create their own touring music festival, Gizzfest. And in true King Gizzard form it was all done naturally.
“It was a big kind of snowball really, it was just meant to be a normal show and all of a sudden it was a festival and we had to call it something,” Stu says.
It seems things move quickly in the King Gizzard world, and almost as quickly as they decided to change the gig to a festival the line up was completed.
“It was actually pretty easy, it was just putting feelers out there you know. Just saying, ‘Hey guys, this is what this is are you interested in getting involved?’ And heaps of people were into it,” he says.
Bands that put their hands up were The Murlocs, Orb, Mock Turkey, Facetime, Naked Bodies, The Kremlings, Merv the Perv, Dr. Strangelove and many more.
With the Smith Street Band also creating their own mini-festival I Love Life in Brisbane and Sydney, there seems to be a new breed of music festivals filling the gaps of those that have failed before them.
“I’m definitely not an authority to be critiquing or commenting on the Australian music festival circuit, but I don’t think the traditional festivals will be going away any time soon, though there is definitely room for more unusual festivals as well,” Stu says.
Authority or not, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have contributed a hell of a lot since they were recognised nationally with their debut LP 12 Bar Bruise in 2012, through to their most recent musical contribution Quarters!.
Listen to the King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard back catalogue and there’s a definite evolution in their music, and Quarters! is an album that steps even closer towards capturing that live sound.
“I really wanted to do it live, but I also didn’t feel like yelling and screaming on a record as well – and I’m In Your Mind Fuzz sort of was that,” Stu says.
“So I wanted to make it really jammy and simple and stretching out simple ideas and then seeing how many little ideas you can fit into one really simple overall idea.”
While the band aren’t playing Quarters! extensively in their live shows, Stu still admits what they do play is a pleasure to get out to their fans and it’s been even more fun playing at Gizzfest and taking on a different role than just a performing musician.
“Gizzfest was so fun. We did three at the Corner Hotel and it was just such a fun weekend,” he says.
“I think I got to the Corner at 9am on the Saturday because the first band started at 1pm and we had to sound check. Then I left for six hours to go and sleep and then came back to play and was there until 4am Sunday. So it was just epic, it was such a big experience.
“I was trying to make sure everyone was happy and just going around to all the bands and being like, ‘Have you guys got everything you need?’ I was just trying to look after everyone – but I sort of like doing that anyway.”
With the success of the Melbourne festivals, Geelong is sure to follow suit. Originally from Anglesea, Stu’s looking forward to the gig as it’s his “spiritual home ground”.
So far Gizzfest has been an incredible initiative, and as Stu tells me, there’s a chance it’ll get much bigger next time around: “I think we’ll do some more down the track and maybe try and build it up and make it bigger,” he says.
“But it’s all been really fun and most of the shows are with all of our buddies bands so it’s sort of just an excuse to get all your friends in the one place really.”
When & Where: The Barwon Club, Geelong – June 7
Written by Amanda Sherring