“It’s the end of the road for us,” King Gizzard guitarist Joey Walker reveals in the opening minutes of Uncut’s final – and the 2023 festival’s busiest – Q&A of the weekend. Not, thankfully, a very public abdication, but a sign of relief at the final show of the current Gizzard tour, before a lengthy break to welcome three new children to the “family”.
And so begins a Q&A every bit as bizarre and unpredictable as the Australian rockers’ relentless musical output. Our host – Uncut reviews editor Tom Pinnock – explains that his planned joke about the band releasing a new album since the festival began is scuppered by the fact that they actually have: the 40-song, five-hour Live In Chicago ’23. “We did three nights and it’s all three nights back-to-back on one album,” says Stu Mackenzie. “It was actually an ultra-dramatic set of shows, it was fucked up. Every day should have been cancelled, but it kind of made it super fun and we did weird shit.” His explanation for the crankiness of some of the audio? “It rained on the hard drive.”
Things – very briefly – get serious as Pinnock presses the band on the demise-of-humanity themes of their most recent studio album PetroDragonic Apocalypse. “It’s just real,” says Mackenzie. “Sorry to ruin the party. But you just replace climate change with a dragon. I think we’re going down with a bang. We’ll just have fun on the way down.”
He also discusses their forthcoming 25th studio record in eleven years, touted as the yang to PetroDragon…’s yin. “When we made Petro… we thought we’d do this super heavy thing and also do this beautiful electronic record and find some way to make them the same world.”
Before long, though, he’s openly admitting to modelling King Gizzard’s career on The Grateful Dead (“I’m a psychopathic hippie”), and once questions are thrown open to the floor, any semblance of order swiftly deteriorates. One fur-drenched “fan” called King Mink asks them where they got various items of clothing before admitting he has no idea who they are. Another introduces them to the baby they “signed” while she was still in the womb. A third asks for a name for their band, prompting Walker to scroll through the hundreds he’s been collecting on his phone. Rejecting Thai Seagull, Side Salad and Abraham Linkedin, the band are eventually dubbed Colostomy Bag. Watch this pouch.
One fan draws gasps by asking when standard rock band wrangling will inevitably split the band. “In the earlier iteration of Giz,” says Mackenzie, “when we first started doing it and were literally struggling to eat, we thought we’d do this until it just becomes absurd and then we’ll get a job. It felt like a very distant far-out possibility that we could be doing it as long as we are now. That felt like some freakish chance. So to still be doing it now is amazing. I hope we can do it forever.” Whatever the weekend’s marquee message, some roads don’t have to end.
Catch up with all of Uncut’s coverage of End Of The Road 2023 here.