King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: “We wanted a band where no-one had to practise, essentially!”

The psych-garage Australians introduce us to their world

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They while away most of their day in Nashville eating ramen, playing pool, shooting darts and watching crap movies on the giant TV in the Cannery Ballroom’s vast subterranean green room. The only sign of intra-band rancour comes when Galea is mocked for his resemblance to a bearded homeless man they spot in Happy Gilmore. Says Mackenzie, “A band of seven could have a lot of interpersonal dynamics and tensions. But I really like being in big band. We spend so much time together, we all know how to look after each other.

“And if anyone does piss you off,” he adds, “you can not talk to them for 24 hours pretty easily – you couldn’t do that in a two-piece.”

In the hours before the Nashville set, Mackenzie tests his skills as band director trying to execute yet another idea that seemed fun at the time, but proves only slightly less challenging than the whole five-albums-in-one-year thing. That’s removing the usual gap between sets by having Gizzard join Mild High Club for an onstage switchover in the middle of the opening act’s last song.


No-one seems convinced it’s possible until it happens. The ensuing performance has more curveballs. Whereas Gizzard sets from earlier this year bounded along at breakneck velocity, there’s more shifting of gears tonight as the berserker mode of Nonagon Infinity’s “People-Vultures” and Flying Microtonal Banana’s “Rattlesnake” gives way to the more relaxed likes of Quarters’ “Lonely Steel Sheet Flyer” and new songs from Sketches Of Brunswick East. Conceivably, there could be two stripes of Gizzheads emerging, with some becoming just as rabid about the mellower songs. “You notice it at the shows,” says Moore. “People who want to chill just hang at the back.”

That the audience cares not a jot about King Gizzard’s continual creative detours is one indication of the latitude they’ve created. “A lot of bands would be lambasted for that,” says Walker. “But for us, it’s a defining factor.”

“People are annoyed with us if we make two records in a row that are kinda similar,” quips Mackenzie. “We probably will have to do that at some point!”

In the meantime, it’s been heartening for their peers to see the Gizzard universe expand the way it has. “They’re such a great band,” says Courtney Barnett, “And it’s been really reassuring to see there are people who care about good music.”

“I can’t understand how they can be so productive, keep such a high quality and tour constantly,” says Goat’s spokesman. “We hope they can keep it up and know when they need a rest!”

And rest is what they get after the show as various Gizzard members enjoy an ’80s Schwarzenegger movie with beers and await an early morning departure to Atlanta. Outside in the parking lot, a few Gizzheads linger before dispersing into the night. There’ll be no more chances to get records signed or show off tattoos. Perhaps that’s for the best given the musicians’ worries about what they might be encouraging. “A young girl recently asked two or three of us to sign her arm with a black marker,” says Mackenzie. “We saw her six months later and she’d tattooed these huge signatures all over her forearm. Then she said, “Can I get the rest?” We were all like, “I dunno… this feels very irresponsible. She was like, ‘Please just do it!’ So we all signed and she got the rest tattooed on her arm.”


He laughs. “At least with the gator, Jase drew it and it’s a cool character. These were just our shitty signatures. I thought, ‘You’ll get it removed someday, but good on ya for enjoying it now!’”

The June 2019 issue of Uncut is on sale from April 18, and available to order online now – with Pink Floyd on the cover. The issue comes with a unique 15-track CD curated for Uncut by The National, who also speak exclusively to us inside the issue. Elsewhere, you’ll find Scott Walker, Bob Dylan, Primal Scream, JJ Cale, Cate Le Bon, Peter Perrett, Aretha Franklin, Mac DeMarco, Dinosaur Jr, Dylan Carson, Africa Express and much more.


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