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King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are a 7 piece garage punk band from Melbourne Australia. The band released two full length records in 2013, “Float Along – Fill Your Lungs” and “Eyes Like The Sky”. Their latest LP “Oddments” comes out March 2014. Our friend Ryan Muldoon at Revolt of the Apes has compiled a list of 10 questions for King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, answered by Stu, in anticipation of their APF 2014 performance.
Is there a certain musician â€“ or artists, author, etc. â€“ whose talent you are in awe of to such a degree that you consider them to be perhaps wizard-like? What is it about what they do that is so appealing to you, and what is it about their technique or output that you find so confounding? With apologies to the Lovin’ Spoonful, do you believe in magic, how the music can free you, whenever it starts?
As a kid my dad was obsessed with Neil Young and used to serenade me with Old Man and Needle and the Damage done to get to sleep. Over the years I’ve slowly converted myself into a super obsessed mega fan too. The breadth of his work is pretty astounding and potentially wizard-like. I even love modern-old-cooked-crazy Neil. I’ve been listening to On The Beach pretty much every day lately
What was on your minds when you made the decision to call yourselves King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard? Was the person who suggested the name laughing at the time, or were they dead serious? Is King Gizzard a reference to an actual person? Is the Lizard Wizard related in any way to the â€œlizard kingâ€?
The band was never supposed to play more than one or two shows so we didn’t think it mattered. It was just a joke, off-the-cusp type decision that wasn’t meant to be used more than a coupe of times. It was a bit of a jam band at the beginning. A joke band actually. Now the joke is on us.
What did you seek to discover upon the formation of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard? Were there certain sounds that you wanted to explore, perhaps sounds that you were unable to explore in any previous musical efforts? Speaking of – were there any previous musical ventures of note from the members of the band, and how do you think those ventures impacted King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard?
We originally had a revolving cast of players so the songs had to be really simple so we could play them together without actually having to rehearse. Now we’re a real band with a stable line-up who practice and write together. Every record we’ve done since then has been an excuse to explore some different ideas and themes. Most of us grew up playing in garage bands though, so somehow it always reverts somewhat back to that.
We love, love, love, love that you begin your album â€œFloat Along â€“ Fill Your Lungsâ€ with the sixteen minute freakout/mindfuck that is â€œHead On/Pill,â€ not least because the balance of the (absolutely excellent) album doesn’t feature any other songs even half that length. What else can you tell us about this song and the decision to make it the album’s lead track? How important is the sequencing of an album in your mind? Can you think of any one album in particular that has an opening track that completely flips your wig?
Thanks! Head On/Pill was the first track that we wrote and recorded for Float Along – Fill Your Lungs so i guess the rest of the album was written around that. It made perfect sense to me to sequence it first on the record. The only other decently long track on the record is the title track and it seemed fitting to close the record with that to balance it out.
In what ways, if any, do you feel that Australia has contributed to your own musical evolution and education? Is there any disappointment that the country in general is largely left off of many touring band’s itineraries, or does it just feel like â€œbusiness as usualâ€ â€“ with many excellent homegrown bands prepared to fill in any gaps, real or imagined?
We’ve grown up in pubs around Australia watching predominantly Australian (and particularly Melbourne) bands. You could spend your whole life going to gigs in Melbourne 3 nights a week and still discover amazing artists on the reg. Most of my favourite bands are from Melbourne. Australia rules.
What’s the history with the band, considering there are 7 members? Do you guys go way back?
Cook and I went to high school together. Lucas and I played in bands together as teenagers. So did Lucas and Ambrose. Cavs and Eric went to high school together. Eric and Joe and I went to Uni together. So i guess we all go way back in our own different ways.
How did you first hear of Austin Psych Fest? Are there any bands in particular that you’re excited by the prospect of seeing live while you’re in Texas?
I’ve wanted to head to go to Psych Fest for years so it was an honour to be asked to play! I’m excited for a lot, particularly BJM, Black Angels, Zombies, UMO, Dead Meadow, La Femme, Woods, Jacco Gardnerâ€¦
Any plans to check out or tour Texas and the US while you’re here for APF?
Yeah definitely â€” can’t wait to see y’all!
What music have you been listening to lately? If push comes to shove, what is your favourite Spacemen 3 song and why?
I’ve been listening to Erkin Koray, the Anatolian rock god from the 60’s/70’s a lot lately. The album Elekronik Turkuler had me stunned when I first heard it. He is still alive I think. Should get him out for psych fest!
What’s next for King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard?
We are working an on album at the moment with the working title â€˜Trans-human’. And looking forward to coming to the US!
Catch King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard at APF 2014 May 2 – 4. Tickets and camping passes are available for purchase HERE.