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Published: 2014/12/30
by Kayla Clancy

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard: A Colorful Canvas of Mind Fuzz

With the release of their fifth record, I’m on Your Mind Fuzz the psychedelic garage waves of Melbourne, Australia’s with King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard continue to reach new ears. The group has just finished up another round of U.S. touring, and played for the first time in the United Kingdom, with three sold-out shows over three weeks in London alone. All three gigs were filled with uncontrollable energy, improvisational jams, and feelings of traveling through galactic starry deserts and far-reaching cosmos. At Rough Trade Records in London we had a chat with creative frontman Stu Mackenzie who discusses the unexpected origins of the band, his musical influences, and the group’s musical mission.

Psychedelic rock has some heavy roots in the 60s and 70s. Has that era influenced you a lot?

Yeah, totally. I grew up on sixties stuff, more like beat and garage, and just classic sort of music like The Beatles, the Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bo Diddley, Little Richard. My parents were sort of into that, and a lot of folk and country. And then when I was a teenager I got obsessed with later sixties, classic garage Nuggets stuff. That’s what I listened to the most in those formative years. I think that’s the backbone of this band.

How did the name come about?

It’s just silly. The band started off as kind of a joke. We were all playing in different bands and we were all friends so we had this band for a party one time. I think it was under a different name and we just kept changing it. It didn’t really matter since it was just a jam. All the songs were one chord and one word. It was just silly, so we had a silly name. It came out of nowhere really. We never thought the band would stick around, and then it did.

Is there anything you feel like you’re seeking to preserve from the psychedelic era?

I think it’s good to let the persona of the band evolve and be left free and take on some kind of form we didn’t expect. We’ve been working on some newer stuff and it’s not how I thought the band would ever be. Starting off as a joke band with one chord it’s already taken on some strange thing and turned into something I never expected, which is kind of cool.

How does having seven members help you achieve your sound?

It’s good having seven people. There’s more people to vibe off of, and more ideas flying around. There’s more color splashing over the canvas so to speak.

Have there been any disadvantages?

Well it’s hard to tour. Doing anything is kind of hard, like getting people together, rehearsing, driving big vans, but we’re all best buddies so it’s pretty easy in that regard. We don’t really fight or anything. It makes touring more fun as well. It’s always exciting, and there’s always someone to talk to.

You recently finished up a U.S. tour, how did that go?

We supported White Fence from California, and toured around with them for a few weeks. It was sort of cool being the support band for a bit. It took the pressure off, and we jammed a lot on stage, and played lots of different sorts of sets. If the crowd was super chill, we would play lots of chill songs, like the weirder songs too. If people were jumping around, then we would rock out more.

What have been your favorite cities to play?

It’s been cool being in London, and New York. They’re kind of special cities-big cities where everyone responds well to music. We haven’t done the West Coast yet for some reason. I think we definitely will try to next year.

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