Whether you're a casual fan or a die-hard "Gizz-Wiz," it's easy to praise the tremendous talents of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. Their rapid musical output alone is something to marvel at, producing nine full-length albums that span many different genres over the course of seven or so years. A King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard live performance literally sounds and feels epic. Two dueling drummers and a progressive bass drive the beat, accompanied by three phenomenal guitarists and a wailing harmonica that lurks in the shadows of this melodic dream sequence unfolding on stage. On the surface, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard's name is enough to make you curious, but these 5 things you didn't know about the band might inhale you in to their musical vortex evermore.
1. Their harmonica player is the singer of an amazing alternative R&B soul band called The Murlocs.
When you produce as much high quality music as King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard does, it would seem difficult to have time to take on any other serious projects. Ambrose Kenny-Smith apparently didn't get the memo because during his time with King Gizzard, he's been hard at work producing two full length albums and two EPs since 2011. The Murlocs blend R&B, soul, psychedelic rock and alternative with Ambrose's impressive vocal skills to create some truly addicting music that is well worth listen or two.
2. Lead singer, Stu Mackenzie made a promise to himself to learn a new instrument every year until he's dead.
Over the years we've seen Stu dabble with a few unique instruments while recording. Instruments such as a clarinet, a theremin, a Turkish horn called a Zurna and custom micro tuned guitar have found their way on to King Gizzard albums because of Stu's unwavering dedication to his craft and his determination to learn a new instrument every year until he dies. We can't wait until we hear a xylophone mixed with some heavy metal guitar riffs.
3. Their 2016 album Nonagon Infinity is essentially one long song that loops infinitely from the last track back to the first seamlessly.
Artistically and musically, the idea that Nonagon Infinity is essentially one infinite loop of psychedelic rock gold that connects the final notes to the opening notes is absolutely brilliant. One of the only ways to describe this album would be to call it a form of controlled chaos. This album is a headbanger's dream on the surface, but an unassuming artistic masterpiece lies beneath.
4. The band's name was conceived through a last minute brainstorm that offered up ideas like "Gizzard Gizzard" and references to Jim Morrison's "Lizard King".
Some of the best things in life happen organically, when we don't stress about them too hard. That idea seems to be proven right by the story behind King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard's unique name. The guys had been jamming for a little while before their formation and were invited to play at a last-minute gig thrown together by a friend who asked them to perform. According to Stu, he "wanted (the name) to be ‘Gizzard Gizzard,’ but I think everyone thought that was just stupid. Then someone else wanted a Jim Morrison King Lizard reference, and then Lizard Gizzard came up, then more rhymes, then a few fusion of names and we ended up King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard." As they say, the rest is history.
5. They throw their own festival every year in Australia called Gizzfest.
Festivals come and festivals go, but King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard's own Gizzfest in Australia is one that you wouldn't want to let pass you by. Since 2015 the band has produced the touring mini-festival, showcasing bands such as Pond, Mild High Club, The Murlocs and White Fence, as well as the Gizz-masters themselves. With the growing popularity of the band, we can almost guarantee that Gizzfest will continue to be an annual occasion for the seven piece band from Melbourne.