Updated: Mar 12, 2021
Australia's had its fair share of successful artists over the years, AC/DC, Midnight Oil, and Karnivool come to mind. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have very quickly added themselves to that list of bands. King Gizzard seems to have a special aura about them that reminds us of the feeling other great bands had when they were in their prime. We wanted to take some time today to talk about what makes the band stand out, and why they've become so popular.
They Release a LOT of Material
15 albums over an 8 year span is quite impressive in its own rite, but what is perhaps more impressive was the band's successful effort to release 5 completely new studio albums, all in the span of a single year! (the year was 2017).
Their Refusal to Be Pinned Down
Another attribute of the band loved by fans is their ability to constantly change genres and styles, while still maintaining their own unique Gizz' sound. Across their discography they traverse through more bluesy numbers (12 Bar Bruise), progressive/psychedelic rock (I'm in Your Mind Fuzz), eastern microtones (Flying Microtonal Banana), and heavy thrash rock (Infest the Rat's Nest).
The band likes to keep things fresh, and it's something the fans appreciate. You never know what you're going to get with a new Gizz' album, and when combined with their high volume of releases, they've provided their listeners with a large diverse discography.
A Unique Lineup
The band had consisted of 7 members since its inception, until 2020 when drummer/manager Eric Moore announced his departure. The band members are thus:
Stu Mackenzie (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, flute)
Ambrose Kenny-Smith (vocals, harmonica, keyboards)
Cook Craig (guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals)
Joey Walker (guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals)
Lucas Harwood (bass, keyboards)
Michael Cavanagh (drums, percussion)
Eric Moore (drums, percussion) left in 2020
Two things you'll notice about their lineup is 1. almost the entire band contributes to the sound in multiple ways, and 2. the band had two drummers throughout most of their history.
Having two drummers in a band is quite rare, and they maximize the dual percussionists to their maximum effectiveness by having the two play interlocking, complex and amazing rhythms.
Stu Mackenzie (pictured left) is the band's front-man, primary vocalist, and primary songwriter. Mackenzie has largely been responsible for the band's image and shifting musical genres.
Their Popularity Has Sparked a Scene
New styles and genres of music seem to come in waves, and they seem to hail mostly from musical hot spot locations. The British wave of the 60's many of which came from the same cities such as Liverpool or Birmingham, the thrash scene in San Francisco in the 80's, Seattle with grunge in the 90's, and now today there is a thriving and exciting psychedelic music scene in Australia. King Gizzard didn't start this music trend, but have taken up the flag, along with Tame Impala, as one of the scene's biggest artists, as the Beatles, Metallica, and Nirvana all did for their respective music scenes.
Things sure have changed since Metallica sued Napster. KGATLW have built a close relationship with their fans, one bolstered by the many free albums the band has released online, including the full studio album Polygondwanaland, and a variety of live albums and demos.
Giving out your music for free runs contradictory to what most other artists are doing in the music industry, but it's likely paid off. The albums have been pressed by amateur and smaller record producers across the globe, in all media formats and many with individualized unique artwork.
The band has encouraged all of this, and must be pleased with fan reactions to these albums, as the free releases have become favorites of collectors and have produced all kinds of amazing fan produced art.
King Gizzard Is an Old Breed With New Style
KGATLW manages to have a very modern sound, yet one that is in the same vein of all the rock giants that preceded them. They're one of the most popular modern rock bands, and hold a special place in many people's hearts. The band has future albums planned and will likely continue their ascension into rock history, possibly ending up one day with enshrinement in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.