These days, you rarely see the name King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard and not have ‘prolific’ follow closely behind. The band are currently sitting on their ninth album, the fourth to be released by the Melbourne outfit in just 18 months.
Titled Nonagon Infinity, the album is the follow-up to the jazzy Quarters! and the acoustic Paper Mache Dream Balloon, and sees the band returning to the hazy, fuzzed-out psychedelia of previous albums.
The face-melting nine-song collection also has the distinction of being “the world’s first infinitely looping LP”, with each track seamlessly flowing into the next, the final song linking straight back into the opener.
We recently sat down with Stu Mackenzie, frontman for the endlessly creative young group, to chat about the gear that aids King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard in their ongoing sonic explorations and the guitar gear he just couldn’t live without.
Weapon Of Choice
My guitar of choice is always kind of changing. At the moment, I’ve got this one that this guy called Zack built for me in Melbourne. It’s called the Flying Banana and it’s this yellow, sort of like a bent Flying V shape sort of thing, which he modified with microtonal frets in there.
So there’s some extra frets in between the frets, which unlocks some secret notes. That’s my guitar at the moment that I’ve been playing everything with, but I haven’t worked it into the live set just yet. I’ve been playing it a little on stage.
I’ve always used, from the very start, just a Hot Rod Deluxe amp, which is kind of the most basic… really stock standard, common Fender. And I love them, I love the fact that everyone has them and they’re so easy to get or rent if you need them.
They’re very replaceable and everyone knows how to fix them. I used to take two with me and sing into one, but now I just sing into some guitar pedals and different mics and stuff.
Putting Your Foot Down
My guitar pedal setup has probably evolved a little bit but not changed too much. My setup really hasn’t changed too much. I’ve used different guitars over the years. It’s taken a few turns, but nothing drastic.
I mean, my pedal board is mostly pretty standard. I’ve got a Boss Tuner, an MXR Carbon Copy, a Boss DD-3 Delay, a Cry Baby Wah Pedal, all standard as. The only off ones are a Devi Ever Torn’s Peaker, which is like my fuzz pedal, which I’ve used since forever.
It’s the only real drive pedal I’ve ever used. It’s a one-trick pony, I don’t think the knobs even do anything, you just step on it and it squeals. I’m definitely able to try things out more in the studio, but I like the idea of keeping things pretty minimal.
With Quarters, the only pedal I used was a little vibrato pedal, which I still use. They’re real cool pedals. With Nonagon Infinity and I’m In Your Mind Fuzz, the pedal rig was exactly the same live as it was in the studio.
When I think about myself when I was younger, I was pretty obsessed with guitar pedals. I’m probably a lot less obsessed now than I used to be. I think it’s only natural to want to discover all the colours you have to paint with.
There’s something about exploring sonics that is fascinating to a learning guitarist. I mean, everyone’s learning, but finding out what you can do with a guitar, which is a lot, it has a way of unlocking new sounds or textures or colours that weren’t previously available. It’s only natural to be infatuated by that.
I’ve got heaps of weird stuff, heaps of that stuff. I’ve got this Turkish flute that’s kind of like a snake charming instrument. I got it imported from over there and used it on one of the songs on the new album. I’ve been trying to learn how to play it properly, but yeah, that’s pretty bizarre.
I’ve got a bağlama, which his also Turkish, which I got from there. Kind of in the same zone, though, but I’ve got lots of little weird bits and pieces, mics and tapes and things.
Solving Creating Problems
Problem solvers? I’ve got problem creators [laugh] My Hagstrom, which I love, it’s probably my favourite ever guitar as well, but it’s old and it’s got old pickups and I’ve tried to replace the wiring before. It’s kind of perpetually shitting me.
It’s a nuisance to restring. It’s got 12 strings, with these weird nuts, which sit really close to the tuning pegs, so it takes quite a lot longer than twice as long to restring. It’s a problem creator, for sure, but I still manage to always use it.
I use it live more than any guitar now and it’s the guitar I played on the whole of the new record. I just keep coming back to it. I can’t think of any problem solvers.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s new album, ‘Nonagon Infinity’, is available now. Head to the official King Gizzard website to order it now!