king gizzard the lizard wizard

The king and all of his lizard wizards, clockwise from upper left: Ambrose Kenny-Smith, Cook Craig, Joey Walker, Michael Cavanagh, Stu Mackenzie, Lucas Harwood.

Photo by Jamie Wdziekonski

The Aussie rockers revamp their axes and slither back with three new albums—following seven others since 2017—of rock 'n' roll weirdness.

Back in early 2017, Australia's ever-experimenting, genre-melding, envelope-pushing ensemble King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard released Flying Microtonal Banana, their initial foray into the world of microtonal music. The band's interest in microtones, or those notes that fall in between the keys on a piano, was piqued when Stu Mackenzie—one of the group's three guitarists, co-lead vocalist, and de facto ringleader—started fooling around with traditional Middle Eastern instruments such as the Turkish bağlama [also called the saz] and Persian setar. Mackenzie asked Aussie luthier Zac Eccles to add extra frets to the banana yellow guitar he was building—dubbed the "Flying Microtonal Banana"—in order to enable the guitarist to play strategically placed quarter-tones in specific, pre-determined keys. Eccles then modified instruments for the band's bassist, Lucas Harwood, and guitarists Cook Craig and Joey Walker, and they got to work adapting their sound to this new approach.

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