Get Lost in the Raw & Eclectic Sounds of Greta Van Fleet
By: Cara Boyer
March 19, 2014
Take a listen to any Greta Van Fleet song and you’ll distinctly hear that lead singer Josh Kiszka sounds like a descendant of Robert Plant. Take a look at the band’s biography, and you’ll be even more shocked to learn that not a single one of its members can legally purchase a lottery ticket—because they’re all under the age of 18 and are still in high school.
The guys of Greta Van Fleet, composed of Josh, his brothers Jake (lead guitar/vocals) and Sam (bass/keys/mandolin), as well as friend Danny Wagner (drums), are born and bred Michiganders based in Frankenmuth.
“We’d describe our music as raw, eclectic and real,” the band said. “It’s rooted in blues, soul and the rock of more wistful days; we find ourselves traveling into further territories of Motown and folk.”
More than a few years ahead of their time, GVF cites inspiration from a wide assortment of artists, genres and bands. Blues music serves as one of the band’s biggest influences, stemming from artists like Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Lightnin’ Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, Albert King, Buddy Guy, R.I. Burnside, and Willie Dixon.
Bands like Cream, The Who, Crosby Stills and Nash, and The Kinks, as well as R&B/soul artists like Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin also provide major inspiration.
“We also have some folk/Celtic influences along with classical Indian music and some jazz inspiration,” the band explained.
Growing up in musical households, the four have been breathing music for the entirety of their 14 to 17 years. About a year ago, they started jamming together and in that time, the guys said the band basically formed itself.
While they’ve played plenty of gigs and have several others on the horizon, Greta Van Fleet hasn’t even released an album yet. The band’s debut is set to drop this fall, and will have a largely bluesy sound with a wide range of song variety. Greta Van Fleet’s original songs will be vastly different than what you typically hear on the radio these days: the guys promise that their approach to writing is unrestrained and far from the ordinary. The band in its entirety is quite far from typical.
“Our lead guitarist and composer Jake Kiszka defines the meaning of tone and attitude in a riff in which the rest of the song will be based on,” the band said. “From here, the configuration evolves into full form, adding the meticulous scrutiny of one Daniel Wagner and Samuel F. Kiszka of the rhythm section, and to fill from this phase to the last is the invention of lyrics and vocal inflection by lead singer Josh M. Kiszka.”
The band explained that their songs are raw and speak the truth—one of which (“Standing On”) is featured in the new 2014 Chevy Equinox ad, presented by your Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers.
Collectively, they agree that their favorite aspect of playing music is the expression it provides, as well as being able to share the love that music bears to everyone. The fans also play a big part in what’s best about the music industry.
“Without our exceptional fans there would be no Greta Van Fleet. This fan base believes in us and what we are doing, we’ve never seen such devoted people; ranging from all ages and from all genres, these people just love the music,” the band said.
In between playing in the band and studying for fifth period, the guys enjoy exploring culture and traveling to places unknown. As for Greta Van Fleet’s future?
“We could be anywhere,” the band said. “We aim for the cosmos and hope to land somewhere high.”